Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coming into this World

Hannah's arrival into this world certainly was not how I pictured it would be but I wouldn't change a thing about it because we both made it through the process healthy and safe. Troy has said since we learned that we were having a girl that she would make her arrival on her terms like most women in my family approach things (ahem!). Hannah did just that indeed. (I'm not going to leave out any details below so be prepared for some graphic content and a long blog.)

Our story begins at exactly 3 pm on Thursday, December 22. I was taking a nap on the couch and woke up to a trickle and thought there's no way I just went to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom and sure enough discovered that my water had broken. I had been having a few contractions throughout the morning but nothing consistent or "painful" (it's all relative people). My mom had gone out to run some errands and of course Troy was at work although they were getting out early for Christmas at 3. Luke was taking a nap. I immediately called Troy and said, "My water just broke. I'm not kidding." His reply, "I'm on my way." We talked for maybe 15 seconds, which in hindsight I find kind of funny. I then called my mom and told her to which she said she would be home as soon as she could. I continued to stay in the bathroom because well my water had broken so you can imagine what that means.

My mom was home about 3:15 and Troy was home about 3:25. I have to say that they seemed more panicked than I felt. But that was before my contractions started coming. They came on fast though. I would say by 3:40 I was having one every 5 minutes if not closer together. Troy and I gathered the last of our things and left the house about 4. About 10 minutes down the road I realized I forgot my purse with my wallet and that I also didn't have the phone number to call the midwife (yeah I know, great things to forget). I insisted that Troy turn around so we could go back to get them. Let's just say he was less than pleased with me because I was squeezing the daylights out of his hand every 5 minutes with my contractions.

Fast forward to our arrival at the hospital around 4:45. I guess first of all the rest of the car ride there was uneventful after turning around. We checked in and the nurse checked me. I was surprised to only be at a 3. I figured with the length and intensity of my contractions I would be further along. We were then in the triage check-in room for what seemed like forever. Troy tells me it was about an hour. My goal of not having an epidural until I was 5-6 cm was out the window at this point and I had already requested to have one when I got to the labor and delivery room. My contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting at least a minute. I was very proud of myself for remaining relatively relaxed and breathing through them by either looking at Troy or at this tiny little hole in the wall. Troy later told me that he was watching the baby's heart rate through my contractions and was slightly concerned at how low it was dipping. He didn't want to worry me at that point and also wasn't sure he was understanding the monitors correctly. Troy did a wonderful job comforting me during this period but I could see in his eyes that he didn't like watching me be in pain.

We got to the labor and delivery room around 6:15. I was so happy to have moved out of the triage room--I had had a very hard time getting comfortable in that bed and had basically sat on the edge of it because I couldn't stand because of the pain as well. In the labor and delivery room I sat on the birthing ball immediately and starting rocking back and forth. The relief was truly wonderful. Because I was positive for the Strep B virus, I was started on antibiotics immediately. Since I had already requested the epidural it was also not too long in coming although I'm not exactly sure when I got it--I would guess about 7:15. Getting the epidural was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be (again all relative). I started to feel relief almost immediately on my left side but it didn't take right away on the right. Let me tell you that's a very strange feeling. For some reason my IV was also being difficult and not flowing properly. Thankfully they didn't ever have to redo it (I hate getting IVs). I was also grateful that after a small adjustment it appeared that my epidural was starting to kick in on the right side about 9.

Throughout all of the above, the nurses were showing some concern about the baby's heart rate. At first she was handling the contractions very well and then something changed and she wasn't tolerating them as well. The nurses were constantly having me change positions to see if she would like a different position better. Troy and I were also concerned at this point because we were both watching the monitors and could see the heart rate decelerations of the baby. We said several prayers and asked for the healthy delivery of our baby girl.

About 9:15, Dawn the midwife on call, came in the room because she was concerned about the baby's heart rate. She explained that she hadn't checked my progress again because they were waiting to get the second round of antibiotics started and she wanted to reduce the amount of potential infection introduced. She also explained that if the baby continued at this rate she would most likely check me early and there was a chance the baby wouldn't tolerate labor to delivery and I could have a repeat c-section. This thought had already crossed my mind and it didn't scare me; my only concern was the health of the baby. As I said, Troy and I had been watching the heart rate monitor and it was scaring me more at this point. Her heart rate would vary between over 100 and as low as 55ish (that's very, very low for a baby).

About 10 minutes later Dawn decided to go ahead and check me. I watched her face the whole time. I knew there was something wrong when her brow furrowed and she looked at the nurse and said she wasn't sure what she had felt. She checked again and decided that it was the baby's forehead and nose. This is definitely not a normal presentation and was concerning. I asked if there was any way to turn her and she said she didn't think so but she would check with the OB on call. She also told me I was at 5 cm and 90% effaced--still quite a way to go with all of these concerns.

Dawn came back after consulting with the OB and said they didn't want to try and turn her for a couple of reasons. One, my water was already broken and there was no cushion for the baby and the umbilical cord and two, they were concerned about damaging the nerves in her neck. At that point I asked how concerned to be. I didn't get a very straight answer, which made me worry even more. I then asked when a decision would be made about a c-section. She said we would know the answer much sooner rather than later.

I don’t think either of us realized how soon it would really be. The baby’s heart rate continued to decelerate and stay low for too long. Things started happening super fast at this point. The OB on call came in along with the several other people that I don't know whom they were. Dawn had been having me change positions almost every minute to find one the baby would tolerate better. It wasn't working. She looked at me and apologized and said this wasn't going to work. I was okay with that but I broke down because I was so concerned about the baby. One of the nurses gave me a shot to stop my contractions since the decision had been made to move onto a c-section. Once the contractions slowed down the baby's heart rate settled down a bit and she was doing better. Finally, we had some positive news on that front.

The new concern became my epidural. I wasn't 100% convinced it was completely working on the right side. If it wasn't working completely they would have to put me out during the surgery. I definitely did not want this nor did Troy since he wouldn't be allowed in the operating room at that point. The anesthesiologist added a bunch of drugs to my epidural and Troy got into his scrubs. Troy and I said good-bye and I was wheeled off to the operating room.

Can I say that lying on a table exposed to a whole bunch of people you don’t know isn’t a feeling I enjoy in the slightest (who does, right)? The doctors were just waiting to make sure that the right side of my epidural was working properly at this point. Once they determined that it was, Troy was able to join me in the room. I have to say I was beyond grateful that I did not have to be put to sleep. Compared to my delivery with Luke, one of my only expectations that I really did not want to give up on for this delivery was that I be able to have immediate contact with our baby girl. I truly felt that as long as I could have that I would be okay with how this delivery played out (aside from us both being okay, obviously). One other side note about having a c-section—having a spinal is 1000 times better than having an epidural. The amount of pressure you feel with an epidural as compared to the spinal is unbelievable. It’s not painful but quite uncomfortable.

As soon as Troy was in the room and seated by my head, the c-section got started. Throughout the surgery, I was shivering constantly. My body didn’t like the drugs very well and they were making me very tense. That magically disappeared when the doctors announced that it was getting close. Troy and I were so excited to meet our baby!

Finally our baby girl was here! She didn’t cry right away which made me a bit nervous but then she let out a large wail and I knew everything was okay. As she was delivered one of the doctors said that the umbilical cord was around her neck twice and also around an armpit once. There was no way she would have come out vaginally. As I mentioned before, she was definitely doing things on her terms.

Hannah Elizabeth Johnson arrived Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces at a length of 20 inches.

Troy went to watch the nurses take care of her while they continued to work on me. In a few minutes Troy brought the camera over with a couple of pictures for me to see—my first look at our beautiful daughter. Of course, Hannah was perfect.

In only a few more minutes, Troy was able to carry her over to me where I was able to give her a kiss and gaze into her eyes. Absolute pure love and joy!

The doctors continued to finish the surgery and the nurses finished cleaning up Hannah. Dawn was sitting with me this whole time while Troy watched over Hannah. Dawn was also very kind to take a bunch of pictures of Troy and Hannah along with all 3 of us. I will treasure these as we only have a couple from Luke’s delivery.

Finally the doctors finished up with the surgery. We were ready to head back to our recovery room. Another great joy for me was carrying Hannah from the operating room back to our room. I was so happy to have her in my arms. I know I gazed at her and saw nothing else for a long time!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hannah Elizabeth is here!

Hannah Elizabeth Johnson arrived December 22 at 10:22 pm weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces at a length of 20 inches. She is absolutely beautiful and such a joy to our hearts! Many, many blog posts to follow of her birth story and her first few days of life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another Preggo Update

I am still pregnant.
I am done being pregnant.
I am beyond ready for this
sweet little girl to be here.
I want to be comfortable again.
I want to be able to hold my daughter.
I want to give her tons of hugs and kisses.
I am very grateful my mom is here helping me out this week.
I am bummed that Luke has a sinus infection and bronchitis.
I am convinced that our daughter will not be here until Monday when I
am induced (I was 2 1/2 cm dilated today at my appt with no other changes).

The End.

(No I didn't plan for this to look like a Christmas Tree but that's pretty cool.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

40 Weeks

So today is my due date and no baby yet. My body has been doing tons of stuff the last few days to suggest that labor isn't too far away. I've been encouraging all of these things although I have to say they're not all comfortable. As this will be the first time my body has ever gone through labor it is like having a first child and thus going past your due date is quite common.

Let me say that having a child at 34 1/2 weeks and now reaching 40 weeks is a huge difference. There is no question that this time around is much, much better for the baby and I but man when women say the last few weeks of pregnancy are uncomfortable they aren't kidding. I am very ready for this baby girl to arrive but know she'll come when she's ready.

And if she still isn't ready by next Monday, the 26th, my midwife is going to induce me. That will be 8 days past my due date and she doesn't want me to go further than 10 days past my due date. I really would like to avoid this outcome. Only time will tell.

Not only is today my due date but it is also Troy's birthday. He was truly wishing that he would be able to share his birthday with his daughter but unless I have an incredibly fast labor within the next 7 1/2 hours that wish won't be granted. I would have no objections to a fast labor but I'm not holding my breath.

Here's a picture of the banner on my blog showing the countdown to my due date. I just thought it would fun to see this at a later date.

December Daily: 12-17

We have a tradition around here that at some point during December we go see The Nutcracker. It's a tradition that Troy and I started when we were in Houston 7 years ago. We haven't missed a year since then until this year. There's obviously no way to really plan around having a baby and we decided it wasn't worth the risk of not being able to go after buying tickets. I know that was the right decision but I really missed going this year. It is probably one of my most favorite traditions we have. Last year was the first time we took Luke. We were only able to stay for the first half of the performance because it's not exactly something to hold a 2 year olds attention for long. It was fun to be able to take him for at least part of it though. I'm really looking forward to next year when Luke should be able to stay for the whole performance. I don't anticipate taking baby girl for a few years but what a joy it will be for me to be able to go with Troy and BOTH kids in the years to come :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pregnancy Update

I currently have 3 days until my due date. That's great news! I don't think she has any plans of coming before then though--not such great news. I'm not upset about this (okay maybe a little) but I was really hoping for more progress at my midwife appointment yesterday. I was the same as last week other than she's dropped a little bit more (I knew that though because of the way I felt). I was so confident that I would have made some progress because of all of the braxton hicks contractions and even a few "real" contractions that I've been having. Nope.

Okay, so what's the plan? Well, I'm doing everything (almost) that anyone suggests to help kick start labor. I would really like to help this baby make an appearance before Christmas. If she is stubborn and hasn't come by the early morning of the 26th I will be induced. I'm not happy or excited or looking forward to that in the slightest other than the joy of her being here then. First of all it's not a great thing to be induced when you're attempting a vbac and second of all I have heard lots of bad stories about induction and the amount of time they can take. I would appreciate any and all good thoughts, wishes and prayers that I can avoid an induction--thank you. I'll continue to keep you updated.

December Daily: 12-15

I'm sure most of you have heard of the Elf on the Shelf. Our elf first made an appearance last year. My sister and I named him Dobby--yes that's a reference to Harry Potter. He has been around this year since right after Thanksgiving. This was his location a couple of nights ago. Luke saw him at breakfast the next morning and was ever so excited that Dobby was looking down on him from the lights. Tuesday afternoon Luke told me that Dobby was going to have to tell Santa that he hadn't been very good that day. It had been a rough day on both of us and I agreed with Luke. I was glad to know that Luke understands the concept of Dobby. Unfortunately Dobby is not having quite as much influence on Luke's behavior as I would like but it is a fun tradition and Luke enjoys looking for him each morning.

Monday, December 12, 2011

39 Weeks

So, hopefully this is my last weekly post about pregnancy. Troy and I both think that my belly is really poking out now. We are also both ready for her to be here and have told her that she is very welcome anytime.

A quick sidenote: If I had decided to stick with having a c-section, today would have been her birthday. It would have been a completely different day for all of us.

I don't have much to say about the past few days other than my braxton hicks contractions have definitely picked up. Yesterday I had them all day with a few periods of no activity. Today they didn't start until about 3 but haven't let up since. I'm hoping this means true labor isn't far away. Last week at my midwife appointment I was 1 1/2 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Hooray for progress. Let's hope for a bunch more at my Wednesday appointment this week.

Troy and I did go to a refresher birthing class on Saturday. We only made it through 2 of 6 before I was in the hospital with Luke so we thought it would be good to get more info and be on the same page a bit more with everything. There was a lot of focus on relaxation techniques for during labor and how to manage the pain. We are both really glad to have gone.

December Daily: The Weekend

So rather than do several posts for each day this past weekend I'm just going to do one because I don't have a ton to report really and I'm tired.

12-9: Friday was a tough day for Luke (we've been having a bunch of tough days actually but that's another post). In an effort to help him feel a bit more important and that things are normal we decided to go to a movie Friday night. We went to see "Arthur Christmas." It was a cute story and we all enjoyed it but Luke thought there were a few scary parts. I know that seeing a movie isn't exactly quality time together but Luke loves to go to the movies and eat popcorn and we probably won't be able to go for a while.

12-10: Most of the day Troy and I were in a birthing refresher course. A big thank you to Patrick and Ashley for watching Luke all day. We had another favorite of Luke's for dinner--pancakes! Luke also ate some scrabbled eggs and enjoyed them for the first time! After dinner we went for a long drive to look at Christmas lights. Luke is really enjoying the lights this year. In fact he was quite upset when we pulled into the garage and told him it was close to bedtime.

12-11: Yesterday was a family day at home. The biggest story of the day was the awesome train track Luke and Troy (mostly Dad) put together. Luke has gone through several phases of enjoying and taking a break from his trains. We're currently on a long stretch of enjoyment. He loves to direct the trains on what jobs to do and making sure they all get around the track safely.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend as well :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Daily: 12-8

Luke brought home 2 different art projects from MDO this week. He is always so excited to share them with both Troy and I. As you can see these are Christmas projects. Amazingly enough the "snow" flakes and sequins are actually sticking to the tree. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE having new art to hang on the fridge every week? So much fun :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Daily: 12-5

Monday afternoon after Luke woke up from his nap we decorated Graham Cracker houses. I found the idea to use graham crackers on Pinterest along with an awesome "glue." It's melted brown sugar and it works perfectly. I put the houses together, made the frosting and got the decorations ready while Luke was sleeping. When he woke up we got to work. Luke really had a great time. I also think he did an awesome job decorating his house. My favorite part: he came up with the idea for the peppermint tree in the front :) After we finished with his I had my turn which I enjoyed just as much if not more than Luke did. After dinner Troy took our picture to show off our creative skills. This is the first time we have done this and I will definitely be making a tradition out of it :)
A quick side note: Luke loves to wear the Santa hat. He's had it on almost daily since we got out the Christmas decorations. I love it!!!

December Daily: 12-4

On Sunday afternoon we went out to run some errands. We made a quick stop at Bass Pro so that Luke could visit Santa Claus. They offer free pictures which is fantastic. The line was a little long but it moved quickly. We figured out that was because basically the kids don't really say anything to Santa; they just sit on his lap long enough for the picture to be taken, for Santa to say Merry Christmas and give the kids a candy cane. Luke didn't mind though--I'm not sure he would have said anything to Santa even if he had asked what he wanted for Christmas. Troy and I did practice that with him on the way there though. His reply, "A helicopter, an airplane, a shirt and some jeans." I have no idea why he added the clothes in there but that's what Luke said. He's such a funny guy.

38+ Weeks

Only 11 days until my due date! I don't have much to add this week as compared to last week other than I'm more ready. I feel like the baby has dropped more so maybe she's getting more ready too. I have had lots of different feelings this past week and I hope that means my body is continuing to do what it needs to. My weekly appointment is not until tomorrow so we'll see.

I will say that sleeping is definitely getting harder and she is loving her middle of the night, 2:30 am, and early morning, 6:30 am, dance sessions. Ashley commented yesterday that those would be good feeding times and a great schedule for her to stay on--she's probably right but me being up in the middle of the night is always a hard thing to accept in my head :)

Oh, one other note. Almost every person I talk to asks when I'm due. When I respond 2 weeks they all look surprised. Everyone says how small I am. I understand that is a good thing but I have to tell you I don't feel small in the slightest bit. I am really proud of myself for not gaining so much weight this time--hopefully that means it will go away faster.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nursery

This morning I finished organizing the baby's room. There wasn't much to do but I put the sheet on the crib and hung the alphabet on the wall and a couple other small things. It's not completely finished because we still need a chair (it will go where the bouncer and playmat are) and I also need to hang her name on the wall above the crib but I can't do that yet because that's a surprise still. I would also like to make some artwork but I'm not sure when or if that will happen and I would also like to get a couple of nice things to put on the shelf on the wall. For now though it's ready and waiting for her arrival!

December Daily: 12-3

This is in no way holiday related but we love it! I have no idea how it started either. Rather than asking for a tissue/Kleenex Luke tells us he has "buggars." It probably shouldn't be funny but it's hilarious for Troy and I. We absolutely love the way he says it so we keep encouraging it. Troy said this morning that he's going to learn a lot worse and this one is pretty innocent so it's okay. Enjoy!
video

PS-We did drive around last night after dinner to look at Christmas lights. Luke loved telling us all the colors he saw.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Daily: 12-2

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Fridays for Luke and I have become quiet, chill days at home unless we go meet Troy at his office for lunch. We typically stay in our pj's for most of the day and just do whatever it is that Luke wants (it's usually necessary after 2 days of MDO without naps and I don't mind).

For some reason, yesterday morning the realization that Luke and I would not have these days together anymore hit me really hard. Sure we can still have days at home but it won't be just the two of us anymore. It makes me sad. I'm in no way saying this change is bad but it will now be three of us at home. I cherish my time with Luke and know that I will miss it. I know there will be new routines to cherish and memories and traditions to make and enjoy but the days of my munchkin and I together in our pj's are quickly coming to an end.

Because of my realization, I made a point to enjoy every second of yesterday. Luke sensed that I was upset and made a point of giving me several hugs and kisses throughout the day. He also allowed me to snuggle with him on the couch for a long time while we watched Dinosaur Train. Before lunch we made Rice Krispy Treats. As Luke was stirring the cereal with the marshmallows he asked me if we could add M&M's. He was very excited when I told that was a fantastic idea. Truth be told he probably could have asked me for the moon and the way I was feeling I would have found a way to get it for him. We also built a new train track which I haven't done for a while (bending over hasn't been at the top of the list for me lately). None of these things are super duper exciting but we had a great time together and isn't that the whole point--enjoying the simple, quiet moments? I have no doubt that's the point. With all my heart, I love you Munchkin!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily: 12-1

So, I'm going to try and undertake another project from Ali Edwards for the month of December. I tried it last year and wasn't successful. You're thinking, I'm about to have another baby why do I think I could be successful this year? Well, because instead of using real paper and other scrapbooking supplies I'm going to just use my blog and write it out and upload pictures.

So, what's the idea behind this project? It's called December Daily. It's about capturing memories on a daily basis throughout the month of December whether they are holiday related or not. By no means do I think I'll get something recorded every day (another reason I feel I can be somewhat successful). I am going to do my best though to try for hopefully 4 posts a week.

The other factor to this project is not to record your whole day (like I did with A Week in the Life this summer). You pick just one idea, quote, picture, moment to expand on for the day and then you're done. You generally can't choose that until the end of the day so I'm thinking I will do a post either right before I go to bed or sometime the next day. That's what today's post is--a story about yesterday.

December 1
Last year my mom sent Luke an advent calendar that you follow on the computer each day. It was a great source of joy and entertainment for Luke. He would sing the songs and toward the end of the month he would request his favorite days animations. Not only did we have to watch every single day (1 through whatever the current day was) each day but we had to watch several days multiple times throughout the day. Needless to say my mom sent me this year's calendar last week.

I didn't tell Luke that she had sent it because it wasn't December yet and I knew he would want to start it right away. It's set up so that you can't see ahead. Well on Monday he saw the icon on my computer screen. He was SUPER excited about it and couldn't understand why we couldn't do anything with it yet. I tried to explain that it wasn't December yet but that just didn't cut it. He was constantly asking me about it through the week.

Fortunately yesterday morning we had enough time to watch the first day before he went to school. Well, that wasn't satisfying enough because he could see all the other days and wanted them to play too. I told him that we would get to watch a new one every day until Christmas arrived. He wasn't happy about that but eventually accepted it. I think that after we got home yesterday afternoon he watched it repeatedly for at least 10 times (he knows how to move the mouse around and click where he's supposed to).

This is really a fun, interactive calendar. The creator is British and the scene this year is set in London. If you would like to check it out, go here.