Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our First Christmas as a family

Well to say the least it was not like any other year. Usually we spend Christmas eve with my Nonna (until she passed away) and Christmas Day at my MIL in the morning and FIL in the afternoon and maybe dessert with my sisters and the day after have Christmas with my mom and sisters and grandparents here.

With divorced parents its alot to juggle every year. Its a challenge to get to everyone and manage to get home in time for the dogs who can't be left for more than 9 hours. What I feel ends up happening is we run around to see everyone, which makes everyone else happy but us torn and frazzled.

I am definetly big into family and so is J, and although we have learned to accept the differences in our family and their dynamics. So, Christmas is generally a fun time shared with family minus all the travel for us.

This year we decided to stay home for Christmas with a 'come to us' attitude. Well no one came. Which we kind of expected. Part of me was dissapointed that all the traditions I got used to, despite the frantic pace of Christmas' past was changing.

Instead Christmas Eve we saw my mother in law and that side of the family. Enjoyed Sebatians' pizza (the best and something we used to eat with my Nonna on Christmas eve so it was kind of the same). Isabel got spoiled :) but in a good way, lots of sweet gifts including a rocking horse that makes troting and neighing noises, which by the way was hilarious once we got it home and introduced it to Ladybug and Liam! We got to spend hours with that side rather than a rushed Christmas morning so that was a plus. Isabel did well with all the family except for the fact it was evening, a tough time for her. I also overcame my breastfeeding in public/family issue.

No, I didn't whip out my boob for all to see. I used my 'udder cover' which covers Isabel's head and torso and my chest. I brought my boppy to keep her propped up and it was great. No having to sit in another room and miss all the fun. Honestly, I am not embarrassed at all, its a natural part of life and I am not shy but I respect that its still not socially acceptable to breastfeed openly so I don't mind covering up.

That night when I was putting Isabel to bed I had a terrible stomach ache which I chaulked up to a busy day and poor eating choices..... a few hours later it became apparent it was a stomach bug. So I lost half a night's precious sleep to the bathroom and all I could think about was how I was going to cook a ham for me and J the next day!

Fortunately by mid morning on Christmas I was feeling better. Isabel was unaffected and enjoyed the Christmas lights. I became more greatful that we had decided to stay home especially as I had this bug. We talked to all our family and J and I enjoyed a restful day.

Isabel played with some of her new presents and endured a photo shoot of her in her new outfits. But otherwise it felt like a normal day.

Granted, this year was low key but next year she will be bigger and playing with toys and I think it will be nice to be at home for that. My hope is we can find a way to get together with all of our family around the holidays in a way that isn't so crazed but everyone gets to see us.

Another thing that was different this year was missing the Christmas eve service. Our local church had one and so did Lanesville where I grew up. I love this service, it reminds me of the reason for this joyous season. I knew it would feel extra meaningful now that I have a child. I knew deep down we would miss it because it is just too late for Isabel but it was another changed tradition.

Though it was so different this year I can't help but reflect on the best change of all and that was our beautiful Isabel.

She really is changing so much, she is delightful. She is energetic, expressive, inquisitive and strong. She can stand up with her feet firmly planted on my legs, her head up straight and arms out. She squawks.... loudly at times and smiles so wide I think my heart just might melt one of these times. Even when I change her diaper or nurse her for the millionth time it all feels special. Our bond is deepening and its the most fulfilling feeling in the world.

So Christmas is over but our best gift didn't come in a gift wrapped package under the tree, she is however our most precious gift and I will never take that for granted.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Looking back and looking ahead

Today was a great day, Isabel and I trekked to Auntie Jess's house for a day of cookie baking (more like cookie eating for me ;)

The plan was for Jolene to come over and help and mom to stop by. Also, my dear friend Jackie was visiting family in town so she was going to stop over and meet Isabel(I hadn't seen her in years!)

In the end my dad stopped over too so really, my sister's house became a revolving door for visitors there to see us. Kind of weird when I think about it but awesome too! Would we have had a gathering like this a year ago?

Nope, for several reasons.
1. My dad and I were not getting along last Christmas
2. I usually am crazed with grading up till the last minute so driving an hour to my sisters to bake would probably lose out to the zillion of Christmas stuff I had put off until grades were done
3. I didn't see Jackie last year because of weather last year but did the year before but for dinner, so that might have happened.

So what changed?

Isabel, she is changing it all. She has brought family together and the love is multiplying. I am humbled everyday by the generosity and obvious love for her. She got adorable outfits from my sisters, a sweet towel set and mary jane socks from Jackie (she didn't know that I had been on the hunt for them for weeks!!) and an outfit from my dad. Wow!

One of my biggest aspirations in life is to enjoy my family. I feel I am like my Nonna in that way, often the peacemaker and the one that orchestrates gatherings. Sometimes its a thankless job, sometimes its aggrivating and time consuming but it really is amazing how this little girl is bringing us all much closer. I am greatful and it fills my heart with joy.

Really a year ago I was in a totally different place, wishing for a baby and praying for one and not knowing that in a few short weeks after Christmas we would know our little Isabel was on her way.

I was feeling discouraged, maybe a bit jealous of others that concieved easily and wistful thinking about what the holidays would be like with a baby.

Now, my dream is a reality and it is way better than I imagined. Of course, I am still healing physically and emotionally from the events around Isabel's birth but slowly the bad parts are fading and I am learning to cope, which is something I will talk more about in the future I am sure. For now, I am choosing a positive outlook and focusing on the positive. Its not hard when I have sweet little Isabel's face and her little cooey noises to get me through the day.

This Christmas is extra special because we have Isabel. I am thankful for answered prayer and how she is changing our family every day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting out and about....lots of firsts this week

So this week Isabel and I have gotten out and about more often and had a few firsts! Here are some of the high lights:

Monday: Poor Liam was under the weather and needed to be seen so Isabel and I took Liam to the vet....I won't lie I was nervous but she was a champ and Liam was very cooperative because he wasn't feeling good. He's much better now but it could have been a disaster!

Tuesday: Isabel and I went to J's Christmas Party for kids at his work. It was at 5pm which is actually terrible for a baby, she cried most of the way there (my nerves were shot when I got there). Thankfully she livened up and was the life of the party. She saw Santa but didn't sit on his lap...surefire waterworks if you ask me! We both sighed a sigh of relief because she was sweet at the party....unfortunately the ride home was rough. Partly because I was running low on gas and gave J my wallet...he was ahead of me on the way home and had to come back to fill my car up for me Phew!

Wednesday: We went and visited our friend's Jenny and Stella. Stella is several months older than Isabel but she played nice together and it was a sweet afternoon! Usually they come to visit so it was a nice change of pace! She likes getting out and about, except during nap time (oops my bad, didn't time that well!)

Thursday: Not a new place to visit (Exeter Hospital) but it was kind of new experience for me. I had to have my follow up Diabetes bloodwork to make sure I didn't have Type II. First, I was fasting for 12h (ugh) second, I had to be there by 8:30 and third it was a chilly morning. All stressful factors. However, Isabel went with the flow and Gram and Gramp met us to help me wait out the time. What was different? Gram and Gramp took care of her while I went up to get the bloodwork. Its not that I don't trust my grandparents...I just hate leaving her! She did great though and they just love her! It was a relief not to have to manuever the small lab area with her stroller so I was so greatful and they enjoy her.

Later that day I was feeling bold and went to shop for myself for the first time. We went to Reds' Shoe Barn because none of my shoes fit my widening feet so I needed to get a couple of new pairs. Good timing huh?! I was afraid she would start fussing mid-shop but she did great. I had an awesome shoe saleswoman and she even let me leave her carrier in a corner so I could walk around and shop. I got two pairs of shoes...go me! She only fussed at the end and off we went!

Friday: Instead of going to breastfeeding support, a few of my girlfriends/momfriends met up at the mall. That was a new place we've not been to since I was pregnant and was there trying to walk her out. I of course was nervous she'd be fussy but she was a champ. We looped the mall a few times, the other babies were boys and all sleeping but she was awake and alert. It was fine, I was prepared with pumped milk and we all had a nice lunch together and the kiddos were all so laid back. I didn't buy a thing except for lunch and it was such a fun day!

Saturday: Isabel and I went shopping in Kittery. I actually got to buy Isabel clothes! I had so much fun, it was a blast. For the most part she was a good sport, it was a long day though.

It was a terrific week with lots of new adventures and I just love getting out with Isabel and showing her the world!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


For the last few years J and I have been bouncing around churches trying to find the right fit for our family. We settled into one for just over a year and it was a good fit for a few reasons.

First, there were a lot of opportunities for us to plug in and get involved. I joined the women's group and choir and J joined the tech team. The church was a large one which reminded me much of my Gordon days.

For many I am sure a big church (we are talking each service can seat +800 with 2 services) might feel overwhelmed and it may feel impersonal. For me it was a nice change from the small and aging churches (though very important and full of the Holy Spirit for sure) just didn't suit our needs as we were seeking to grow our family.

We embraced the activities, outreach and weekly responsibilities of attending the church. I made good friends right away and we were blessed with a fabulous opportunity to join a small group of couples like us. J worked hard (almost a full work day) on Sundays getting to church at 6am each week.

We enjoyed the preaching and the music. I found that the preaching was contemporary, had a good message and application. Some weeks I felt challenged but other weeks not. Overtime I felt that if I weren't involved in the church so heavily in other ways the preaching may not keep me there.

It raised a tough question for me and J. What are the reasons to attend a church? Do we only attend/join a church if we like a particular preacher's sermons? If we like the activities? The music? The Sunday School? The location? The time? Friends that attend there too?

Obviously at least for us attending a church just for one of these listed reasons isn't good. But what about the challenge I recieved in college to attend church as way to show God that I am giving of my time outwardly to worship. Wasn't our mighty God worth 2-3h of our time in a week? When I look at it that way I feel sheepish because in reality I should be devoting at least 2-3h a day. Its definetly something I struggle with and work on daily.

J and I ended up leaving that church last spring, it was a tough departure because we enjoyed many parts of the church and dear friends but we just didn't align with the direction the church as a whole was heading.

We are now attending a church we tried out when we were first married. Its a smaller church but still has many opportunities to be involved. We are still working on fitting ourselves into the church but have started the process of membership.

Now that we have Isabel just getting to church is a challenge. Thats tough for me because I especially love the season of advent. I miss singing in choir and adopting a child to buy gifts for during the holidays. We are missing most of it.

But do I miss the sermons? The act of going to church? Right now, honestly its a relief not to have to bundle our little one up to get to a service on time.

Yet, I am struggling with worshiping on my own. Its not the way I want it to be, watching a service online feels distant and yet church isn't about just the sermon, or the music or anyone thing its all of it. Its also finding a community of beleivers to support and be supported by in spiritual and tangible ways.

I am not saying we aren't going to church while Isabel is little because we will probably be going next week but its been since September since we have been able to go since I was sick and Isabel is so little.

God has blessed us so much this year inspite of some really tough experiences that challenged everything I thought I knew. He is a steadfast God. I know He doesn't need me to go to church to prove I am devoted to Him but its my sacrifice of time that honors Him.

More than ever I want both J and I to be a good role model to Isabel and to teach her to know our Almighty God.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


This week both of my sisters were offered excellent job offers at two great companies that will really utilize their experience, skills and talent. I couldn't be more happy for them. They are both tenacious, dedicated, hard working and have excellent work ethics.

They are the 'twins' out of us triplets, they are identical and in the past have had a hard to defining themselves as indivuals as they have so many of the same interests, passions and taste (especially in fashion).

They both majored in the same field and worked for the same companies, sometimes at the same time.

Currently, they work together and this change in jobs for both of them will take them in different direction (literally) on a daily basis. My sisters a very close and I cherish that bond that they have though at times I felt jealous of it. I can admit it now because as we have all grown into adults we have re-defined our relationships.

I can go to my sisters with anything, my worries, concerns and my joys! It has never been more clear as it is right now as they really stepped up when I needed them most during my recovery. They adore Isabel and though a newborn is challenging for me with baby experience, I admire that they got in there and learned to hold her, feed her, change her and soothe her like pros. I feel I must add that my brother in law was excellent at this too and was super confident which I think helped both of them feel they could do it too!

In some ways their job changes may bring us closer together, especially if they can work from home, they could come to my house and work occasionally (fingers crossed).

I am so proud of both of them, they are go-getters. They have really evolved into globe trotting, outgoing, wine-tasting, kickboxing, 1/2 marathon running women! I am so glad my daughter will have great role models in her aunts.

During my college days, I was the one who ran around, travelled, moved to FL for grad school, tried lots of new things and dated around. My sisters, at the time were very focused on school and then careers and had several long term relationships.

Now, it feels like the tables have turned, in a completely good way of course but really I am the one that is not going to travel for a while or have their adventures. I am not complaining at all because I would not trade my life for anything.

Its just that this week its hit me just how much my life has changed. How much my focus has changed.

When I think about work, I enjoy my field and enjoyed my career path but now it feels like none of it matters because I have Isabel. However, one of the areas I have been struggling in is the feeling I am not contributing financially anymore.

Does it matter to J? Nope. Does it matter to anyone else? Nope.

So why does it bother me?

I guess its because inherently we all feel our self worth is tied to our salary. For me, I have spent the better part of a decade in academia where I don't make a huge income but its something.

Now, my world is Miss Isabel. Its a 24h a day/7 days a week job. If I could write a job description it might look something like this:
Full time job opportunity, will require night and weekend work. The right applicant will be loving, energetic, playful, dedicated, patient, hardworking and creative. Must be a good decision maker and at times rely on intuition. Must be able to repetitive tasks including nursing, diaper changes and lots of laundry. Applicant should be able to juggle multiple tasks at once and respond quickly as needed. She should be able to fix booboos, mediate disagreements and teach right from wrong. Knowledge of nursery rhymes, songs and Bible verses a plus but on the job training will be available. Sick days and vacation time will not be included. The compensation will be the joy of raising a child, the impact on their life, the nuturing love and time to watch this baby grow. In other words, the salary is priceless.

I admire my sisters for their success in their careers and in no way am saying my job or theirs are more valuable but right now its an interesting transition for all of us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To my Isabel

For weeks I have been composing a letter (first of many I am sure) about things I want her to know about how I feel now so she can reflect on them when she is older.

To my darling Isabel Ann,
First, you should know just how much I love you. I have been praying for you for half of a life time. You were a miracle from the very beginning when we found out you were going to arrive. I will never forget when I saw your heartbeating on the monitor, you were just alittle jelly bean and I could just see the flicker of your tiny little heart beating away. It was amazing and just awesome. When I felt you kick for the first time little flutters and then kicks like you meant it, it was just a comforting and amazing feeling. I relished taking you everywhere with me, everyday was take your daughter to work day. I talked to you on the way to and from work, sometimes I would even tear up thinking about your arrival. I told you that silly mommy was crying because she was so happy she was going to meet you, but looking back on those moments I didn't even know how much love and joy I was going to feel when I actually met you.
When you entered the world, it wasn't how any of us planned, but its how it was meant to be. There were lots of people in your family that were praying for you to arrive safely and for mommy too. Even your Nonna-Nonna Isabella was looking down on you, I know it. She would have been so proud to have held you but I know she was watching over us then and now. Whenever I say your name I think of her. She inspired me in so many ways and she was a great role model in my life. I miss her always and yet I know she would want me to remember the best parts of our relationship, the cooking, the eating, the playing at her house we did as kids. So, I will teach you all about her, we will cook together and I will even teach you Italian if you want!
As the days go by, (too fast ya know) you are changing. You are getting bigger, your voice is stronger, your cries louder and your smiles wider. As you develop and grow I will always be there for you. I will be your biggest champion, supporter and confidant.
I will teach you, nuture you, play made up games with you and let you explore your world. You can be anything you want to be.
I will teach you about God, your heavenly father. I will teach you to love others and to pray. Because Jesus loves all His children, especially you!
We will do fun things like plant seeds in the spring and watch them sprout in the summer, how to carve a pumpkin, pick apples and identify plants with your great grammy.
We will read books, make up stories with your great-grampy. Maybe he will even teach you some math or how to hammer a nail.

We will visit your aunties who will take you shopping, make you feel special and maybe even play Chutes and Ladders like we did with your great-auntie Ginny. Jolene will teach you about kitties (so will Jess). Scott and Jess will teach you how to make pizza for sure.

We will do little photo shoots with your grammy so we can remember all your little moments from tubby time to trying your first vegetables! She will teach you many things and read you lots of stories I am sure. She loves you so much you know.
Your grampy (Nonno) will teach you how to make sauce like Nonna Isabella. He will swing you up in the air because he is big and strong. He will make you laugh and always be happy to take you to the beach.

You will learn just how much your whole family loves you, because they already really do!

Your daddy and I will love you always forever and ever. We will always take care of you, provide for you and be good role models. We will give you the freedom to try new things and be there for you when you need us. We will take you on vacations and little weekend adventures. We will help you with your homework, go to your school plays and tuck you in at night. We will sing to you, cook for you, and take you for walks.
I am sure daddy has lots of plans to teach you how to drive a boat, rake leaves, do arithmetic, tie your shoes, throw the ball to the dogs and make even take you fishing!

In the end I want you to know you are loved. From the moment I first saw you bundled in your blanket, I knew you were mine and you started our little family. You inspired in me a fierce sense of mama bear, I just wanted to protect you, and I always will to the very end no matter what. Even though I was very sick in the beginning when you were so little, I would have and did anything I could for you. You inspire the best in me.
We are going to make a lot of new memories together, you are the reason I am here on this earth and I cherish the responsibility to be your mother. How awesome a resposiblity it is to be a mother. You trust me and depend on me for everything. I am thankful to our God for your life. That you are healthy, growing and that you are ours. He saved my life twice so I could be your mother today. We serve an awesome God and He loves you so much too.
You are my beautiful, special and sweet little girl, my little peanut, pumpkin pie and munchkin. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I will do everything I can to be the mother you need me to be.

Love you always,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tubby Time

A couple of weeks ago I started a new night time routine with Isabel. Yea, I know 2.5 month old babies are tough to 'schedule' but I am trying to give her some continuity after all the bouncing around she and I have done for most of her life so far.

One way that I have encouraged that is with bath time. I started out doing it in the morning and in a word she HATED it! So, after doing some reading I decided to try bathing her in the evening. That actually works well because I can change her into her PJs and clean her up if she's been out all day.

The first couple of bath times she didn't love in the evening either. But I kept up with it. We usually start around 4:30 or 5pm. I put her whale tub in our bathtub fill it up and while its filling we pick out her PJs and I get her undressed. I put her temperature rubber duckie in the tub to make sure its not too warm and we are ready to go!

Tonight was special, I plopped her into the tub and she made coo-ey noises and she gets to excited. She makes an O noise and her arms and legs were all kicking and flailing about. She just came alive. It was adorable, sweet and it was our moment. She looked right into my eyes and just cooed. It melted my heart and I just fell in love alittle deeper tonight. She is the sweetest baby and I cherish even the smallest moments!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sometimes you just need your Grandma and Grampy

Today, my grandparents came over. We sort of started a new routine where Gram comes over on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to play and watch Isabel while I do 'work'. I am working on my dissertation...easing back in. I feel my brain re-congeling after nearly losing it through all this!

Gramp came along today because he wanted to go shopping in the area so he dropped off gram and off he went.

Gram played with Isabel while I got to drink a cup of coffee I desperately needed, we had napped a bit before they came but I was still tired. Actually, Isabel had a great day of napping starting with a nap at 7am to 10am! She was in a delightful mood.

We took Gram to see Isabel's room because it had dawned on me she hadn't seen it yet! She approved and rocked in the rocker while I put laundry away. It was just so nice to have an extra set of hands so I can get some stuff done.

We took Isabel for a walk with the puppies around the neighborhood. Gram proudly pushed her in her stroller and I walked the dogs. Soon after we got back Isabel fell asleep in Gram's arms. Such a precious moment. I sat in another chair attempting to work but I kept looking over at the two of them and relishing the moment. Its not often that great grandparents get to have so much time with their great grandchildren. I am so fortunate that they are both in such good health and sound mind. They just love Isabel and would do anything for her. It is such a special bond that has formed. Gram and I also get to talk, she has told me things I never knew about how it was for her to be a parent and we talked more about my health and what happened to me. We are relating to each other on a new level and I really cherish that.

After Isabel woke up Gram got to feed her and just talked to her about all kinds of things, told her little stories about me as a girl, and it just reminded me of being a kid when she would tell me stories when she babysat us.

Grandpa came back and Isabel was all smiles for him. He held her and it was just so sweet. He kissed her head and gave her a little wink. He is a proud Great Grandpa, of course. He even loves our pups, he always greets them and pats them too.

I feel fortunate to have my grandparents in my life and that they are so involved in Isabel's life. Its a special bond and it makes me feel so greatful for family.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I am thankful

Its not that I don't take time every year to reflect during Thanksgiving, but this year is alittle different.

Right now I am sitting her watching my daughter sleep in J's arms. Her little hand crossed over her chest and she is snoring away. Its a sight that I have been waiting for my whole life. This time last Thanksgiving, I was hoping that we would be able to have a baby, but it wasn't happening. To be honest, I wasn't sure it would. Little did I know that the next month we'd be expecting. God really works in wonderous ways.

Of course, my pregnancy wasn't the easiest with spotting in the beginning, lots of swelling and gestational diabetes but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Her arrival was definetly eventful and pretty much the hardest time of my life. Having her was the best thing that has happened in my life so far.

Every day I look at her and I fall more in love. They say that having a baby changes your perspective and it does. I look at life so differently now. Its not about me, its really about her. I am so thankful that I have the chance to be Isabel's mom. Since her birth, I have been just so thankful I made it through all the stuff that happened to me, I feel like I was meant to be a mom. Her mom. Its the best job in the world.

I am so thankful for my family that rallied around me and took good care of me.

I am thankful for the medical staff that cared for me including all the nurses.

I am thankful for J, we have been through so much and it really feels like we are just starting this journey into parenthood together now.

I am thankful that my body is healing and I feel stronger all the time.

I am thankful most of all for new beginnings, the journey into parenthood and watching how having a child can bring family together.

This year we had a quiet Thanksgiving together, just me J and Isabel. It was really sweet. J cooked and I cared for the baby and managed to make an apple pie :) Lots of family visited us before and after Thanksgiving and I think it was a much better way to celebrate with little smaller get togethers.

I definetly missed spending time with the whole family this year but it was a sweet first holiday for our new little family and I am thankful.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The support of family

In the weeks following the first one at home, I experienced unconditional love and support from my family. I could write a book enumerating all the wonderful things family did for me but I will high light a few.

Gram and Gramp have two homes, one summer and one winter. I went to stay with my mom and then aunt (who flew in from MN for the week) while gram and gramp stayed at their summer place and came to visit.

The plan was for me to rest for a week, have my aunt and family take care of me and Isabel.

While that happened, none of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into. During that week, we trekked to and from Exeter hospital for appointments 3 times that week and each day I had at least 3 appointments in different places. It was logistically tough and Isabel had no schedule and feeding her was tough when I was laying on the table having a wound vac change. She ended up getting more formula that I wanted. But what could I do? In the scheme of things she didn't get more than one feeding of all formula a day. So really it was me more worrying about my milk.

I was so thankful to my grandparents, mom and aunt for taking care of all my needs. Helping get Isabel, dressed, changed, fed sometimes and soothed whenever possible. They all carted me to Dr. appointments, helped with my VNA visits and meals. They all provided a sense of normalcy in a very abnormal situation. They all loved little Isabel so much. My sisters even came up from MA to Maine just to stay over night and help me get rest. They brought Isabel adorable little outfits and cupcakes for me :)

By the end of alittle over a week, I still needed alot of help and J was back to work so I went to stay with my sister and brother in law. At first I was nervous because I am not the neatest person in the world (thats no secret) and now I am going to stay with my very tidy sister and bringing a baby!

Jess and Scott were amazing! They just welcomed me in with open arms. They unpacked all my stuff, set me up in their spare room and took care of me and Isabel. They took over my care too and carted me to my appointments in NH. They are a good team thats for sure! I cherish the time I got to spend with them and having a chance to get to know Scott alot better. It helped that Scott was around alot and able to help so much with Isabel. He could soothe her, change her diaper and feed her in the middle of the night. Good training for the least I think! Jess and Scott if they ever have kids will be trained and amazing parents!!

Jolene, like Jess also took off a day a week to help me get to my appoitments. I really loved the time we got to spend together, just us sisters. She is calm and very good with Isabel. We had little adventures just the two of us. We had lunch in the cafeteria and it seemed that it was she that was there for big milestones like when my wound vac was taken off and my pic line removed :)

Coming home was such a bittersweet time because on one hand I was so ready to come home and be with J and our little family. In so many ways our little family didn't even get a chance to just be. We had so many complicating circumstances that we barely even got to talk on a regular basis so much was going on.

On the other hand, I was physically alot closer to most of my family by living at my sisters. Even some of my friends came to visit while I was there. I enjoyed the emotional support I got from my sisters. They were really there for me to listen to my worries, hold my hand through my own pain and calmed Isabel when she was crying. This experience though it was unexpected, difficult, challenging, painful for me and emotionally draining, there were bright spots:
  • I got to spend valuable time with my grandparents, time that though it was tough for me, was terrific for them to get to bond with Isabel in a special way
  • My relationships with my sisters grew even stronger
  • My sisters are now experts at infant baby care, even if there were a few brown legs along the way :)
  • My aunt was so loving and kind with her time and support, it was such a bonding time for us
  • I got to spend more time with fabulous cousin MaryAnn who provided such love and support in so many tangible ways
  • My mom was there from the beginning and helped carry me through the hardest time of my life

Being bounced around for the first 7 weeks of being a new mom was challenging, add a c-section infection and not being able to take care of myself and you have a difficult situation. I am just so thankful for my family. They stepped up for me in every way possible.

How can I ever thank them enough? I am not sure I ever will be able to show my gratitude to the depth I feel it. I am thankful that despite what happened, our daughter is bringing family together. I can see how each person has so much love her, it makes my heart swell with joy. She is a special little miracle.

I will never know why I had to have a c-section, why it got infected and all the rest but it doesn't help to look back and ask why. I believe God allows things like this to happen for a reason. Not because He wants to see his followers suffer but these situations draw us nearer to Him. I have learned humbleness, to trust in God for everything each day and to accept the help of others. Having to be totally dependent on others was so hard for me. I am a doer and like to do for others. Having everyone do for me was new.

As the weeks go by and the events start to fade my emotions dull surrounding the events and I can focus on my little sweet baby girl. She is the reason I live, its all for her. She has changed my life and only in good ways.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You just can't make this up

Tuesday... the start to a very long long long week:
As you can imagine coming home a second time was more challenging. I had the wound vac, the pik line and a newborn. There was baby stuff, pack and play and a hospital bed to navigate in the living room alone.

Mom and Josh quickly got us set up pretty quickly while I fed Isabel and plugged my wound vac in the wall. I was tired from the pain meds and just wanted to rest. My mom's cousin MaryAnn arrived just about the time we got home and brought food, amazing, delicious and healthy food! I so loved her visit. We even got to show Isabel her room for the very first time! That was special.

Wednesday: Happy Birthday to me, lets celebrate in the ER!
The next day was a push (and it was my birthday by the way), we took Isabel for her 2 week check up. We started getting ready at 7am for 10am appointment, I was totally exhausted before we got there! Her appointment was terrific, her pediatrician is wonderful and bright and LOVES her :)

Unfortunately, five minutes after we got home we lost power. J and my mom had already prepped my wound vac for a change and the VNA said she'd come but was running late. I started to panic because the wound vac must be changed with in 2 hrs. What would happen if it wasn't changed in the bacteria could grow. I was nervous so we went to the ER to have the dressing changed and my pik line infused. Of course it may have seemed like an over reaction and I could have waited for the power to return and the VNA. But I wasn't going to take chances at that point ya know? So we spent from 5-9pm in the ER. Mom and I celebrated with a birthday brownie. Hahahaha. My pik line was clogged so it was a good thing we didn't try to infuse it ourselves. Ugh, this pik line was harder than I thought. That was another LONG day and we were all tired. Isabel was a champ though, she slept great in the hospital. Figures

Thursday: Visits galore
Of course by this point everyone knows we are home and wants to start visiting us. Jessie and Erich came and Josh's sister came and celebrated my birthday with pizza. We got to take our first walk around the neighborhood with Isabel and I wore real clothes... granted they were maternity but still!

You may be wondering how I managed to get up and go through all this. I guess it was shear will power, family to help me, the determination to have a normal life with our family and pain medication! Plus I needed to keep moving because I didn't want to get sicker and develop pneumonia.

Friday: A Day to Rival all worse Days thus far....
J, Mom and I had a marathon day of Dr.'s visits for me including wound care, OB, and lactation. By the time we got home I was falling asleep in the car. We had dropped J off at the dealership to pick up the Prius and mom went in to open the door for the dogs. She came out to tell me there was a problem.

A big one. Poor Liam had soiled his crate, the walls and floor with poop. In a panic I let him out into the yard and started hose him off while mom watched the baby. Poor Liam!! I was shocked at the scene. I thought he'd had a seizure. We called the vet and they said it could be an intestinal parasite. So Ladybug (who seemed fine) and Liam were outside and I stayed upstairs with Isabel while we tried to figure out what to do next. J brought Liam to the vet and mom got the house cleaned. Meanwhile VNA came for the infusion and I was nursing Isabel. In a word it was a scene.

Liam stayed over night at the vet hospital to be monitored and it was sad not having him home with just Ladybug. My mother in law came up to help out the next day and mom went home. We found out that the dog's parasite could be passed along so I ended up deciding to stay with my grandparents while J stayed at the house to take care of the dogs.

I am sure as you are reading this you might think, when is the next shoe going to drop? Each day felt like a struggle, to function, to heal, to care for Isabel to just get through it.

How did I do it? God, lots of prayer for strength, the love and support of my family and determination to raise this baby!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coming home: Take II

Four days after the wound vac came on (two changes later) my nurse was pep talking me about leaving and coming home.

I am not going to say I was jumping for joy at the thought. Sure, it had been a long haul, Mom, J and I had already spent 10 days in the hospital this time. One small room for four people. I was torn because on one hand I desperately wanted to come home, get into a routine and rest on my own terms. I wanted to be able to bond with my baby, she was constantly being passed from person to person. I mean needed the help but at the same time I wanted to feel like I could care for her too. I also missed my dogs like crazy and the way I left them the night I went into the ER was so rushed. I was feeling guilty that I had scolded Ladybug for licking my belly, when in fact she was trying to help get rid of the infection (she's so smart!).

On the other hand, I still felt weak, sick, in pain and overwhelmed. I didn't want to go home until I was sure I wasn't get worse like I did the first time. I was gunshy, I didn't really trust the word of the doctors anymore and I wanted reassurance. No one knows my body better than me.

In the end we got to be discharged on a Tuesday, with a hospital bed being delivered to the house, meals at the house, my mom staying with us and my Aunt coming the following week. I knew I needed alot of help, it was more than J and I could handle with the baby and me.

So what had to happen when I came home?
Dr. Lee my infectious disease doctor wanted me to have an IV at home for antibiotics, I didn't think too much of it because I figured if I could do insulin I could do an IV. A pik nurse came in and put the line in.

I was sedated and the nurse inserted the catheter in by my elbow. I couldn't really feel it but I knew it was happening. She pushed it up the vein in my arm to my heart. She actually pushed it alittle too far into my heart and it fluttered, that was freaky! She adjusted it and it actually felt so much better than having a regular IV in which at that point was in my hand. Also, I couldn't feel the antibiotics burning in my arm anymore because the vein is bigger that the pik line is in.

I also got a smaller wound vac to take home. I had to proved I could get up walk around and manage my wound vac and pik line. Not that I really wanted to go home...

The last hurdle was J had to learn how to infuse my pik line 1x a day. I didn't think it would be too hard but it was freaky having to make sure air didn't get into the line ugh.

The VNA was set up to come to the house and help with the infusions and change my wound vac.

When it came time to come home I at least felt better about the help we were set up with going home. We had my mom, J, wound care and the VNA.

So, I allowed myself to be discharged the next day and we headed home again......

Friday, November 12, 2010

It was a scary week

On Monday
Infectious disease came to visit and take samples to determine what bacteria I had and to find a drug that would work for me. Meanwhile, my infection continued to spread around to my back and up my sides. I continued to be in alot of pain and the pain meds could barely keep up, it felt like searing pain from hip to hip.

This week became a blur of doctors, nurses, Isabel, mom and J. In between feeding Isabel I tried to sleep as much as I could which with the constant poking and proding and visits was really hard. Not to mention I had the most uncomfortable bed, these labor beds are not meant for spending more than a couple of days in. My backside was numb from the pressure of the mattress, ugh!

One of my nurses, Denise was able to get me a new bed and moved me back to my original room (the one I was in the first stay). I liked that room, felt more comfortable in it and it had really good temperature control because I was flashing hot and cold. Also, the doorway was at a different angle and I didn't feel like I was hanging out when folks came in.

Mom and J were doing all the baby care, I was just feeding Isabel. That was one of the hardest things because I was her mom and I wasn't doing anything. I felt distant from Isabel. This little being I grew on the inside me for 9 months was here and I could barely hold her. The breastfeeding did help, it gave me a mission and a chance to bond. I was thankful that despite the meds, I could still feed her.

By Wednesday
I had a visit from Dr. Caron who was on call in the morning. She looked at my abdomen and pressed on it only to have the infection break through the skin... ugh! When a Dr. says interesting, thats not a good sign. She decided I would need surgery to clean out my wound and get ahead of the infection.

My heart sunk, I had a feeling I was going to need surgery but really hoped that all the dressing changes I was enduring would prevent it. I felt like I had failed. I was scared of the anesthesia, the pain and being away from Isabel and J.

I had to wait ALL DAY for the surgery because I had breakfast. As the day went on I felt more and more uneasy. Before my surgery I remember telling J I was scared I was going to die. He said I wouldn't but I just felt to scared. I took my mom in the bathroom before I went down and told her just what I wanted for Isabel if I died. I know that seems extreme but I just felt so scared.

I kissed J, Isabel and my mom goodbye and was wheeled down for surgery. Interestingly, the anesthesiologist remembered me from the surgery I has last year. I knew this surgery was a big deal when there were for doctor's there. My OB, the on call OB, the OB that delivered Isabel and a general surgeon. I just prayed that I would come out ok and live to raise our daughter.

It seemed like no time had passed when I came out of surgery. They had opened up my incision more, made another incision and I was done. Well at least with surgery. Next was the wound vac. They were supposed to attach it that evening during the surgery but for some reason I had to wait until the next morning.

I was so greatful to be ok and back in the room. While I was in surgery J and mom took Isabel for a spin in her stroller outside the hospital and all around. I was glad they kept busy.

I must mention that my sisters wanted to be with me every minute but they were leaving for a big trip to CA for our birthday and I wanted them to go and have a blast for me. Jolene did come and visit me the morning after my surgery and it meant so much to have her there. It was so hard keeping everyone informed about what was going and I missed talking to my sisters. Mom and J kept everyone informed for me. Yet, when Jolene came it was such a relief to see her and be comforted by her. It was fun for me to see Jolene marvel at how big Isabel was getting.

Jolene, mom, J and Isabel were there for my wound vac procedure. It was a very painful experience. Basically the incisions were connected with foam and tegaderm and tape. Tubing attaches to the foam and attaches to the pump which removes the infection continuously. The wound care nurse, Kelly (who I loved and was such a character) and the infectious disease Dr (who had this happen to her) reassured me this was the best thing. It was painful and cumbersome but they said I would heal faster but I might have it on until Thanksgiving ugh!

I felt like I was tethered to my bed with the wound vac and continuous IV line that had two kinds of IV antibiotics pumping through. I have to say I am greatful they finally found the right combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria because it was scary to see it spread and spread.

Despite it being a difficult, scary and tiring week there were some highlights.

  • Isabel was growing, they weighed her and she had gained back her birth weight and then some
  • Breastfeeding was getting better and Isabel was getting the hang of it
  • J and mom were doing so much to support me and take care of Isabel
  • Despite being tethered to medical equipment I was getting out and walking the halls
  • I ot to see some of my friends from my water aerobics class who had babies or were about to and some from my birthing class
  • My sisters were having a blast in CA and sending me pix
  • All of my nurses except for one were amazing and took great care of me, my mom brough cupcakes for them one of the days and we started saying 'cupcake for you' when I had a good nurse
  • I was also have a good experience with most of the lactation consultants
By Saturday
They were talking about letting me go home. On one hand I really wanted to go home on the other I didn't feel ready. I had to stand my ground and demand to stay and stay on the floor because they kept trying to send me up to med/surg. Gotta love healthcare system.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worst night of my life

We got into the ER and of course Isabel is sleeping like a rock :) figures! She just looked so peaceful and beautiful. My heart was breaking that we were back here again. She hadn't even seen her nursery yet.

We were allowed to sit in the family room so I could nurse if I needed to. As I waited I called my mom and just told her we were back in the ER.

Soon they took me back and put me in a room where a nurse got me to pee and took my temperature. I felt terribly ill at that point, no fever which was good I guess. Then the lab tech came in to get blood, not just a little either. They stuck me in several places to get enough. They were checking for sepsis (infected blood)... not good. I just remember the smell of the betadine on my hand and the goose egg that formed from taking it there. The blood culture bottles looked like nips and in my blood went....

J was by my side with Isabel feeding her and comforting me. It was about 2am and I was in alot of pain. My meds had worn off so J asked for more for me. Thank God! Morphine in the IV line...heaven!

Around that time my mom showed up. It was a relief to see her but I felt bad because her being here with me meant that she would like miss my sisters running the 'Wicked' Half marathon later that morning. Mom decided not to tell them and I think that was wise because we didn't want them to lose focus.

At this point the ER Dr. came in took a look at me and my incision and basically said I was being admitted again and was going back upstairs. I wasn't shocked but I was scared. He said in the mean time I could have whatever pain meds I needed, nice HUH?! Too bad it wore off quickly.

Meanwhile I needed to pump as my milk was just coming in. I had the ER nurse get me a pump, anyone of you breastfeeders knows how important it is to keep pumping. Isabel was sleeping so I couldn't feed her anyway. So pumping it was. Looking back it probably would seem crazy that as sick as I was I pumped for her. Breastfeeding was what was keeping me going at this point and knowing that I would rather have it be me than Isabel going through this.

At 5am I was taken upstairs with Isabel, mom and J. Dr. Basilice was on call and took a look at my incision. She decided she would open it all the way and clean it out. At this point the smell was really unbearable and pain even worse. At 7am she was doing the procedure.

This is when I learned just how I handle pain, apparantly I am stoic and just grin and bare it. To get through the excruciating pain I focused on talking about Isabel's nursery and the theme. I guess I did so well the Dr didn't think I needed pain meds. Of course I was dying inside but what could I do?

I was totally exhausted and felt like I had the worst flu ever on top of that just getting up to pee was tough, painful and tiring. Add to that a breastfeeding newborn and you can see the situation was overwhelming. Silent tears rolled down my face but it hurt to much to cry hard.

As I laid there a million thoughts ran through my mind, primarily, was I goin to die and how much worse was this going to get? I had a feeling surgery was imminent but I was honestly skeeved out at the thought of my incision being opened. It actuslly was at this time and all I could imagine was my guts coming out. I know I am a biologist but it was tough to be rational. finally I gave in and asked how deep they went and they said just to my abdominal wall....creepy but I could deal with that.

Woest day/night of my life yes, but it was then that I realized just how greatful I was it was happening to me and not Isabel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Going home.......

I got myself cleaned up and ready to go but I really felt terrible, being a tough cookie I just decided to go for it and go home, did I have a choice?

Here is a photo of us ready to leave and I still look very puffy and tired.

The ride home with Isabel was slow and quiet :) When we got home I really just didn't know what to do with myself, I literally just walked around the house aimlessly while J unloaded the car and set stuff up. Isabel was asleep in her infant seat so I tried to do stuff but I felt nervous to leave walk around the living room.

J got us settled and went to the store to get lunch, meds and baby stuff. Wow, I was alone in the house with the baby. Woo. Kind of overwhelming considering I could barely walk or stand long. We didn't have a choice though, it was just us. Our fearless little team.

J came home with a late lunch and then headed off to get our furkids and I had my neighbor come over to keep me company while he was gone. Of course the pups were overjoyed to see me and amazingly good to the baby. Our family was complete and we tried to settle in for the night. I did call my mom that night and complain that my 'pooch' where the baby had been in my lower abdomen was getting heavier and more painful (we figured it was the edema and cellulitis), I just tried to suck it up and keep up with pain meds, which was percocet.

Instead of sleep, Isabel had other plans, she basically cried and fussed all night long so J and I got no sleep. I think I handled it better because I hadn't been sleeping through the night for the past 7 months. By 5am she was sleeping and at 9am I woke up to the phone ringing.

We had a nurse visit from a nurse at the Family ctr there to check Isabel and me. She's a pediatric nurse, Angela who happens to live down the road from us. Isabel was fine and she looked at my incision and warned I should check it often througout the day. She said if my incision opened for any reason I should come right back and baby and J could stay with me but they would have to open it all the way up and then not stitch it back together and it would have to grow back on its own. I thought it was strange she was making such a big deal about it but took her advice as the day went on.

In the afternoon, I decided to take a shower once the baby was sleeping on J. I will say as bad as I felt, it was the best shower I ever had, I was probably in there for about 45 minutes. I came out feeling like a new woman despite how crappy I was feeling.

That night J's mom and sister came over to bring us a recliner and we had dinner made for us by our neighbor. I basically got waited on for a while by his family. It was so nice to only have to feed the baby and get up to pee. I was honestly feeling hazy and in a lot of pain. The pain was in my abdomen and it was feeling heavier and heavier. The nurse had said to put a pad in the incision every once in a while to wick the moisture away. Around 8pm I did that. J and his mom were at the grocery store and Jackie was with me. I had gone to pee and noticed my new underwear were bloody but I figured it was from the lochia (bleeding after the baby).

*****warning this part is not for the faint of heart****************************************
I changed my underwear and sat back down. It was around that time I started noticing the pain in my abdomen increasing (burning) on one side. Also there was a smell, like gas. I figured I was gassy from the stool softeners. J's mom came back with J and J decided to take a nap while I fed the baby and hung out with his mom. They left around 10:30pm and J came down from his nap around 11pm.

Ladybug came running over the me and began to try to lick my abdomen, I was shooing her away (gross right?!) and decided to go to the bathroom because it had been a while. J helped me to the bathroom and was there to check my incision. He helped me take the pad out and we both smelled the smell stronger than ever. The pad was bloody and green.

Sheer panic set in, but I was numb at the same time. I instantly thought to myself, my God, my incision broke open and its infected, I am going to die. That may have sounded dramatic but I honestly thought I was dead. I came out of the bathroom and J was already calling the Ob. I didn't even pee because I was too scared that if I sat my incision would break open more. I looked at Isabel as she slept in her pack and play and began to think the worst but praying for the best.

J began packing up Isabel's things and some of my stuff ( I hadn't really unpacked yet) and before we got the call back from the OB we were on the road. In the mean time while J packed I remember repeating, "I am not OK" "I am not OK" but I felt basically numb other than that.

The rest felt surreal and I remembered in the car that we had to open a window because the smell was so strong. I looked over at Isabel and she was sleeping peacefully in her seat next to me and the moon was bright shining on her. I remember just thinking, its going to get worse before it gets better and I kept saying to J, I hope I don't die. He just kept praying the whole way there.

We finally got a call back from the On-call OB and we were told to go to the ER. We were half way there at that point. They were waiting for me when I got there and carried me out of the car and into a wheel chair.

This is when the longest and scariest day began.....................

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The first few days with Isabel

Saturday: The first night

The first night with Isabel was in a word surreal, she was sleepy and precious though, all I wanted to just hold her forever. All I can say is J and I were absolutely in love with her. We just kept looking at her and each other marveling at this little creation. We prayed for her health because of the uterine infection I had and the IV she had just in case.

I finally got to nurse her with the help of the lactaction consultant, Heather. And honestly, I felt how I would imagine it would, it was comforting to actually be feeding her because it was something I felt was so important during pregnancy and was so worried I wouldn't be 'good at'. She definetly instinctually knew what to do, it was just such a beautiful moment. Being able to nurse her was the ultimate in bonding for me, as all the nurses and family and J were taking care of her the rest of the time, that time was 'our time'. And believe me I lost all inhibitions about anyone seeing my breasts...they became like any other useful appendage, like arms and legs and I didn't care who saw them.

J made the calls to family telling everyone Isabel had arrived. Some of our family knew were in the hospital but no one knew I had a c-section. We decided to keep the experience of the c-section to ourselves and we didn't want to worry anyone especially because the decision to do it was so fast no one could have gotten there in time anyway.

Katie our night nurse was back and recommended we let her go to the nursery. Of course, I didn't want to but I needed to sleep and so they just brought her in for feedings. The night was a blur and I just kept waking up reminding myself that we actually had a baby!

I was hooked up to an IV, had a catheter and really could not get out of bed so everything was done for me day and night. I was given meds and had my vitals checked so much I felt like a science experiment.

Sunday: First visitors
In the morning the visitors lined up. Mom was the first to arrive and after a quick visit with Isabel she and my day nurse Carrie helped me get cleaned up... which was amazing just to shower after all that! Then my FIL, his wife, my sisters and brother in law arrived around the same time. It was so special to get to show her off to family. What was tough was the logistics of trying to have privacy to feed (not that I was embarrassed more that I needed to focus on how to feed her properly and visitors were distracting). As the day went on more family came, my MIL and Susie our friends Jessie and Erich. I was so beat honestly by the end but could understand why everyone wanted to be there.

That night Katie was back as my nurse and she was checking my incision and saw that I had a pink rash forming from my incision point up to my belly button. The on-call OB recommended to mark it with ink so they could see if it spread. Awesome, it was like connect the dots because I had scars from my previous surgeries, stretch marks and now this!!!! I can't say I was feeling all that great at that point but was doing ok.

Monday: Cellulitis? Ick!
Monday morning my OB was on the floor and looked at my skin and determined it was cellulitis and they put me on an antibiotic that I could take while nursing. Of course I am allergic to the best antibiotic for most things, penicillin so finding a drug that would work and was ok for nursing was harder.

I wasn't too worried about the cellulitis because mom had had it before but it was disconcerting when the pink patches were spreading on Monday. That night my Dad, Darlene my MIL and Susie came to visit. It was great to show her off but exhausting too. J did a good job keeping the visits brief as possible. It did give me a chance to eat while everyone else held the baby.

Tuesday and Wednesday: Days becoming a blur
By Tuesday they were pinker and more angry but we all thought that the drugs just needed more time. I was getting up and walking around more with help. I got another shower. Nursing was getting alittle easier and I was resting when I could. I know my grandparents visited and my mom did too but I can't really remember when. I think the fatigue was catching up, mixed with pain meds that make this time the most blurry for me.

J did alot of the baby care, diapering, holding, rocking, swaddling, washing bottles and taking Isabel out and about. The only thing I really did for Isabel is hold her and breastfeed her as often as she needed it. My colostrum was enough at first and finally my milk started coming in on Wednesday. With the help of pumping it was coming along but she did get alittle formula as a snack to keep her going. It took longer for me because I was so sick after my c-section.

Wednesday: Am I ever going home?!
By Wednesday my cellulitis was at a standstill and my skin in my abdomen was hard as a rock in places (freaky I know). Dr. Browne ordered a CT scan just to be sure I didn't have an absess. I almost had to pump and dump because of the contrast dye but lactation said I could still feed Isabel so I continued on. I have to say I was not excited about another CT scan since I had one the year before. That is massive amounts of radiation, however, I didn't want to take chances I had an infection and would go home with it, so on I went. The OB on the floor upped my IV meds to stronger ones to try to kick the cellulitis. By Wednesday night we were told that I would probably go home Thursday because my CT scan looked normal.

Thursday: We are going home!!!!
We got the word on Thursday morning that we could go home. I think every new mom feels trepidation about going home. Will I be able to do it all? Feed her enough? Deal with the sleep deprivation? How will J handle it?

We spent most of the day getting ready to leave, packing up clothes, gifts, bottles, it felt like we were moving! My IV was disconnected, I could put on real clothes instead of the johnny which was my new friend. I felt kind of crummy but decided that if the Dr.s thought I was ready I was going to go and do it.

Looking back this was my first false assumption. From here on out I had to learn to be my own best advocate. No one knew how I felt but me. Not the Dr., not the nurse, not even J.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Its Go Time

Ready to Push

During that two hours all I could do was shake, shake, shake. It was uncontrolable and frustrating. During that time, Carrie was trying to get blood just in case I needed the c-section. My IV was in the right arm and looking back that was a stupid move, why? my right arm is better for drawing blood. So I endured Carrie's poking and it wasn't that bad but she could get all the blood she needed. So she called in one nurse after another, no one could get it. They tried putting a warming pad on my hand because it was so cold to get the blood. Next they tried the best lab techs in the phlebotomy lab and they were trying to get the paramedics which are pros. In total 7 people tried, and no success. Finally, they gave up. What was I thinking as all this was going on? Not much. I was focusing on trying to control my shaking because it was making it hard to breathe.
So if you can imagine, I was laying there with my left arm getting poked and proded and the rest of me curled up trying to breath.
J was holding my hand and talking me through it, I mean I wasn't in pain anymore but I was just shaking so hard. And oh, the thirst!!! That was probably the worst!!!!!!!! I got so dry I couldn't swallow and was begging for ice chips.... but no I couldn't have anything.
Dr. Browne came in after two hours and checked me and said I made progress and could push. They turned down my epidural and waited for me to feel contractions. I was feeling so cold at this point and my oxygen levels were dropping so I got some O2 and prepared to push.
I was feeling so weak and still shakey. I pushed and pushed just like how you see on TV minus the screaming. Boy, I felt so weak and like she was barely budging. It was the most helpless feeling. I got 30m to push at as time went on baby's heart rate began to climb and my temperature did too. I got to 103.1 and her heart rate was 200 (normal is 140). Dr Browne said she was sunny side up which meant she was face up instead of face down like she should be.
This was the turning point.

Dr. Browne said it just wasn't going to happen and that we needed to do a c-section. On one hand I felt relief because I was feeling so tired and thirsty. I didn't really have time to be scared. I actually asked Carrie how soon after the c-section could I get to drink water...see where my mind was?! I think I had already prepared myself for the possibility knowing I had Gestational Diabetes.

I still needed to have the blood drawn and the chances looked slim. In comes the cocky anesthesiologist. He decides to get my blood by putting a needle into my arm an inch and a half!! You would think it would hurt but at that point I didn't even care.
J was getting suited up for the delivery room and all I can remember was seeing him sweat because our room was hot. Since I was getting a c-section they were going to move me to c-section alley so J packed up our room as I was being prepped for surgery.

It felt like forever to get into the operating room but when we got there I was alone with the pediatric nurse, my nurse, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Browne and the pediatrician. J had to wait outside while they put the spinal in. After I was ready, J came in and sat beside me. I was literally just hoping that I wouldn't feel anything and that was about it. Of course I was excited to see our baby but I was just so anxious.
It didn't take long for Isabel to come out and J and I waited for her to cry. Nothing pretty much silence. I kept asking why she wasn't crying. A minute later we heard a wail and J got her in his arms. They brought her over and I kissed her but I was so hot and tired I could barely take the moment in. Isabel had meconium in her mouth and so they were preventing her from crying. J left with Isabel and I was stitched up.

As I was wheeled out of the operating room I threw up, ick. Once I was in my new room all I wanted was water which I drank alot of only to throw up! Oh well, it was worth it!

It was about 20 minutes before J came in with Isabel and I got to hold her and see her. It felt surreal. I got to hold her and the pediatrician came in and said she was going to need an IV because I had a uterine infection and thats why my temperature was so high and so was her heart rate.

While she was getting an IV, this period is a blur. I can't remember who we called first but I know J called around. When Isabel came back I got to breast feed her.

It was alittle awkward with her IV in but the lactation consultants were great. I wish I could say I remember that moment clearly but it too is blurry. But I know it happened.

I spent the next few hours resting and J called around as Isabel slept in her basinett. The whole scene was surreal! What I can remember is feeling pure love for this little baby that we just welcomed into the world!


Starting at the beginning

September 17th started with another restless night of heartburn, tossing and turning and a swig of diet coke at 3am to make sure that Isabel was still active (yes I was obsessing about her movement because GD can increase the risk of still born babies).

J had a huge work deadline but was hanging out with me and doing work in the morning just in case I went into labor. I got showered and changed but was so tired that by 8am I crawled back into bed and slept until noon. I woke up with my dogs snuggled up to me and it was very sweet. J came in and snuggled with us and then went to work.

I had been feeling kind of off all day (I never sleep that long especially in the morning). I got up ate lunch and sat on the couch feeling still tired. I had noticed some changes when I went to the bathroom. I will spare the details but it felt like I was peeing all the time. By 2:30 I took the dogs out and decided I should call the OB to see if the nurse could describe the difference between amniotic fluid and pee. That got an immediate call back from my OB. She was like 'tell me what you feel like' and I said 'Like I am gushing pee all the time even when I am sitting'. She told me to come right in do not pass Go and collect $200. I was shaking and nervous. I looked at the dogs and felt a bittersweet sadness.

Was this the day our sweet baby girl would arrive? Was I even ready? How would this change our lives (I knew it would).

So I called J, who had just gotten to work and said I was heading into the OB for a check. I collected my stuff changed and hopped into the car. My bags were packed and in the car already so I just kissed the pups and off I went.

I was probably in denial that I was in labor. I called a friend who's water broke without contractions and described my feelings and she was convinced that my water broke.

By the time I got to the hospital parking garage I had to waddle to keep from feeling like I was peeing with every step. It was the longest walk ever!

At the OB, the office had closed but my Dr was waiting for me and she checked me and said yes indeed my water was broken.

That was at 4:30. She sent me over to the Family Center aka labor and delivery. I had to be reminded of the directions of how to get through from my Dr.'s office, I was so nervous!

Off I walked to the Family Ctr. and when I got there they knew I was coming, I must have looked funny 9 months pregnant by myself, no bags, no husband and in a good mood. They put me in a room and I started making calls to J, my family, the friends who were going to bring Ladybug and Liam to boarding and so on. It still felt weird.

J arrived around 6:30, I told him to eat and take his time because I still wasn't having contractions. Around that time Dr. Browne came and checked me and I was 2.5cm dialated and 100% effaced so I didn't need to be induced. They decided to let me eat dinner and gave me a sleeping pill so I could rest.

So around 9:30 we tested my blood sugar and I tried to sleep. J was on the sleeper sofa and we just looked at each other kind of amazed we were there! It really felt like we were in a hotel room with extra medical stuff around. It was surreal.

I slept ok until about 4am. I started feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, ya know like diarrhea cramps. I got up and tried and nothing. Then it dawned on me... these might be contractions. About 15 minutes later I was sure they were contractions, they were radiating all the way from my back to the front about every 5 minutes.

I woke up J and he helped me into the jacuzzi tub. I had my maternity bathing suit on and hung out in there for about 2 hrs. By 6am they were coming on fast and furious. I mean it was hard to catch my breath and it was in a word excruiating. J held my hand and I breathed through them, standing, sitting, walking around.

The nurses in all this are the heroes. Jamie, the nurse that had brought me to my room at 6:30 had handed me off to Katie who is about our age and lives in our town... awesome huh? She was pretty matter of fact about my labor pain. Annoying yes, but it kept me calm.

She had gone by 7am and by then Dr. Brown was back and so was my day nurse Carrie. They checked me and I was 4cm... go me :) Then I begged for the epidural.

At 8am the anesthesiologist came in. He was cocky and smelled, I mean reaked of cologne like he had been our clubbing all night. Later the nurses said he was recently divorced and so he was spiffing himself up. Whatever, the smell of cologne and perfume to a pregnant lady in labor = torture!!

After going over the risks of the epidural I went for it. J, held my hands and helped me breath while Carrie talked me through it with the anesthesiologist. I was shaking which is how I deal with pain. The whole procedure took about 10 minutes and in another 10 minutes the pain was subsiding and I was just shaking.

At this point I had a moment to get to know Carrie abit better. She was single, been an L&D nurse for a while was very thorough but loved to be organized to the point where she was zooming around the room here and there. It was alittle stressful at first!

I was getting regular monitoring of the baby and my contractions using NST and an internal monitor attached to her head.. yea weird right?!

Dr. Browne came into check me at 10am and I was 10cm... most women dilate 1cm an hr. and I did 6cm in 2hours! Go me!

But she was still high and so I had to wait to push. Dr. Browne gave me 1.5hrs to get her down, or I was going to have a c-section.

Oh those words stung, how could I have gotten so far just to have a c-section?! But if it was for the best I was going to do it.

So I spent that hour and a half trying to rest until the shakes set in so hard I could barely talk.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My life has changed forever, Isabel Ann has arrived

Wow, where do I begin?

Its been 6 weeks since I updated my blog and there is so much to say. I will post the whole story in pieces over the next couple of weeks.

But lets start at the beginning,

Isabel Ann arrived on September 18th at 2:32pm via c-section and was 8lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches long.

She is healthy and beautiful and has stolen all of our hearts, especially mine. Love does not divide it multiplies, so true so true!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

People are so nice

So no baby yet... but I am remaining hopeful! I am trying to enjoy these last few days with it being just her and I. I am going to miss this part for sure!

I have been blown away with how kind, comforting and encouraging people have been in these last few days.

For example,
  • I have recieved many phone calls and texts from family (sisters etc.) and good friends not trying to bug me but 'checking in'
  • We recieved a beautiful handmade quilt with matching outfit from one of J's co-workers that is all ladybugs and matches her room perfectly!
  • I have been getting many encouraging well wishes from friends with and without kids. It is especially nice to have 'new mommies' cheer me on and encourage me because I know they know how anxious these 'waiting days' are, no matter how busy I make myself I am driven to distracting wondering when and if she'll come!
  • My dear friend Jess came over last night, brought take out and kept me company because J was working late again this week. It was just so nice to have some one to talk to and it kept me from searching the web for signs of labor for the four billionth time!
  • Today, I got some encouraging words from the nurse and a plan for how Baby N will be delivered should I need to be induced
  • Also, a fellow grad student called today offering to bring my printer to my house from school because I went in yesterday to get it and couldn't lug it...he ended up not being able to come but still it was so kind
  • Lastly, I was dying for a haircut and my hair dresser squeezed me in! I feel like a new woman!!

Now, I can't say I am not anxious or apprehensive about this baby arriving but it feels good to be supported by friends and family. I just hope she comes soon! I want to see her face!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Update Week #39: Will I make it to 40 weeks?

That IS the question in my mind! I had my OB apt yesterday, my NST was awesome baby was a moving machine so the Dr was happy. I waited an extra long time to see my Dr. but she is so great it was worth waiting!

Poor thing, she looked wiped out. She has been on-call and delivering babies since Friday-this morning at 7am.

She's funny though, she was cracking jokes and said motherhood prepared her well for a career in obstetrics!

So, all my bloodwork, blood pressure, and everything else looks good :) No pre-e so thats really good!

She did the exam and did a sweep (I will spare the details but its just what is sounds like) and said matter of factly that this baby will be here by Wednesday...ya like TOMORROW!!

I trust her medical opinion but I find it hard to believe! So, I came home last night feeling a mix of emotions and just tried to get everything at the house ready. To my crazy mind that include organizing the utensil drawer in the kitchen among other things!

I actually have been sleeping pretty well these last couple of nights which to me, is kind of miracle and I am thankful!

I am staying busy and active and even getting some work done on my dissertation so thats all good. J even went with me to vote!

So here may be my last real update because if baby N doesn't make her grand entrance by Sunday, I will be induced that day. I am hoping she comes this week just so my Dr. can deliver her but at this point its totally out of my control and I know that!

How far along? 39 weeks
How big is baby? 8lbs-ish
Weight gain? Holding steady at 30lbs
Kicks? Just wiggles, head bobs and an occassional kick/roll, I think she's pretty squished!
Latest craving? Water! I am soooo thirsty its just ridiculous!
Best part of the week? So far? The thought that she may arriving soon!
How do I feel? Uncomfortable if I sit/stand/lay down in anyone spot too long, otherwise feeling good!

39 weeks today!

Monday, September 13, 2010

False alarm?

Last night I had real contractions, timeable, painful and real. They lasted for 2 hours. I called my Dr. and she said to try to rest and sleep and if it gets worse call back.

J jumped to attention. He ran around cleaning and getting stuff together despite me insisting this probably wasn't 'IT'.

So we went to bed and waited. Slowly the contractions stopped and I actually slept pretty well.

Dissapointed? YES.

I have an apt at 1pm, we'll see if I made any progress or not.

In the mean time I am cleaning, organizing and trying to stay busy. I am off for a walk with the puppies to see if that helps.

I feel bad for J, he is just so excited he didn't want to go to work 'just in case'.

We will see what happens!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Commiting to church membership

Yesterday J and I went to our church's annual 'Pig Roast' an event for the community and church. I made brownie cupcakes to contribute to the event that satisfied my nesting needs for the day.

On a side note, I had been up almost all the night before suffering from the most horrendous heartburn I have ever had, I made the caramel apple cake (delish btw) and pulled pork sandwhiches (death of me for heartburn). So I spend Saturday napping and baking :)

We met up with our small group friends and made our way around the picnic. The food was great and it was really neat to run into people I work with and know around Durham including some ladies from my UNH water aerobics :)

One of the other reasons we went was to meet one of the church elders to say hello and confirm a time to meet today. We attended the membership class in July and decided to become members of this church. One of the parts of membership is meeting with an elder. We had been trying for weeks to make it happen so I am glad we are able to do it before the baby arrives. Turns out this elder and family literally live 8 houses down from us ;)

So we met this morning and discussed membership and our backgrounds and our intentions for being involved in the church. It was a good time of fellowship. One of the things we have to consider is adult baptism. This church is a non-denominational church but was founded on baptist principles.

How do I feel about this?
Well, at first I was looking at it more as a formality and almost felt weird about doing it because I consider myself more of a mature Christian rather than a new one. But the more I think about it the more I think it would be a good opportunity for J and I to affirm our faith together. We don't have to be baptized in the church, we can do it on our own. So we are considering how and when we will do it. We both were infant baptized. I don't think its necessarily wrong to only be infant baptized but I do think being baptized as an adult or when you are able to know Christ and accept Him into your heart then thats when baptism should be done.

So what about our baby?
We like the idea of infant dedication, a commitment in front of the church to raise our daughter to know God but we would let her get baptized when she is old enough to know and accept Christ into her heart.

So, we are waiting to join officially but it feels good to be settling into a church family again. Even the elder's wife was sweet enough to offer to help out when the baby is born. That just meant alot! Church family are valuable and I have missed being a part of one!

On another note, I am struggling to be patient. All weekend I have known that my OB is on-call this weekend through Tuesday. I really want her to deliver the baby and I feel anxious at the thought that next week the French Dr. is on-call and would deliver her... ugh! If the baby doesn't come by next weekend then I will be induced on that Monday. I am just so up in the air with all this... definetly not in control! Guess I should get used to it! I really hope she comes today.. my Great Aunt Carolyn predicted she would come today...we'll see!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Update: Week #38

So after my really dissapointing appointment on Tuesday, my OB saw me at 6pm last night. J came with me and it was much better appointment.

Here are the highlights:
Baby N is a good size, in her opinion she isn't too big, I will likely be able to deliver her without a c-section and may even be able to go into labor on my own. She even gave us some tips on how to speed things up. Walking was one of them. Which is harder for me given my swelling. However, I have been making a concerted effort.

She made a point of telling me she is on call and the delivery doc from Thursday-Monday and to try to go into labor so she can deliver baby N :) Seriously, that is my prayer because the following weekend... the rude OB will be on... UGH!!!!!

If I don't go on my own by 9/20 then thats the day I will be induced. So I could use prayers that this baby comes on her own and hopefully soon!!!! I think the baby has dropped so thats a good sign!

I have decided to start saying home exclusively, I am working on my PhD. and resting as much as I can. Its just hard going into work with these really swollen feet and sitting at my desk. I can feel my feel throbbing and I limp around because my arches hurt so much. I don't get paid maternity leave so I am not obligated to work until a certain point so I am just working at home.

How far along? 38w 2d

How big is baby? Some where in the 8lb range

Weight gain? about 30lbs

Kicks? Rolls, punches, wiggles and stretches

Latest craving?

Best part of the week? Spending time with J today, he is working from home and I LOVE it! And spending time with my friend Crystal shopping and walking yesterday

How do I feel? Good, ready but remaining patient. I am dealing with a pretty bad case of insomnia which is really a bummer. This morning it was so bad I just got up around 3:30-4 and stayed up and fell asleep in the morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dedicating this blog to cake :)

I am feeling alot better today, I got to talk to my Dr.'s nurse and my OB will see me today so I can ask her my questions and J is coming with me. Which will help me alot. He asks good questions and absorbs information quickly. I tend to take longer to process what is said so it'll be good to have him there.

In the end, I will do whatever my OB suggests.

So, today I am inspired to make this:

We went apple picking this weekend and I made this cake a couple of years ago for a cooking club dinner. My good friend Jessie and I were talking about uses for apples and I mentioned this dessert.

Yes, I have GD but I can have a small slice. Its a homeade yellow cake with apple sauce, the middle is a filling of sauteed apples with cinnamon and the frosting is a caramel buttercream.... ok I am drooling just thinking about it and the baby is hiccupping ;)

I wouldn't say I am nesting more just in the mood to bake because it is getting cooler :)

Caramel Apple Cake Recipe: (source Everyday with Rachel Ray by Susan Lily Ott)

2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 crisp apples (about 1 pound), such as gala, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Using an electric mixer, combine the flour, 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, the baking powder and salt. Mix in 2 sticks butter at low speed until the mixture is crumbly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, 1/2 cup cream, applesauce and vanilla. Mix into the flour-butter mixture at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release the layers, invert onto the rack and let cool completely.
In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the apple slices and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and the juice is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons cream and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 sticks butter and the confectioners' sugar until light and creamy. With the mixer on low, slowly mix in the caramel sauce.
Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate; spread the apple filling evenly on top, then cover with the remaining cake layer. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the caramel frosting, swirling the top to make a decorative pattern

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dissappointing day

No, I am not bummed because it is a work day, I had a long Dr.'s appointment this morning that wasn't very promising.

I will preface this whole post by saying that I am definetly feeling emotional today.

I saw a new Dr. in the practice today. How new? This was her first day at the practice (not practicing but still). She is French and pretty young.

Usually, I see my Dr. on Monday's, first I have a non-stress test and then my appointment. Today, I had my NST and then an appointment with the new Dr.

She checked my blood sugar numbers and asked ME if they were good, um yea?! They are actually. She measured my belly and said 'wow big belly'..... I am thinking to myself, 9 months pregnant aren't I supposed to have a belly?

She did an internal exam and said that I am barely dialated, when my Dr. said last week I was 2cm. I know that each Dr. is different but thats a big difference if you ask me. She said I won't go into labor tonight... duh, I didn't suggest I would!! I know most first babies come late.

She also said she didn't think I had a bladder infection based on the urinalysis. Umm really?!!

I asked her about my growth u/s and she said she's in the 82nd percentile, so only 18% of babies are bigger than her at 37 weeks. Terrific. She said that my Dr. will want to induce me next week. Its frustrating because my Dr. keeps saying that she won't induce unless its medically needed. But every other Dr. I have seen says that I should be induced early.

I love my Dr. and trust her but I have to wonder if I should push to be induced so she doesn't get too big and I have to have a c-section. Ugh, I feel like I have no good choices.

I am frustrated that the secretary scheduled me with a new Dr. at 38 weeks. I have another NST on Friday, so I am going to see if I can touch base with my Dr. by then.

I felt so dissapointed and down that I cried the whole way home.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day but no labor for me....

Well I am officially 2 weeks away from my due date. My cohort of prenatal water aerobics friends have all gone 2 weeks early (except for my friend Crystal, shes' still baking her baby). I know that there is no way to tell when the baby will arrive and I can't say I want her out but, I am starting to feel ready, emotionally and physically!

This weekend, I kept busy. Saturday was my last prenatal water aerobics class and then we went apple picking (loved that) and then had friends over for dinner.

Sunday we went to church which was really reaffirming. I have been feeling anxious about labor and during church I just felt a sense of calm. It even moved me to tears when the scripture reading was about not being fearful because God is in control. Sometimes I forget I am not in charge, He is!

My ILs came up for a cookout and Jackie helped me put the finishing touches on the nursery ;) My sisters and Scott came by to say hi and pick up the wine they ordered. I laughed when it arrived because here I am 9 months pregnant accepting a crate of wine :) It must have looked ironic to the UPS guy.

Today we trecked to Hopkington for the state fair. I was proud of myself for showing restraint with the fair food :) I did have a corn dog, tried a fried oreo and got a drink but that was it ;) I wanted so many more treats but the GD stopped me. Maybe at the Topsfield fair I can splurge!

So right now baby N is still baking but I think I dropped. Last night I was having a lot of pressure in my pelvis and it was really painful. And this morning I noticed my heartburn was gone, so maybe she did drop.... We'll see how much longer she wants to stay in!