Declan’s Birth Story

Tomorrow, my little boy turns one year old. In the way of most mothers, I have no idea where the time has gone. One day, I was bringing my baby home from the hospital and now I’m chasing him up and down the stairs and trying to keep him from launching himself off the couch. It’s been quite a year as we’ve made the adjustment from being a family of three to a family of four. I don’t remember what life was like without this sweet child in it. He has been an amazing blessing to our family. This is his birth story.

Right about the time that Ian was 18 months old, I started getting a severe case of baby fever. He was growing up so fast and becoming such a big boy and I missed having a tiny one around. Colin and I have always known that we wanted our children to be relatively close in age and it seemed like it was almost the right time to expand our family. So after we came home from spending Christmas with my family in Kentucky, I quit taking my birth control pills and we waited to see what would happen. As fate would have it, it didn’t take long. Only 20 days after taking my last pill, I had a positive pregnancy test in hand. We were ecstatic!

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I had my first appointment with my OB/GYN at only 6 ½ weeks. An ultrasound was done and the baby was already measuring ahead, so my due date was moved up five days. We weren’t surprised by this, since the same thing had been done with Ian and he ended up being 9 lbs at birth. We were told to expect another big baby. At this appointment, we also discussed my birthing options. My doctor told me that because I had previously had a C-section (due to Ian’s size) and because my babies tend to be large, she recommended another C-section. Houston is not a very VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) friendly place and unfortunately, although I wanted to attempt a vaginal delivery, I ran up against this problem. There are a VERY limited number of doctors here who will even do them due to the risk of uterine rupture and the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. And if I did leave my OB/GYN (whom I love) and find a doctor who would take me, the nearest hospital where I could deliver was almost an hour away on the other side of Houston. After having all of this explained to us and weighing our limited options, we decided to have another C-section. The date was set for October 8, 2012.

At 16 weeks, we had a routine ultrasound during my check-up and my doctor was already able to see that we had another little boy! I had worried up to this point that I would be disappointed if we didn’t get a girl this time around. My worry was completely unfounded. When I saw that little baby on the screen and felt him move, it didn’t matter at all. I was going to have two little boys!

My pregnancy with Declan was extremely easy and joyful. There were no complications and he was always so active that I felt the reassurance of his movements constantly. It was more exhausting than when I was pregnant with Ian, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was constantly chasing a toddler. Ian was thrilled that he was getting a baby and would often pat my stomach and ask why his brother wasn’t here yet. He just couldn’t understand why it was all taking so long! Truth be told, we were all anxious to get the baby here! I had no morning sickness at all, but I also had no appetite. I had to force myself to eat throughout the day and could happily have existed on only water for the whole nine months. On the morning I went to the hospital to have him, I had only gained 5 lbs throughout the entire pregnancy. Don’t be fooled, though. I was HUGE! By 28 weeks, when I was home in KY for a family reunion, people were asking me if I was expecting twins. At only 32 weeks, a random lady in Walgreens gave me a look full of pity and asked me how soon I was due. She was astounded when I told her I still had two months left!

My parents arrived on the afternoon of the 6th and we got to spend some time with them before the baby arrived. We drove around showing them the area and spent some time visiting and playing cards. I would catch my dad just looking at me and shaking his head. He finally just laughed and told me that I had the biggest pregnant belly he had ever seen for someone who was only having one baby. By that point, I sure felt like he was right!

This was me the day my parents arrived in Houston, two days before delivery.

This was me the day my parents arrived in Houston, two days before delivery.

On October 8, 2012, we woke up at 4:45 a.m. to go to the hospital. We had to be there at 5:30 to get settled in and prepped for the 7:30 surgery. Colin and I left and Mom and Dad stayed behind with Ian. They would come at 7:00 to avoid waking Ian so early just to have him wait around at the hospital. Driving to the hospital, I have to say that my most immediate concern was how difficult it would be for the nurse to get my IV hooked up. I have terrible veins and getting an IV or having blood work is always an issue. When I had Ian, it took almost two full hours to get the IV so with that in my head, I was ready for quite a bit of discomfort. Maybe it was the fact that I was dreading the IV, that I had left my baby at home in bed, or maybe it was just the hormones, but I had such a sense of dread and foreboding as we were filling out all of the paperwork. The nurse was able to get my IV on the second try, but I can remember laying there trying not to cry and wishing I could just turn around and go home. After all of the waiting and waiting to bring my baby boy into the world, I just wanted to go home and continue being pregnant.

Of course that wasn’t realistic and after kissing Ian and telling him I would be back soon with the baby, I walked to the OR. Colin would join me as soon as I was numb and the incision was made. Much the same as I had with Ian’s delivery, I sat on the edge of the operating table, slumped over with a topical anesthetic on my back, waiting to get the spinal block that would numb me. I can remember being cold and anxious as I heard the anesthesiologist mumbling behind me. My nurse stood in front of me and held my hand. At one point, I was even leaning on my doctor, basically embracing her in a bear hug and wanting nothing more than for Colin to come into the room. But it wasn’t to be. After thirty minutes of trying, the anesthesiologist couldn’t get the spinal to work and decided to try an epidural instead. After twenty more minutes, I felt a slight tingling in my leg and he informed the nurses that the epidural was in and I was laid back on the operating table. After a few more minutes, my doctor checked to see if I could feel anything. I could. They gave me a few more minutes and still I could feel. At this point, the anesthesiologist informed me that we would have to do the C-section under general anesthesia.

I’m not going to try to sugar coat it, because I would fail. Even looking back on his birth now, a year later, I have tears of regret and my heart races. I can remember crying and telling them all that I wanted Colin and then I remember the burning pain of the anesthesia entering my vein. I don’t remember anything after that. I woke sometime a short while later in my room, sobbing for Colin. I wanted him and I wanted my baby. I just kept saying that I was sorry. So sorry that Colin didn’t get to be there; sorry that I didn’t really get to be present for what was supposed to be such a joyous occasion. Declan was an hour old by the time I got to see him.

The first time I saw Declan.

The first time I saw Declan.

Holding him for the first time.

Holding him for the first time.

A few days later, when I talked to my wonderful sister-in-law, Casey, she put it all in perspective by saying that while the delivery was terrible, the package was perfect. She was right. At 8:30 a.m on October 8, 2012, Declan Thomas Wier was born. He weighed 8 lbs, 12 ounces and was 20 ¾ inches long with black hair, a dimple on his right cheek, and what has become his signature big eyes. We had a perfectly healthy, beautiful, baby boy.

A few hours after he was born.

A few hours after he was born.

Our first family photo.  :)

Our first family photo. 🙂

From the moment he was born, Declan has been the sweetest, easy, most humble baby. Even in the hospital, he would just calmly look at me as if to say, “It’s okay, Mommy. I’m here and I love you.” Through the past year, he has grown like a weed and is still the happiest baby on the block. He loves his big brother and his stuffed bunny. He plays pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and gives high fives like a champ. His little smile is a balm to my soul when I’ve had a rough day. The sound of him and Ian playing and laughing is all I need to hear to remind me of all the blessings in my life; to remind me of what is really important. So tomorrow, we celebrate him. Happy birthday, my sweet Declan. Mommy loves you so very much!

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Lillian’s Birth Story

Following suit with the other Two Ladies, today I am sharing my sweet little Lillian’s birth story. She will be one next Wednesday so now is the perfect time to tell our story.

We found out we were expecting a baby on January 16th 2012.  That just so happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which meant I had the day off of work. We were planning a family, so I was just waiting for the time to be right to take a pregnancy test. I had already taken two just a couple days before and they were negative. I waited for Brian to leave for work before taking another test because I knew he’d make fun of me and tell me I was wasting time and money testing again so soon. But I had a feeling. My feeling was right. He couldn’t have possibly cleared the stop sign at the end of the street before I got the positive. I was overwhelmed with excitement! There was only one problem. Brian wouldn’t be home from work until late that evening. I was alone with my excitement for the whole day! I thought I would explode! As such, I knew I had to keep myself busy. I thought out the perfect plan to surprise him with the news. So I went shopping. I purchased craft supplies and a cake. I made an apron which I was wearing when he got home from work that said, “Bun in the Oven!”  I also made shirts for our two basset hounds; one said brother, the other said sister. The cake that I purchased at our local Wal-Mart bakery was probably the funniest memory of all. I asked the lady behind the counter to write, “You’re going to be a dad!” on the cake. Instead she wrote, “Your gonna be a dad.”  It was the perfect cake wreck. When he stepped through the door, I was wearing the apron, the dogs were wearing their shirts, and the cake was lying on the counter along with the positive tests. Brian’s reaction was, “Wow, so soon?” Yes, so soon. We were well on our way to becoming parents.

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The “your gonna be a dad” cake wreck.

The first few months of the pregnancy were pretty scary for us. Just a few months before, we had suffered a miscarriage, so we really guarded our hearts out of fear of experiencing the same pain. We were thrilled, but very cautiously so. We told only our closest friends and family. We made the decision to wait to share the news with the rest of the world until the end of the first trimester. Thankfully, our cautions weren’t necessary at all.

Unlike many women, I didn’t experience morning sickness. I never felt ill from being pregnant. I did, however, feel extremely bloated. At 9 weeks I was already showing. Clearly this wasn’t from the baby as she was the size of a seed at that point. It was all bloat, but I couldn’t hide my pregnancy for long. I felt her move for the first time at only 13 weeks. I was sitting at my desk at work and felt three little butterfly movements. That was the very moment I became completely comfortable with the idea of getting excited. This was really happening. My baby was really in there.

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My baby bump at only 12 weeks. I showed very quickly!

By the second trimester, things were continuing beautifully. I loved being pregnant and really enjoyed that season of my life. On May 11th,with a room full of her grandparents from both sides, we watched the ultrasound screen scroll over the proof that we would be welcoming a baby girl into our family. I was shocked. I fully believed we’d be having a boy. From the second they said, “It’s a girl!”, she was Lillian. We already had her named weeks before.

At 31 weeks, I began experiencing some pain that would come in waves. Brian is a doctor and knew what I was describing didn’t sound good. He had me call my doctor and they asked me to come in immediately. They discovered that I was already dilated to 1cm and sent me over to the hospital to be monitored. When I was hooked up to the machine, it confirmed that I was having contractions. It was unbelievably scary. The contractions continued, so my doctors decided I would need to be given some medicine to stop them. Thankfully, the medicine worked and I was sent home to rest. Then at 33 weeks, the same thing happened again. Once more, the medicine was able to stop them, but my doctors decided at this point I needed to be on bed rest to ensure that our sweet pea stayed put a little longer. So I quit my job and started my career as a stay at home mom. Bed rest was long and miserable! I didn’t think I’d live through it. Of course, I did! I was given the okay to stop my bed rest at 36 weeks. At this point, we were certain I’d go into labor just any time. Nope! All of that bed rest encouraged her to stay a little longer. I continued my weekly appointments and at each one, I would have dilated a little more.

On September 10th, my doctor felt to discover that I was dilated to 3 ½ cm and had a bulging bag of water. She did a membrane sweep and then sent me home with orders to walk as I felt like it. It wouldn’t be long. I spent that entire day walking. I walked until I thought my feet would fall off. I wanted my baby and I wanted her right then! I went to bed that night sad that there had been no progress. I woke the next morning, watched the news coverage of the 9/11 memorials, and laced up my shoes to start another day of walking. As I did, I felt a hot gush down below. I instantly checked to see what had happened and discovered a little bit of fluid. I picked up the phone to call my mom. She had done this three times; I knew she’d know. I explained to her what had happened and she said, “It should be a little more than a little.”  Just as the words cleared her mouth, I flooded the floor. My water had broken at 8:45 a.m. while I was on the phone with my mom. She quickly hung up to get her things to make the drive to come be with me. I called Brian, who conveniently happened to be in between patients or I wouldn’t have gotten through to him. He said, “Are you serious?” To which I replied, “No honey. I thought I’d just call to interrupt your day. YES! I’m serious!” He left the office immediately to come home and get me. I took a shower and waited for him to get home with the excitement of knowing my baby would be in my arms soon.

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My water had just broken. I was 38 weeks exactly. Brian snapped this picture as we were leaving to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 9:30 a.m. and settled in. We went through all the usual registration and I just relaxed and waited for our parents to get there. After a few hours of very few contractions, my doctors decided to start a low dose of Pitocin to progress the labor. Just a little bit was enough to get me going. I wanted to experience the true pain of contractions and I did. By the time I got to 5cm, I asked for an epidural and have no regrets about doing so. I was relieved. The day continued on and I continued to progress. I spent the day with a room full of family enjoying our time together while we waited. It was perfect. Around 7:30 p.m., I was finally fully dilated and nearly ready to push. My doctor came in and told me it would be time to push within the hour. I lasted about 20 minutes and then made the announcement that I was ready regardless of whether anyone else was or not. I had to push!

Brian had wrestled with the thought of delivering the baby himself for months. In a way he wanted to deliver his own baby, and in another way he wanted to just be dad. At the last minute he decided that he’d be delivering the baby. So with him and my OB at my bottom, my mother and mother-in-law on one side, and my nurse on the other, I labored to deliver our baby into the world. I had to get oxygen a few times, which I hated, but mostly it was such a powerful experience. I worked to deliver her. I wanted my baby in my arms and I knew I’d have to do the work to make it happen. It was amazing having Brian coach me and tell me just what to do. As I was pushing and he was telling me what I needed to do, we’d lock eyes and I knew we were thinking the same things. We were delivering our baby as a team. It was the best experience of my life.

At 8:55 p.m. on 9/11/12, the most precious gift I have ever been given took her first breath and was laid on my chest. I was instantly overwhelmed with love and could barely focus, I was so overjoyed. She peed on my chest and then settled into me and looked up at me with her beautiful eyes.  In that moment, I found my reason for living. I was born to be this little girl’s mother. This is what I’ve searched my whole life to find. She is my purpose. I never really believed in love at first sight, until it happened to me that night. I loved her when she was in my womb, but seeing her, feeling her, holding her, ignited my love like never before. Her daddy and I spent a while loving on her and getting to know her, while her grandmothers watched and shared in the joy. Eventually she was weighed and the baby, who doctors guessed would be around 7 pounds, was a tiny 5.8 lbs and 19 inches long. Then, the rest of the family was allowed in to take a peek at her. Our family was overjoyed. After a while, her blood sugar was a little low, so the nurses took her to work on that. I rested and ate and then she was brought back to me to nurse. She nursed a little and then snuggled into me and fell asleep. That first night with her Daddy curled up on an uncomfortable cot next to us, I held my baby and really got to know her.

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Meeting my baby for the first time.

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Our first family photo.

A year has passed since that night and I don’t even feel like the same person anymore. Lilly has taught me so very much about life.  She’s taught me patience. She’s made me see the sacrifices of my own parents. She’s shown me my own value. She’s taught me unconditional love. Today, Lilly is curious, determined, smart, demanding, fun, sweet and cuddly. At just a year old, she already has a mind of her own and knows just what she wants. She has her Daddy’s beautiful, shimmering eyes, my big lipped grin and both of our hearts. She is our whole world and being her mother is my greatest blessing. So, today, I’m wishing my precious baby a very Happy 1st Birthday. What a year it’s been!

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Newborn Lillian at 9 days old.

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Lillian at one year.

Melody’s Birth Story

I remember when Jude was born, I thought, “I don’t want another baby. Ever. How could I ever love another baby as much as I love him?” Soon enough, even though that fear of not having enough love to give was still present, it wasn’t enough to stop me from wanting another baby. Jude was around six months when I started wanting another one. Chris and I always talked about having at least two babies, and possibly three.  It was just a matter of when. As much as I loved the idea of another baby when Jude was six months old, I knew it would be way too hard to have another one so soon, so we waited.

Holding the positive pregnancy test.

Holding the positive pregnancy test.

On Christmas Eve of 2011, about three weeks after Jude and I returned home from a visit to America to see the family, I took a pregnancy test for the heck of it. I thought it would be incredible if my test came out positive on Christmas Eve, but I didn’t really think it would as I had taken one just a few days before and it was negative. We were Skyping with my family and I excused myself to the bathroom without telling them what I was doing. I told Chris it was positive, but he could already tell from my ecstatic face. Then we got everyone’s attention on webcam (they were excitedly opening Christmas gifts so couldn’t hear us) and announced that I was pregnant and everybody was very happy for us. We got the best Christmas gift ever!

As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I instantly loved the little baby growing inside of me. The excitement I felt for this pregnancy was the same excitement I felt when I was pregnant with Jude. I no longer had that fear of not being able to love a second baby as much as I loved Jude. My heart grew to make room for both of them.

Our baby at 11 weeks.

Our baby at 11 weeks.

On February 9, 2012, we got to hear our baby’s heart beat for the first time and we learned that our official due date was August 30, 2012. The baby looked great, but I was sick as a dog. As much as I loved how I felt during my pregnancy with Jude, I hated how I felt during this pregnancy. Morning sickness…scratch that…all day sickness (!) kicked in pretty much right away. I can probably count on both hands the number of days I didn’t throw up during the whole nine months. The only thing that alleviated my nausea even the tiniest bit was french fries (healthy, right?) and the smell of burning matches. I was so sick during this pregnancy that by the time I gave birth, I had lost 50 pounds.

Chris and I said all along that we didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl. We both thought it would be awesome to have a girl so we could have one of each, but we also thought of how fun it could be to raise two boys. We were so impatient, we decided to go get a special gender ultrasound at a private facility while my mom was visiting in March that year. The first time we went, they couldn’t tell at all because the cord was between the baby’s legs. They let us come back a second time for free, and although they couldn’t tell for sure at that one either, they said they were about 80% sure it was a girl.

Ignore both how awful I look and the mess in the background. Here is a comparison picture of both pregnancies. I was considerably larger during the second pregnancy.

Ignore both how awful I look and the mess in the background. Here is a comparison picture of both pregnancies. I was considerably larger during the second pregnancy.

In April we had a routine developmental ultrasound at the hospital. They couldn’t say if it was a boy or girl either, and they also couldn’t see the heart and stomach as well as they would have liked, so they scheduled another ultrasound for me for two weeks after that. I was 22 weeks along during the second ultrasound and they were able to tell on that one that everything looked great and as it should. Still no confirmation of boy or girl. We were pretty much counting on the fact that it was a girl at this point and we were amused that she wasn’t letting anyone know for sure what she was.

4D ultrasound of our baby girl.  This is almost a profile shot of her face, it looks as though she's resting her head on her arms.

4D ultrasound of our baby girl. This is almost a profile shot of her face, it looks as though she’s resting her head on her arms.

In May I had my routine glucose tolerance test to make sure I didn’t have gestational diabetes. I didn’t have gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Jude, but unfortunately, I had it this time. I had to take insulin three times a day and luckily, this controlled it very well. Another appointment we had in May was for a 4D ultrasound at another private facility so we could get a good look at our baby. They were able to tell us there that 100% we were having a girl! We were thrilled. She instantly became little Melody Isobel. In June I had another routine ultrasound at the hospital. This time they wanted to monitor her size because of my gestational diabetes. By the time all was said and done, I had 7 ultrasounds during this pregnancy!

The onesie that Jude painted for his baby sister.

The onesie that Jude painted for his baby sister.

As Melody’s due date neared, we prepared for her arrival in all the usual ways. We didn’t want Jude to feel neglected while we were so busy with the new baby, so we took time out to make him feel special and loved. Jude knew there was a baby in mummy’s belly, but I don’t think he fully understood what that meant. He painted a onesie for the baby and he was very excited about that. He used to kiss my belly to tell Melody goodnight when he was going to bed. He was sweet as could be!

After much reading and thinking, I decided to have an elective c-section with Melody. With my weight, gestational diabetes, and the fact that I had had an emergency c-section with Jude, it felt too risky to have a VBAC. We went to the hospital early in the morning on August 21, 2012, which also happened to be our third wedding anniversary. It was much different going in for a planned c-section rather than an emergency one. I was so much calmer than when I was rushed back to have Jude. They got me all prepped and numbed, then Chris got to come into the operating room.

Holding my beautiful daughter in recovery shortly after her birth.

Holding my beautiful daughter in recovery shortly after her birth.

The light for the surgeon to see by was tilted in such a way that I was able to see what they were doing. Some people might be grossed out by that, but I thought it was incredibly amazing to be able to see my daughter’s birth that way. I’ll never forget that. At 11:31 AM Melody Isobel was born. She weighed 4 pounds and 12 ounces and was unbelievably tiny and adorable. The first thing I remember saying when they brought her over to us was, “She looks like Jude!”, which is funny because I don’t think she looks much like him anymore. Chris and I were blubbering messes just like we were with Jude. They actually let me hold her while I was still being operated on. Chris helped me so she wouldn’t be in any danger of falling, but she weighed so little and was so tiny that they laid her on my chest and I was able to look at her, talk to her, and rub and kiss her little cheek. She stared at me in wonder and was calm as could be. She’s been pretty calm ever since.
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Something that I should have been told about by my midwife and wasn’t, is that I had low iron. That, coupled with the blood I lost during the surgery, meant I needed a blood transfusion. I had a rough recovery after Melody’s birth, but after several months of being on medication, my iron levels were back to normal and I was finally feeling like myself again. She was totally worth it!

This little girl came into our lives and changed them forever. She’s been a ray of sunshine since she’s been born and I know she’ll continue to be. Jude loves his little sister immensely, and she loves him too. I’ve honestly never seen a happier baby than Melody and we are always getting comments from people about how cheerful she is. I thank God for both of my babies and I know I’ve said it before, but I really can’t believe I’m blessed enough to be their Mummy. When Melody was born, Chris and I both felt like our family was complete and we still feel that way, it’s an awesome feeling! Happy first birthday, Melody. I love you, gorgeous girl!

Proud Daddy!

Proud Daddy!

Jude being introduced to his new sister. He was a little skeptical at first!

Jude being introduced to his new sister. He was a little skeptical at first!

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Jude’s Birth Story

We Three Ladies decided that we would share the birth story for each of our children on their birthdays. As Jude will be turning three in three short days, here is the story of his birth. I’m afraid it’s not a short story, there were a few complications along the way, but luckily everything turned out fabulously in the end.

Chris and I knew from the start that we wanted kids. We weren’t sure whether we wanted two or three, but we knew we wanted to start right away. We were married on August 21, 2009 and we didn’t do anything to prevent a pregnancy from happening, but decided we wouldn’t focus too hard on whether or not I got pregnant right away. A month later, on September 25th, I took a pregnancy test and had a very very faint positive line. It was so faint, I wasn’t sure it was accurate. We were cautiously ecstatic and made an appointment to see my doctor right away.

On October 2, 2009 our doctor confirmed that I was indeed pregnant! We were happy beyond belief and a little surprised that it happened so quickly. Our baby was due to be born on June 8, 2010. I had intimate knowledge from my nearest and dearest of what could go wrong, so I was pretty nervous all throughout the pregnancy, even past the first trimester when most women tend to relax. The process of growing and giving birth to a baby was and still is so unbelievable to me. It’s a miracle that any woman is able to do so successfully.

Our little teddy bear.

Our little teddy bear.

The first ultrasound. Oh boy. As I laid on that table in November and Chris held my hand, we saw our little teddy bear (that’s exactly what he looked like in the first ultrasound) and we both cried tears of joy. His (of course, we didn’t know at the time it was a ‘him’) hand looked like a little circle and as we watched on the screen it looked like he was waving. That ultrasound is when it really became real for me. I think up until that point I had it in my head that the test was wrong and there was no way a baby could be growing inside me. We weren’t able to hear his heart beat at that appointment, but we were able to see it and it was amazing.

We had an appointment towards the beginning of December to hear the heart beat for the first time. They weren’t successful at locating it, which we had been warned about, but it was still disappointing. I’d researched everything enough to know that I shouldn’t be overly worried if they couldn’t find it at that point, but I think it’s still natural to have a bit of worry over it. They tried again just before the new year and it was a success. Jude proved to be difficult throughout the entire pregnancy for locating a heart beat. He was a wiggle worm then and now.

Jude in 3D. They had a hard time getting a shot of his face because he was wiggling and hiding so much.

Jude in 3D. They had a hard time getting a shot of his face because he was wiggling and hiding so much.

On January 27th we learned we were having a baby boy. Up until then we both thought we were having a girl (Chris even spoke in his sleep one night telling me that Emma was crying and that it was his turn to go to her. He started to get out of bed before I woke him up, it was quite funny) so we were surprised to hear boy. We knew we’d be overjoyed whatever the sex was. We had his name picked out since before we even got married so we knew right away he was Jude.

In April, they did another ultrasound to monitor Jude’s size due to the fact that I was overweight. They discovered during this ultrasound that he was breech so they scheduled an appointment for an ECV (external cephalic version) where they would attempt to turn him. By the time I went for the ECV he had already turned himself around and was in the correct position so they didn’t end up doing anything.

I watched my due date come and go. In the UK they won’t intervene with your pregnancy until you’re 42 weeks along unless it’s medically necessary. I was still fairly comfortable and I was happy being pregnant so this didn’t bother me too much. I was anxious to meet him, of course. I also had family flying in from Michigan that my husband was going to pick up from the airport and their arrival date clashed with my induction date, so I was really hoping Jude would come on his own before that date arrived. He didn’t. Chris and I arrived at the hospital at 9:30 pm on June 21st so they could start my induction.

41 weeks pregnant.

41 weeks pregnant. Sad face because I’m anxious to meet my baby boy!

They started by administering a pill to induce my labor. I’m not sure what the name of the pill was, but through Google searching I believe it was Cervidil. This was supposed to be a gradual process, so they wouldn’t let Chris stay with me. I knew that beforehand, but it still terrified me and I was heartbroken he couldn’t stay. They assured me that if the pill worked quickly, they would call him immediately and he could return for the birth. I didn’t get any sleep that night. I tossed and turned, I read a book, I took a shower, I called Chris a lot. I was too wound up and anxious to sleep!

5 am rolled around and I started having contractions. I’ve heard that contractions are a lot worse if you’re induced. I don’t have anything to compare this to since my second child was born by cesarean, but let me just say that contractions with natural labor can’t get much worse. The pain was incredible. Chris and my mom arrived at the hospital at 8 am on the dot, which was the earliest the hospital would allow. I was contracting, but I wasn’t dilating. They ended up breaking my water for me. That was an interesting experience. Without getting too graphic, I’ll just tell you they use a device that resembles a crochet hook. They put a clip right on Jude’s head so they could monitor his heart rate (remember how I told you it was always difficult to get a read on his heart rate?). I don’t know if you know this, but there are two bags of water in your uterus during pregnancy. I’m not sure if it’s two bags in all women, or just some, but I had two. They broke one bag and they were going to let the other go on its own. They gave me another dose of Cervidil that afternoon and then I got up to take a walk around the hospital and try to get things going.

My sister and her family had arrived from Michigan at this point and while they weren’t allowed to come back to the labor ward, I was allowed to go out and meet them. They were on their way to the hospital by taxi so my mom, Chris, and I all went out to sit on a bench in front of the hospital and wait. While I was out there waiting, I felt a strange sensation and knew it was my second bag of water breaking. Chris and I walked back inside so I could change, but I noticed the water didn’t look how I expected it to so I paged for a midwife. They quickly identified that mixed with the water was meconium, the baby’s first bowel movement. Typically this happens after birth, but sometimes it can occur in utero and it can be dangerous for the baby. They sent me to a delivery room right away.  Luckily, they broke protocol and allowed my sister to come back and see me for a few minutes, so I was able to give her a hug after not seeing her for almost a year, and she was able to see me while I was pregnant, which we didn’t think would happen. Once I was in the delivery room, they went ahead and gave me my epidural. Although I was still only dilated to a 2 at this point and they don’t normally give epidurals that early, they said they could see on the monitor just how strong my contractions were so they were going to do it anyway. The epidural was heavenly. I knew from the start that I was going to opt for the epidural and I have no regrets (had I not had the epidural, I wouldn’t have been able to be awake to see my son being born. More on that later!). They wheeled in some scary looking machinery for the baby, but they said it was all just precautions due to the meconium. Chances were good that after he was born they would be able to successfully suction the meconium away from his face before his first breath so he wouldn’t breathe any into his lungs, thus avoiding any danger.

Having a contraction outside of the hospital while waiting for my sister and nieces to arrive.

Having a contraction outside of the hospital while waiting for my sister and nieces to arrive. I love the, “What do I do?” expression on Chris’ face here. He and my mom had that expression a lot that day, haha.

Things were progressing normally; my mom, Chris, and I were all in the delivery room chatting and joking, I was comfortable now that I had the epidural, and I had a pitocin drip to speed things along. Then Jude’s heart rate started to lower. They had me turn onto my side and that brought it back up to a normal rate. I laid that way for a while and they stopped the pitocin drip and his heart rate stayed normal. I turned back onto my back and they started the pitocin again and his heart rate lowered, so they stopped it again. In England, your pregnancy and labor is overseen by midwives unless you have any complications. Once Jude’s heart rate started fluctuating so drastically, they brought the doctor in to talk to me. They started the pitocin again and monitored me for a half hour. Same thing was happening, his heart rate was normal if I was on my side, but lowered when I turned back around. The doctor came back and said they could continue to monitor me for another half hour or they could do an emergency cesarean. The choice was up to me, but she said she didn’t honestly believe things would improve in the half hour. I told them right away to do what is safest for the baby so they brought me papers to sign for the emergency c-section.

I said right from the beginning of my pregnancy that I thought it would end in a c-section. I don’t know why, and you’ll probably think I’m crazy for saying so, but I just had a feeling. So considering that, it seems that I’d have been calm in the situation, yes? No, I wasn’t calm at all. I think it was because as soon as I signed the papers things went from a calm, monitor-the-situation pace, to a frantic, let’s-get-her-to-the-operating-room-stat pace. They wheeled me back to the operating room after I kissed Chris goodbye. He was going to have to change into scrubs and then once I was all set up on the operating table they’d bring him in. I was terrified they’d forget him and in my frantic state I must have asked them about 20 times if they had forgotten him. They kindly kept reassuring me that he would be there before they started.

They administered a spinal anesthetic for the c-section through my epidural line as I was being wheeled toward the OR. Had I not had the epidural already in place, they would have had to put me to sleep. Once there, I had to try to slide over to the operating table from my bed. That was a fun task. My legs were already so numb I couldn’t feel them so I had a hard time with this, but the nurses helped me. Once I was on the table the anesthesiologist told me that they had to tip the table because of Jude’s heart rate and that it would feel as though I were falling because of how numb I was, but not to worry because they were holding onto me. Even though I heard this and I believed him, I still panicked once the table started rotating. I muttered over and over, “I’m falling, I’m falling!” And he kindly kept reassuring me I wasn’t. I had a bad reaction to the spinal anesthetic; my face felt like it was on fire, I was shaky, and I was more panicked than I had been. I am thankful for the doctors who successfully performed my c-section and brought my son into the world that day, but I didn’t speak much with the doctors.  I did speak with the anesthesiologist and his team and I am beyond grateful for what they did as well. I don’t know what I would have done without them there and I ended up sending a thank you card to them afterward. They were the sweetest people and they were the ones who finally managed to calm me down before Chris came back to the OR. They were my Chris replacement at the time. I know it couldn’t have been an easy task to calm me down that day and I appreciate it immensely.

My mom holding Jude shortly after he was born.

My mom holding Jude shortly after he was born.

Jude was born at 8:02 pm on June 22, 2010 weighing 7 pounds and 4 ounces. There was a space of a few minutes that felt like a few hours between when they pulled him out of me and when he first cried. The reason for that is that they rushed him over to a separate area to clear the meconium from his face so he wouldn’t breathe it in. We finally heard him start crying and to this day that cry (and his sister’s cry when she was born) is the best sound I’ve ever heard in my life. It was like a remote control to our emotions because as soon as we heard it, we both started sobbing like basket cases. They brought him over and Chris held him up to me so I could see him and kiss him and I had never seen such a beautiful little creature in my life.

35435_1519026136304_3085835_nThey finished my operation and I went to recovery. They allowed my mom to come back (which was against their rules) so she could see him since it was late and visiting hours on the maternity ward were over so she wouldn’t have been able to see him there after we left recovery. We weren’t allowed to have a camera in the delivery room so the first pictures of Jude were taken in recovery when my mom brought our camera to us. After spending some time in recovery and bonding with Jude, they moved me onto the maternity ward. They let Chris stay with me for a half hour or an hour once I was on the ward, but then they made him leave. I was so nervous and I hated that Chris couldn’t stay overnight with me. I couldn’t do anything for Jude because I was still numb and had the epidural and catheter in. If he cried, I had to page for a midwife to come help me. They 35435_1519025936299_4359668_nwere very helpful that first night (wish I could say the same for the night after) and they took him to the nursery at one point so I could sleep. I was in and out of it from the drugs and I remember whenever I’d wake up, I’d hear a baby screaming its head off. Turns out that was Jude. They brought him back to me in the morning when I was more with it and I had some bonding time alone with him before visiting hours began again and Chris was allowed to return.

We brought him home on the 24th of June and started this crazy adventure of parenthood. It’s hard to believe this all happened 3 years ago. It’s a blessing to be his “Mummy” and I thank God for him every day. Chris and I will still look at each other sometimes and say, “I can’t believe we had a hand in making him!” I’m not sure that element of disbelief will ever go away.

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Ian’s Birth Story

So I’m a few days late on my usual Friday post, but I have a couple of reasons. As you probably read on Ashley’s update post a few days ago, Lisa had an accident Tuesday morning that left her immobilized for a few days. Luckily I was in KY and able to help out (more on her fall in a later post). That meant taking care of her and Ms. Lilly, along with my two boys, for a few days. Naturally, that was a full time job and left little time to prepare a blog post. Also, my little guy is turning three today and Friday was spent preparing for his birthday party on Saturday. In light of his birthday today, I thought it would be a good time to share his birth story.

After two years of marriage, Colin and I decided we wanted to have a baby in July of 2009 and I quit taking my pills. We went to Jamaica with friends, hoping it would be our last pre-baby vacation.

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We found out I was pregnant on August 8th and were given a due date of April 17th. I had only been off of the pill for three weeks. We were shocked that it happened so quickly, but we were ecstatic!

At my first OB appointment, my doctor did an ultrasound and we were able to see our little bean for the first time. I can remember lying there with tears rolling down my face after hearing his little heartbeat for the first time. I was unable to fully grasp at the moment that that little heartbeat would become my whole world, but I knew it was something special. Based on his measurements at that time, my due date was moved up to April 12th. He was already looking big!

I was fortunate to have a very easy pregnancy with Ian. I had no morning sickness; only one bout of vomiting brought on by the smell of the flamingos at the Cincinnati zoo. I felt great the entire time and by my 20 week appointment, I had not gained any weight. I was eating healthier and feeling better than I had before I was pregnant. At my 20 week, I had another ultrasound to check for any problems with the baby. We were able to see his heart and brain and he actually looked like a real baby. Everything looked perfect! It was also at this point that we found out we were having a boy. We left the doctor’s office that day and went straight to Babies R Us to by a few little boy clothes. We were so happy!

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The rest of the second trimester passed easily, much as the first had. I still hadn’t gained any weight, but I was getting huge! By 25 weeks, I looked like I was at least 32 weeks pregnant. It was at my 28 week appointment that my doctor really started taking note of how big I was getting. When we went in for that routine appointment, I measured a whopping five weeks ahead of schedule. To make sure all was well, she decided to do another ultrasound. Luckily, the baby looked fine, but he was definitely a big boy. 🙂

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My third trimester is when I finally started gaining weight. I gained 25 pounds with Ian and pretty much all of it came in the last eight weeks. By the time I hit the 38 week mark, I was miserable. My maternity clothes were even too small, I was still working every day, and the usual pregnancy symptoms of back pain and sleepless nights were definitely present. At my 38 week appointment, I was already dilated to two and I went home and started walking every evening in hopes of getting things started. Every day, I would go to work and my coworkers would walk by my desk just to see if I was still there. I was. None of us could believe that I still hadn’t had him.

At my 39 week appointment, I was dilated to three and my doctor was starting to worry about the size of the baby and my chances for an uncomplicated birthing process. She sent me for yet another ultrasound and scheduled an induction for two days later if I hadn’t had him by then. At that ultrasound, he measured 10 pounds and 5 oz. I’m not going to lie. At this point, I was starting to get nervous!

On April 7th, I showed up at the hospital at 6 a.m. ready to get things rolling. They took me to a room, put me in a bed, and proceeded to spend the next few hours just trying to get an IV hooked up so they could start the pitocin to get the contractions going. I have terrible veins. They do their job nicely, but seem to have a problem when someone tries to stick a needle in them. Finally, after 2 1/2 hours and a lot of numbing medicine, they called the anesthesiologist. He was finally able to get the IV. By this point, another doctor from the practice I had been going to came in to check on things. He had just reviewed the ultrasound and to my horror told me that that he was glad the pitocin hadn’t yet been started because he really thought I needed to have a C-section due to the size of the baby. He performed a pelvic exam, explained the risks of both a C-section and a vaginal birth and left it up to me, only saying that if i went forward with a vaginal delivery, i would most likely end up in a c-section situation anyway. I bawled like a baby. In hindsight, I wish I had still tried to have a vaginal delivery, but at the time, I was just too scared that something would happen to Ian. So I signed all of the papers and at 3:30 I was wheeled into the operating room, having never even had a recognizable contraction.

At 4:00 pm on the dot, Ian was born. He was absolutely perfect, weighing in at an even 9 pounds and 21 inches long. My heart was gone in that moment.

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People say that your life is forever changed when you have a child and you always know that it must be true. Until I’d been through it, though, I didn’t really grasp the enormity of that statement. You’re with that child 100%, even when you aren’t physically with them. The thought of life without them is heart stopping and gut wrenching. They bring an entirely new complexity to your life that you never could have imagined. I stopped living for myself that day and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My happiest moments have been at the hands of my little Ian. He’s a funny, charming, precocious three year old and his smile and energy light up my world. I feel so incredibly blessed that I get to be his Mommy and I thank God for making him mine.

Happy Birthday, Baby. Mommy loves you!

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