March 30, 2011

Birth Story

Just about 11 months ago this was me:

I believe that picture was taken on your due date (April 26, 2010 aka my 28th birthday!). It was also my first day of maternity leave. I was very proud to have worked right up to my due date...little did I know I could have worked for another full week!

Taken April 30, 2010...I realized at this point you were not going to be an April baby

Here is the story of your birth day: 

My due date came and went. I was finally on maternity leave and enjoyed a couple of days relaxing at home, but I was so anxious for your arrival. Lots of long walks and some very spicy food were not doing the trick, I had not had one contraction. My doctor informed me that she would like to induce labor Tuesday morning, May 4th, 2010. 

This was a hard decision for me as I was really really hoping not to be induced. Induction can lead to more risk of c-section if your body isn't ready for labor, contractions can be more painful because they are brought on by medication, etc. etc.  Basically I didn't like the idea of forcing my body to do something, I wanted to wait until I went into labor on my own. 

After a LOT of discussion we decided that I would go forward with the induction. I was so scared about making the right decision for us, I just wanted to make sure that you would be ok. 

The day of the induction we were suppose to arrive at the hospital at 6 am, but about a half hour before we were going to leave we got a call that the hospital was super busy and our time was being pushed back to 7. I was nervous and excited and just so very very ready to meet you. 

The induction (pitocin drip) probably started around 8 am.  I have a major phobia about needles and the idea of being hooked up to an IV throughout the labor completely freaked me out. I understand why some women choose to give birth at home or without these types of interventions, but I also felt at ease being at the hospital and knowing that if anything went wrong you would be ok. 

I guess everyone has to find the balance of what they need in order to have a comfortable birth experience. After the contractions started I didn't even notice that tiny needle.

This was the whiteboard in our room, after midnight they came in and replaced that 4 with a 5, you were determined to be a Cinco de Mayo baby.

The beginning of the day. Look at my sweet husband giving me a foot rub!

All I could eat all day was chicken broth, jello, and popsicles. This did not stop your dad from eating three full meals. If I remember correctly: an omelet, a cheeseburger & fries, and a chicken caesar salad. Yes, I remember what he ate.

The doctor broke my water around 1 pm and then I started to be able to feel my contractions. I labored for many hours and it was painful but bearable with moving around and breathing, walking etc. Your dad walked the halls with me, pausing every few feet so I could lean against the wall during a contraction. 

I was dealing with the pain really well and I felt I could make it through without pain medication. I had mixed feelings about getting an epidural. Mostly I wanted to continue to move around and I wanted to be able to feel the natural sensation to push when the time came.

Your dad and Nani stayed with me the whole time and Papa, Auntie Em and Uncle Ben were in the waiting room far into the night. Things were progressing slowly and the nurse kept turning up the pitocin level trying to get me to dilate further. 

Around 8 pm I was only about 4cm dilated and the pitocin was making such strong contractions that they were overlapping. I had been dealing well with the pain by breathing through them and trying to relax and regroup in between, but now I had no break and the pain started to become overwhelming. The nurse told me they would have to turn the pitocin up as I was not dilating. I couldn't imagine how I could breathe through the contractions if they were going to become stronger and continue to overlap. 

At this point I decided to try the epidural in the hopes that they would be able to up the pitocin medication and I would begin to dilate. I think in the end this was the best decision because after breaking my water, they wanted to get you out in a certain amount of time to avoid the possibility of infection. 

If I had not progressed any further I was headed for a c-section, which is a major surgery that I did not want.

I asked for the lightest epidural so I could hopefully still move around a bit and feel when it came time to push. It took the anesthesiologist 7(!) attempts at different points in my back for him to place the epidural (this was probably the worst part of the whole experience, especially trying to stay still and not shake through the contractions). I thought your dad was going to punch the guy if he stuck me one more time, and your dad is not a violent or angry person by any means. 

The anesthesiologist finally got the epidural in around 9:30 pm and I was able to get a bit of rest. I could still feel a lot of pressure, but the pain was no longer constant and once again I could breathe through each contraction.

At this point the room was quiet. I was laying in the bed on my side and suddenly with each contraction I could feel you moving lower. It was an amazing moment for me because only you and I knew what was happening. No doctors were around, everyone else was asleep, but you and I knew it was time.

Everything progressed pretty quickly after that, by 12:30 I was 10 cm and started pushing. We had a really awesome nurse during the last part of delivery. Her name was Angie and she was a no-nonsense woman. She made me feel like I was amazing and I had absolutely no fear. I was so happy because I could move positions and feel the sensation to push, but the pain was dulled, which is exactly what I had hoped for. 

Pushing was actually my favorite part of the labor process, pushing helped with the pain.  Trying not to push (to rest through a contraction) was basically impossible. I had enough energy and I was so ready to meet you that I pushed with every contraction for 2 hours straight. 
At 2:30 the doctor came in and at 2:44 am on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 I delivered a 9lb 6oz baby girl. The doctor literally had me reach under your arms and pull you out (which I thought would be weird, but instead was amazing). You were finally here.  

I have to admit after I saw your beautiful little face, the first thing I did was look to make sure you really were a girl. I still thought it was too good to be true that I got my girl on the first try. 

They put you on my chest and the same thing just kept running through my head: "so it was you who was in there all along!" Even after they took you to check you out and weight you I just kept looking at your face, I couldn't believe I could finally see you. My Lily.

Everyone else was focused on two things: "9lbs 6 oz!?" and "Look at that hair!"

No one expected that you were such a big baby! he doctor said later that I must have had very strong ab muscles.

First family pic. Exhausted and ecstatic.

Daddy and his girl.

Already wrapped around your tiny finger.

Is she proud? I can't tell! :)

My love.
Still my favorite place to kiss.

We did it Lily! At least YOU got some sleep after all that.

"I'm an Auntie"

Hello world! Your very first facebook picture. Everyone was so excited to see you.

Look at that beautiful face. This is still the background on my cell phone. I love it.

All tuckered out.

Nothing compares to this sweet little face and the fact that you stop crying when I hold you.

Just the beginning

We were at the hospital until Thursday afternoon and then they sent us on our way. No more nurses to help us or tell us what to do, we were on our own. I have never felt more scared and excited and nervous yet calm in my life. We were responsible for this little being and now it was our job to help her grow and flourish.

I couldn't get over the fact that you were seeing everything for the first time. Even if most of it looked liked colored blobs to you. You had never seen a tree or the sky. Seeing the world through your eyes has been one of the best things about being your mom.

So that's our story, the beginning of everything.

March 24, 2011

Houston, we have a crawler

I am putting together pictures and videos (very) belatedly for your 10 month post,  in fact I may just have to combine it with your 11 month post!  However, I had to make a quick note to record the fact that Sunday crawled! Like legitimately crawled at least two feet. 

You have been gearing up for this the past week and I could tell you were so close. I was worried that you would crawl on a day when I was at work and I would miss it. Just the day before we were over at Nani and Papa's and I kept taking video trying to get you to crawl, but you mostly just ended up on your tummy making cute faces and my favorite new noise ("Oooh" which sounds like it has three syllables)

Sunday was The Big Climb where Auntie Em and I, along with some friends, climbed 69 flights of stairs to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma society. I got home in the afternoon and we invited Nani and Papa over for dinner. Papa and I were playing with you on the floor when you started eying my laptop power cord. I went to move it and then decided to see if you would go for it. We had tried all of your favorite things to swipe already: my iPhone, glasses of water, the remote control, but nothing had worked. This time you were determined. You got this look on your face, you zoned in on the cord and you were going for it. Up on your knees you made four slow thought out crawled! Suddenly the room burst with applause and I quickly snatched the cord away, much to your chagrin.

When I texted Auntie Em to let her know she cheered and asked if I got a video. Not yet, I said. I hadn't even thought of it. Sometimes I find myself so eager to record and document every moment that I end up missing things, viewing life through a camera lens. I didn't miss this.

I'm so proud of you my little bean. Luckily Nani and I had just returned from Babies r Us where we purchased many outlet covers and cabinet latches. I think YOU were waiting for US.

Monday night when we picked you up from Nani & Papa's we made sure to get tons of video. We set up block towers to entice you. You just cannot resist the urge to topple. This video shows the up on all fours crawl, but you now mostly favor the one arm, one leg, pull and drag crawl. It is freaking adorable.

You are on the move and into everything! Life is changing more leaving you in the middle of the floor so I can run to the bathroom, that is for sure! Yesterday I left you in your nursery for one minute to rinse a diaper and you managed to get all the way across the room and pull five containers of wipes off the shelf! You were so proud.

Ok, just one more video

For real, how cute is that?

March 3, 2011

Remembering a wonderful woman

After this post I promise that I will return to detailing all of the happy times in our lives since you have arrived, but first I need to tell you one more difficult story.

I need to tell you about the beautiful, amazing woman that was your Grandma Donita.

Donita with her baby boy (your daddy!) at our wedding. June 14, 2008

I cannot do her justice here on this page, but it is my hope that you will know her through our memories and through the kind and wonderful hearts of her children and grandchildren who knew her and learned from her.

On December 1st, 2009 Donita lost her battle with thyroid cancer. She had been sick for about a year, but she always kept such a positive attitude and outlook on life that her passing still came as a bit of a shock to us all.

The last day that we all spent together was Thanksgiving day, which we hosted at our new house. The day was spent lounging and eating and catching up with family. Donita was not able to eat much, but she staked herself out on one of our big comfy couches and throughout the day it seemed she made sure each of us had a chance to sit and chat with her. I don't know if she had any idea of the future, but I am glad she took those moments to touch each of us another time.

At the time I was 19 weeks pregnant with you and December 1st had been a day I was longing for. It was the day of our big ultrasound, the day we would know if you were a Lily or a Jack. Many people like the idea of being surprised and waiting until the baby is born to find out the gender. I am not one of those people. I couldn't wait to start anticipating, planning and dreaming about exactly what our future would hold.

That morning Ryan(your dad :)) and I were driving into work when Grandpa Roy called and told us that Donita was not doing well. Ryan dropped me off and went straight to the hospital. Just hours later he called me to let me know they were discussing hospice care. I immediately called Papa who came and brought me to the hospital.

I am grateful that we had enough notice that all of her kids were able to fly in and we were all with her when she passed. I have never experienced a room filled with so much love and sorrow and grief. I am so thankful for this beautiful family and how they have supported each other through everything. It is truly Donita's legacy that her children and grandchildren are the warm, kind, intelligent, love-until-it-hurts kind of people that they are.

An hour later I left that room for another doctors office just down the street. In an emotional daze I waited for my own appointment. Some crazy scheduling errors at the office gave us enough time that Ryan was actually able to make it.  I am forever grateful to whatever powers of the universe allowed that to happen as he so needed to see his little baby. I can't tell you what it did for us to see that healthy little life on such an otherwise dark day. Donita had been joking that we should have a boy so she could buy us those pee-pee tee-pees, but she knew how badly I wanted a girl and she just loved the name we had chosen.  There we were just hours after her passing seeing our little baby, seeing you. Our Lillian.

It saddens me to my core that she is not here to hold you and kiss you and laugh at your crazy hair or the funny faces that you make. Even though she isn't physically here now, I know she loves you. I cannot wait to see what personality traits you may have inherited from her. I see the stubborn and mischievous gleam in your eye already.

March 2, 2011


Monday we finally used a gift given to us by one of my coworkers. We got some great pictures taken by Debora Spencer Photography. Here are a few of my favorites (ok, here are A LOT of my favorites, but she gave us over a hundred photos and every one was beautiful):

Who me?

I love this face.

Baby getting bored? Rice cracker!

Daddy is making faces at you so we start to get some smiles...

Fighting the urge to giggle.

There they are! Teeth!

One of your many scrunchy faces. My favorite is "snooty face", which includes pursed lips.

We had so much fun. The photographer kept asking if you were always this good... of course she is! ;)

On a different note, I am approaching another big first in mommyhood.

This weekend will be my first night away from you... ever.

Every year some of my college girlfriends get together for a girls trip. You even went with us to Leavenworth last year (I was 6 months pregnant and all the girls got to feel your crazy gymnastic moves in my belly!)

This weekend we are going to Portland, OR.

I know it is only one night and you will be so very fine with your daddy, but for some reason it is still a little sad for me. I am excited to see my friends and I know it is good to be Chelsea too sometimes and not always just Mama, but I feel like you are growing up so fast and I don't like to miss a second! See a theme here?

I will do my best to have 90% fun and only feel 10% sadness for not being with you.

Maybe 75/25... deal?
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