Friday, August 18, 2017

1 month old Evan update + stats

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Today Evan is really one month and thirteen days old, but these pictures were actually taken on his one month birthday, so... I call that a win! :)

Other than including his birth stats in his birth story, I have yet to record his other weigh ins. So here we go:

Birth:
weight: 7 lbs 2 oz
height: 20 inches

2 days:
weight: 6 lbs 10 oz  (24th percentile)
height: 20 inches (69th percentile)
head circumference: 13.7 inches (64th percentile) 

2 weeks:
weight: 7 lbs 8 oz (50th/51st percentile)
height: 21.5 inches (98th percentile)
head circumference: 14 inches (67th percentile)


I'd be lying if I said Evan was an easy baby. Adorable and chunky? You betcha. Easy and go with the flow? Not at all. His demeanor is generally pretty grumpy due to some stomach/reflux issues. His wants/fixes are simple, but simple isn't always easy or even realistic. If he had his way he would stay latched on (to me) 24/7, but seeing how that's impossible and that he ardently despises pacifiers, little man just has to grump a little bit throughout the day. I have never believed in baby swings- we have never owned one because the girls hardly cried (especially Ellie). This is not the case with Evan. If he's not in my arms exclusively, asleep or latched on, he let's the world know his dissatisfaction. Out of desperation our friends let us borrow their baby swing until their baby (due in October) is born. It has been a life saver! I had been struggling to keep up with anything or frankly do anything because I was permanently feeding Mr Evan or soothing him in some way, but let's be honest, mostly feeding/pacifying him haha. Getting just a couple hours to do the dishes, laundry, feed the girls etc. has now become a luxury. I kid around that if Evan were my first baby I would be a basket case, but seeing how I'm three kids in, I'd say I'm pretty well seasoned at this point. I am more confident in my parenting ability and honestly the girl's are (mostly) helpful with Evan and are self sufficient, which is the most helpful thing of all. Austin says "the boy just knows what he wants" and while that's true it's just unrealistic. I'm happy to feed him, but being a human pacifier hours upon hours throughout the day and night? Yeah, not so much. But regardless of Evan being a grump, he's my grump and I am so happy to have him.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Newborn photos

Evan Fresh 48-10 copy

Evan Fresh 48-18 copy

Evan Fresh 48-17 copy

Evan Fresh 48-16 copy

Evan Fresh 48-15 copy

Evan Fresh 48-14 copy

Evan Fresh 48-13 copy

Evan Fresh 48-12 copy

Evan Fresh 48-11 copy


Evan Fresh 48-9 copy

Evan Fresh 48-7 copy

Evan Fresh 48-6 copy

Evan Fresh 48-4 copy

Evan Fresh 48-3 copy

Evan Fresh 48-2 copy

A couple weeks before Evan's scheduled induction I had won a Facebook contest for a "fresh 48" photo shoot- meaning they would be taken at the hospital within the first 48 hours of the baby being born. I was ecstatic because we had never had professional newborn pictures done of the girls (what's wrong with us... seriously!). Cami, the photographer, was amazing. She was warm and friendly and super talented. We will cherish these photos forever! Look at how perfect Evan is in all of his not even 24 hour old goodness!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Big Sisters

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As you can see these girls were in absolute heaven meeting their little brother for the first time. They intuitively and lovingly welcomed little Evan into our family without any hesitation. I think they both could feel that he was with us all along- the belly (my pregnant belly AKA Evan) finally had a face and such a kissable face it was (and is). I am happy to report that even a month in, these girls are still completely smitten with their brother- they jump at any chance to rub his fluffy head, kiss his chubby cheeks and tickle his teeny toes. We all love our little baby Evan and are so happy to finally have him here.

A couple more photos for good measure:

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

The eventful birth of Evan Robert

For months I have thought about the day that I would sit and write Evan's birth story. I wanted more than anything to peer into a crystal ball to get a glimpse of the day after he was born, that way I would know that (hopefully) everything turned out alright. The countless appointments and never ending worrying because of the VCI became such a heavy burden, especially the last month of my pregnancy and the only way to cure the worrying was to just have the child already. There were moments where I would be folding little Evan's laundry and honestly wonder if he'd ever come home to wear them. That's a dark and painful thought to admit, but an honest one. Since his birth I have felt a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders, not that its been easy to get thrown back in to real life with three kids, but little Evan and I came out of the other side of a dark and scary place of uncertainty. Even with how stressful and exhausting every day life has now become, we are all accounted for and are doing great.

It's been a month since his arrival so we all know this story ends with this:

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But this kid didn't come out without giving us all (OB, L&D nurse and NICU nurse included) a handful of good scares. During 7 of the 9 hours of labor I was exasperated and confused about how nothing was going according to plan. "Not going to plan" seems to be the theme for Evan's entire pregnancy and birth- I am crossing my fingers that it's now all out of his system and it seems to be so far.

The day before Evan was born was the Fourth of July so we had no problem keeping extremely busy. Fourth of July breakfast? Check. Parade? Check. Baseball game? Check. BBQ? Check. Lucy's pizza? Check. Neighborhood firework show? Check. Staying up wayyy too late when you have a 6am induction the following morning? Triple check.

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{Last day as a family of 4 on the Fourth of July}

We were told that the Fourth of July is usually pretty busy in the Labor and Delivery ward because a lot of women get dehydrated from the hot outdoor festivities (and I can see why because boy, being 39 weeks pregnant in 95 degree heat is not at all comfortable), so they advised us that we should call before we made our way to the hospital. Austin was convinced that there was no way they would actually be ready for us at that time, so I haphazardly set an alarm on my phone for 4:45 am. Before I knew it that cruel alarm went off. I called Labor and Delivery and sure enough they were ready for us- take that Austin! We quickly showered, put a couple of last minute items into our suitcase and snuck into the girls' room to kiss their heads and tuck them in (again).  I grabbed a greek yogurt, put a handful of berries on top and ate it as we drove to the hospital. It was so weird to have things so calm- it helped that my sister, Katie, flew in a few days prior to take care of the girls. I knew they were in good hands so that made leaving so much easier. It was just a matter of hours before I would finally hold my sweet boy.

We checked into the hospital, got gowned up, answered a bajillion and one questions, met my awesome nurse (who's one and only job that day was taking care of me) hooked me up to all of the monitors (the blood pressure cuff felt pleasant on my sunburned arm- ouch!) inserted the I.V port (she got my vein first try, so I knew she was good) and then after a quick cervical check (a 1 but fully effaced) it was time for the dreaded pitocin drip. It got started and within 10 minutes I started to contract. Within 30 minutes I was having regular contractions 3-4 minutes apart. Every 20 minutes or so my nurse would evaluate if we should or need to up the pitocin. She started it at a level 2 and explained that the average amount women need to keep a steady stream of contractions is around a level 12, but usually maxing out at 20. Slowly but surely she upped my pitocin levels to an 8. Around 8 am my OB came in to check in on me and see how everything was going. He had clinic patients to see at his office (right next to the hospital), but would come back around noon to break my water. We had discussed in his office in the weeks prior to the birth that it would be a smart idea to get an epidural before my water was ruptured. Once my water was broken that's when things could get dicey without having the protection of the water around his cord, so it was important to be in a position where we could have a potential c-section quickly in case of an emergency. So they set a 11:30 time spot for my epidural. An hour or so after my OB left, my contractions were getting strong and fast. I felt like such a wimp because there I was already super uncomfortable and I had only been in labor for a few hours- pitocin doesn't mess around! When my nurse came in I asked to be unhooked to my monitor so I could use the restroom (but really I just wanted to walk around for a bit). When she came back in hook me back up I asked if I could walk around for a bit longer and that's when she offered to hook me up to the glorious portable monitor system- thank goodness! I walked around and it was lovely. Austin and I turned on the tv and started some Alaska show on the Discovery channel... Alaska Homicide maybe? We also got an hour or so of HGTV.  It was fun to watch actual tv for once and not just streaming services or watching our usual shows (let's face it, The Office mostly), but sheesh we don't miss the commercials haha! Austin ate breakfast while I got cozy in the rocking chair and rocked through my contractions. I started to think that I wasn't contracting anymore and almost called the nurse to up my pitocin, but Austin said my contractions never slowed down- he kept watch of those strips the whole time. Its amazing that I was having the same intensity of contractions, yet when I was moving I could hardly feel them, but being on the bed I had to be breathing through them. I stayed in the rocking chair until 11 o'clock when my nurse came back in. She explained that the baby had had two heart rate decelerations right after a couple of back to back contractions- which isn't normal. During a contraction it's completely normal (within reason) for the heart rate to dip, but right after is a good indicator of cord compression, which made my nurse uneasy especially because that's one thing we really needed to keep an eye on due to the velamentous cord insertion. The nurse wasn't too worried because it could have been a bad reading from the monitor, but she did say she wanted me to get back into bed and lay me on my left side and see if it was a fluke or not. I was bummed to be back in the bed, but I only had a half hour to kill until the anesthesiologist was scheduled to come in so I knew that was doable.

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{Last bump picture}

Right before the anesthesiologist came in, my nurse did another quick cervical exam and I was at a 3. I felt indifferent about that, although I was hoping it would have been higher seeing how I was contracting like a champ. The nurse hoped that once my water broke I would dilate a whole lot faster than I had been. The anesthesiologist came in promptly at 11:30 and he was a wonderful, angel of a man. He explained that he does a different type of epidural called a combined spinal epidural (CSE). It's when a spinal block and an epidural mate and the result is nothing short of magic (my description not his hah!). It allows for the quick relief that a spinal block is known for, but with the slow dripping pain relief catheter of an epidural. Also, they use a fraction of the amount of pain killer, but keep it highly localized- so you are only numb in the lower abdominal/pelvic region. You can feel pressure and are able to move around completely normal (on the bed for liability reasons of course). My legs felt a tad heavy and at first a little tingly, but then eventually felt normal. I remember being scared of getting the epidural because I wasn't in enough pain labor wise to distract me from the massive needle going into my spine, but I felt nothing more than a small pinch. The anesthesiologist had Austin come around and watch while he explained and did the whole procedure. The whole thing was calm and fascinating. It was weird having the CSE because I could feel Evan kick and swirl around, but no pain of contractions- just a slight squeeze. It was mind blowing- I swore I wasn't in labor any more because I felt completely normal- no dead legs, no nausea, but maybe a tad itchy. Even though I was blissfully unaware, my contractions were getting a lot longer and closer together. My OB came back a little after 1:30 and broke my water. All our worries about this moment seemed silly in retrospect because everything looked great. No sign of torn vessels, no immediate fetal stress, no cord prolapse. I instantly felt relieved because I had been dreading the potential bad outcomes of that moment for a long time. Everything was going great other than just dilating slowly. My OB seemed a little concerned about those two dips in Evan's heart rate earlier so he wanted to monitor me from his office while he continued to work in the clinic for a bit. He had the nurse send over pictures of the monitoring strips and call with an update every 15 minutes so he could better anticipate a course of action. My contractions picked up big time after my water broke, every two or so minutes, but I was still pleasantly numb to any pain.  The nurse decided to hold off on increasing the pitocin drip because I wasn't having any troubles contracting (having already had two babies I guess my body seemed to know what it was doing haha) and she was worried about undue stress to the baby. She made a good call of not upping the pitocin because not an hour after my water broke we started to notice more heart decelerations, this time during the contractions which made us less nervous, but they were dipping quite a bit, more than what is deemed "normal". The nurse had me move around and switch positions frequently to see if baby boy preferred a certain position, but we weren't having much luck. Then it was time for another cervical check and I was only a 4!  What in the world?? We were all super confused about how that could be possible. During the cervical check, the nurse's face contorted oddly so I asked her what was going on. "I feel something..." her face looked super confused and then burst into laughter. "IT'S HIS EAR!! I have NEVER felt an EAR during a check before!" What!? How is that possible? "so that's the problem! Baby boy is sideways! Let's see if we can turn him". She explained that his positioning was what was to blame for the slow dilating because his head wasn't properly making contact with my cervix. So since his head was tilted, my body didn't have the stimulus to dilate properly. My nurse brought in "the peanut" imagine one of those big rubber exercise balls, but in an hourglass or peanut shape. We then draped my body over it and switched back and forth, left and right. I could feel little Evan twisting around which I hoped was a good thing.

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{Austin's addition to number 10 haha!}

During our attempts to move Evan into the right spot, he began to have even more heart decelerations, but this time dipping way lower than before. His heart rate normally hovered around the 135-140 beats per minute mark, but he dipped down into the low 50's. It was nothing short of terrifying hearing it go so slow and waiting for it to pop back up, hoping it would come back up. My nurse ran and called my OB to suggest an internal fetal monitor that way we would have an accurate reading on his heart rate. She was hoping it was a monitor issue, but she was nervous. The OB after seeing the strip decided to cancel the rest of his clinic appointments and come stay with me until baby boy decided to make his debut. While we waited for the OB to come and place the internal monitor we had a few contractions where we couldn't find his heart rate at all and that silence was torture. The nurse frantically moved the heart rate monitor around my belly when I would contract, desperate to find his heart tones, but was having a hard time. I was so scared because it was clear that something was wrong, but I wasn't having any bleeding or anything else to indicate a torn vessel or cord separation, so it was either cord compression or something else. I started to feel a crazy amount of pressure. Pressure I am all too familiar with from Ellie's birth, but seeing how I was only a 4 about 40 minutes prior I thought there was no way I could be much further along than that. But then I began to shake and I knew I had to be close. Austin kept asking if I was cold and if I needed more blankets as I shook uncontrollably and I mean massive muscle tremors and chattering teeth type shaking. I explained that I was confident I was in transition. I told the nurse and before she could do anything, in walked my OB. He started to unwrap the internal fetal monitor when he noticed my aggressive shaking and asked how I was feeling. "Pressure. Lots of pressure." I answered. He did a cervical check and he said "well Sammie you are fully dilated. Let's get this baby out ok?" me and the nurse jumped for joy. We both were so, so relieved (I'm sure Austin was too). My nurse immediately got into action of getting the room ready while a NICU nurse came in and introduced herself. She said she would be there for the birth and that because of his dipping heart rate, she had been monitoring Evan's progress. She wanted to be there in case he needed any extra help or if heaven forbid, help rush him to the NICU. My OB left for a few minutes to change his clothes while I sat there and tried with all my might NOT to push (so much harder than you'd imagine). In ran my OB and immediately we started to push with my contractions. Evan's heart rate was impossible to find and by the glances my OB and nurse were sharing, I knew it wasn't good. I was told we needed to get him out right away so I pushed longer and harder and didn't stop until I felt Evan's head come out. That's when the OB said "don't worry, but the cord is wrapped around his neck, I need you to stop pushing so I can get it off". He tried to wrap his finger under the cord to pull it up and over his head, but it was wrapped so tightly he couldn't even fit his finger in between the cord and little Evan's neck, so he had to cut it off right then and there. Evan wasn't even fully delivered (his body still hadn't even been pushed out) and already his cord had been cut. One more push later and Evan came screaming into the world and he. was. mad. I immediately sobbed from relief and happiness because it all had been so intense... going from a 4 to fully dilated in 40 minutes was insane enough, but having the cord so tightly wrapped around his neck that they had to cut it off was so, so scary! I just wanted everything to be ok and with every cry and whimper I knew he was ok. Better than ok... he was perfection... See?

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It was done! Thank goodness it is done! No hemorrhage, no placenta retention, everything was smooth from there on out. My OB and nurse were so relieved that it was over along with Austin and I. They admitted that I almost got wheeled out for an emergency c-section a handful of times, but thank heavens I was able to push him out fast enough. So after months of immense worrying, an intense and terrifying birth I was rewarded with a son- a beautiful boy and it felt so good just to hold him.

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When we switched to the recovery room I felt great- a little swollen from all the fluids they pumped through me, but it felt so good to have permission to be up and walking around. I'm actually surprised at how great I felt. Those new baby hormones (I call it the new baby high) do wonders. As I walked with our delivery nurse down the hall and Austin took Evan for his first bath in the nursery, I asked her how nervous she was during everything. She replied with "dude, I was scared the whole time! He was giving us trouble, good thing he's cute though!" she had a good game face during the whole ordeal though, which I appreciated. When Austin came back with our shiny new baby we started talking about how it felt so good to be done. It was such a tremendous relief to have had made it through unscathed. While talking about the labor and delivery I made a comment about how he seemed so calm the entire time, which is VERY unlike him because he's usually full of anxiety for things as stressful or unpredictable as birth (especially this one). I do pretty good at staying calm in most stressful situations, but I was a nervous wreck the entire time and my anxious husband was as calm as a cucumber- what sense does that make? When I asked him if he was actually calm or if he just had on a brave face for me he said stoically "no, I really was calm." I was so confused because I was freaking out during the entire extent of the induction because of all the complications. "Even when he was in the wrong position?! Or when we couldn't find his heart rate? Or the CORD WAS WRAPPED AROUND EVAN'S NECK sooo tight that the OB had to CUT it off!? How in the world were you calm during all of that??" Austin responded with "because I knew that they were ready for a c-section the entire time". That's when I started to laugh because the reason behind his calm demeanor was the exact reason I was a nervous wreck! haha!

Later that evening Katie, my sister, brought the girls to meet little Evan I'll do a whole separate post about that visit, but it filled me with joy to see my girls whole heartily welcome their baby brother. It was such a sweet moment.

The hospital staff usually recommends that you stay the bare minimum of 24 hours post birth or the more desired 48 hours. Austin thought the 48 hour stay would be "fun" and "like a vacation".  I tried to remind him how terrible it is to try and get any sort of rest in the hospital, but he was convinced it would be ok. After our night of being woken up by a nurse every 2 hours for uterine compressions, blood pressure tests, check ups for Evan and being bombarded with questions like "hows your pain level?" "When was the last time you pee'd?" "Any dizziness or headache?" Austin wanted out. I knew he would eventually remember that a hospital stay is far from a vacation. We were dying to get back home to sleep in our own bed. So as soon as we hit the 24 hour mark we high tailed out of there. While I will say I missed the quiet of the hospital, it felt so good to be home.

About a week later I got a nice card in the mail from the amazing nurses and kind staff that helped us at the hospital. I cracked up as I noticed what our labor and delivery nurse, Krista, said in the card (first note at the top)...

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He really was quite the trouble maker, but thankfully being born has calmed him down a bit. :)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Introducing...


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Our little Evan is perfection in every way. He has already put on 2 pounds of delicious baby chub in the less than 4 short weeks he's joined us earth side. I think his impressive weight gain is partially because he refuses to use any and all pacifiers (yes, we have tried multiple kinds haha), so I have welcomed the new name of "human pacifier" to my long list of motherly related titles. We all completely adore him and the sweet spirit he has brought into our home. The newborn goodness is heavenly and I am doing my best to soak it all in the best I can. I feel like the third time around I am intentionally more present, no longer wishing for the exciting milestones ahead, just trying to love the time I am in now (some days are easier than others). Our family feels so perfectly rounded off now with our little man and I just am so thankful to be his mama. 

Maisie-isms #3

I just came across this list, the third edition of "Maisie-isms", in my draft folder started in summer of 2015 and added on to November of the same year. Oops, I kind of (most definitely) dropped the ball on this one... and probably so many other posts as well, but better late than never! I think I will continue with the "isms" because the girl's crack us up daily with their banter and silly sayings. :)


I dropped an apple in the sink while I was peeling it "shoot!"  Maisie came in and said "I'm sorry mama" and I told her "that's ok baby it's not your fault, you don't have to be sorry." Maisie then responded "but you always say you're sorry when I fall down and get hurt and that's not your fault."

Ellie was walking in the backyard by the lilac bush "Ellie is bonding with nature right now."

Maisie: What do you think Ellie's favorite color is?
Me: We don't know yet because she's not old enough to tell us.
Maisie: it's probably the color of your tummy.
Me: What?! Like skin color??
Maisie: No. Like the INside.
(Like when I was pregnant with her haha)

Sitting outside around the fire pit watching a couple of the resident pigeons (the creatures Austin openly despises most) strut around on the roof of the house.
Maisie: (knowing how much Austin hates the pigeons) Why don't we just get a knife and halve them? When you halve them, they die. And then we will see their guts.
Austin: Ew I don't want to see pigeon guts.
Maisie: I do!

Maisie pretending to be Dracula "I vant some beef jorkey (jerky)

Playing with her school erasers "This is Professor Hoots-bird"

When we were walking home from school "Uhg... It smells like a cat's toot."

Upon hearing Austin say my middle name is (which is Ashley by the way).
Maisie scoots in real close and puts her face to mine- practically nose to nose and in a loud whisper says: "Your. Middle name. Is. Hash brown?!"

"It's about to get real stinky." (upon tooting)

We were scoping out places to take our family pictures pretty much in the middle of no where Idaho, when Maisie said:
"I hope we don't get lost because we don't have any food in the car... Well, we do have mommy's milk." --this then led to an interesting conversation about how long I could keep my whole family alive solely on breast milk. Haha!

Watching Star Wars:
"Who would be on Darth Vader's side? Not me! I'm on God's side!"

"Luke Skywalker is awesome, cool, a Jedi and awesome." It seems Maisie has a bit of a crush on Mr Skywalker

Maisie's teacher told us a funny thing that Maisie had said while they were talking about Pilgrams and the Native Americans in Kindergarten and how they were the "first" people. Maisie then raised her hand and astutely said "No. Adam and Eve were!"

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Non-Stress" Tests

I have ONE more week of appointments until the induction on July 5th and I am so burned out. It doesn't help that my last two NSTs results were less than stellar. One resulting in a failure and ended up in the hospital for a few hours waiting to be discharged when baby boy finally decided to perk up enough. The next NST, the following week, while a pass (Hallelujah!!) still took a lot longer to get the desired results and accels in order to get the thumbs up to go home.

Let me share the details on my first NST the one that got me sent to labor and delivery at the hospital because it's quite the story. So I had already been having twice monthly BPP (bio physical profile) ultrasounds (now I have them once a week), so I knew that so far everything had been going great with the pregnancy thus far, baby is growing great- 50th percentile all around (truly a miracle due to his cord- we all thought he would be way on the smaller side) he's moving great, practicing breathing like a champ, motor skills are good so I went into my first NST appointment thinking it would be a breeze and take no longer than 30-45 minutes... oh boy, was I wrong. Not only did I under estimate the length of time of the appointment, but for the first time this entire pregnancy with what feels like hundreds of pre-natal/pregnancy appointments I decided to bring the girls to that one. Why, oh why, did I bring the girls to that one!? What was supposed to be a quick, usually only taking 20 minutes, hooked up, in a private room turned into my own personal version of hades.

Not only did my girls decide that this would be the perfect opportunity to be the most rambunctious, defiant, worst minders ever, but what should have been 30 minutes tops, turned into 2.5 hours! My stress level was already through the roof simply by having my evil spawn children there, but I was panicking because the OB or nurse didn't know why in the world the baby wasn't being reactive to the test. For all they knew he wasn't getting enough oxygen. So there I was trapped 45 minutes from home, meaning I couldn't even drop the girls off at a friend's house or have someone come and get them and I had to go to hospital for extended testing WITH them (not without getting a Frozen Lemonade from Chick-Fil-A on the way first because the Doctors were hoping some cold sugary drink would help baby boy pass his test quicker and because they're delicious of course).

I now know there truly is a hell and it is not made of fire and brimstone, but it is being strapped to a bed, worried sick about your unborn child, while your two other children run around a hospital room not listening to any of your bribes, threats or pleas to behave. I cried hot angry tears while unable to move to make my children listen to me. I felt like a failure as a mother "don't my children respect me?" The friendly nurse tried to diffuse my what was now tangible tension in the room by commenting that my girls were the cutest children she has ever seen "Their beautiful blue eyes! Her curly hair! Her glasses!" while I cried worried and angry tears simultaneously. I wanted Austin. I needed him, but I was alone. Austin was in charge of admistering the LSAT and it was impossible for him to leave mid test or he would have been there in a heart beat. Also, I didn't know how long I was going to be at the hospital and I really didn't want him to head over even if he could have because  1) I didn't know how long I was going to be there. I didn't want him to drive there and then half way turn around because I was discharged and 2) our other car (Wolfie) isn't registered or even insured and I didn't want him to risk getting pulled over. He was willing to drive over after the test, but I was finishing up and I would have been leaving as he was getting there. Austin hates that the day this all happened was on a day where it was impossible for him to leave, but I know he would have been there if he could have. He normally doesn't miss an appointment- he's really good about that.

Finally after a few hours baby boy decided to show off and pass the extended test. My head rang from a tension migraine,  I silently put the girls in the car and told them to not make a peep the entire ride home. I didn't yell, but the way I said it the girls immediately understood the errors of their ways. They didn't make a single sound the entire 45 minute drive home. I unbuckled them from the car took them inside, all without any words, and let Austin take over. The minute I opened my mouth to speak I uncontrollably shook with rage and cried intense sobs. Austin took the girls to their room, had a very stern and serious talk with them and put them to bed with a piece of bread each for their dinner and that was it. It took me a couple hours to stop crying, the floodgates had been opened and there was no stopping it until that river was dry.

Alls well that ends well, but that day was one of the worst days of my life. I actually have a mental list of my worst days and this ranks at number 3 (I have a good memory haha!). I was so overcome by so many conflicting emotions by days end, steam coming out of my ears anger, stomach turning worry, head and heart pounding stress and breath of fresh air relief. That my body needed to physically recover. I turned into bed way early and in the spirit of Scarlett O'Hara reminded myself that "tomorrow is another day!"

Moral of the story: Never take your children to a "Non-stress" test. It's the most ill described test I have ever heard of.

Friday, June 9, 2017

26 days

A date has been set! It feels official and eerily close now- our baby will be earth side in T-minus 26 days!  I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that fact, but it almost feels set in stone now. There's a part of me that still feels like I might go into labor naturally just because that's all I have ever known labor wise, but both girls were 4 days late, soooo the odds of me going before that point naturally are slim (though not impossible- this pregnancy has been a whirlwind of unpredictability and so unlike any of my others). Austin is relieved to have a date- he's much better suited to a plan and each pregnancy a part of him dies waiting for me to go into labor. It doesn't help that I usually have days of pre-labor to conquer before the real deal happens so that not knowing phase is a killer. I think he's looking forward to a calm drive to the hospital with hopefully a full nights rest behind us and taking comfort in knowing once we walk into the hospital we won't be leaving until we have our baby. I mean I see the appeal of induction, I do. But I'm scared. I don't fully know what to expect other than that pitocin is the devil. I don't like the idea of so many interventions, but going into labor naturally could be dangerous and there needs to be constant monitoring of the baby to make sure he's enduring the labor safely. It's strange to have such a different mentality this go around. A part of me feels a tad disappointed to not have the labor and delivery that I had envisioned since becoming pregnant with this little boy, but I do feel peace with our choices.

We had two options when it came to choosing a date- July 3rd or 5th. I selfishly chose the 5th because I REALLY don't want to spend my favorite holiday in the hospital or worse recovering from a potential c-section. I would really like to spend that day and evening with my girls and celebrate baby brother's impending arrival. I am a smidge nervous that I might not be able to enjoy the holiday as much as I normally would because of the nerves, but there's nothing like a BBQ and fireworks to help take your mind off of things- am I right? Hopefully I will tire myself out enough to where I will be able to sleep great sans-nerves and anticipation because it's going to be an early wake up call the next morning! It's all feeling so real now! July 5th... 26 days... ah!

Monday, June 5, 2017

35 weeks

The induction date hasn't been set yet, we are hoping to get on the hospital's schedule and set the date at my next appointment this coming Thursday. But we are officially in countdown mode! Only 4 weeks left- barring any complications or unexpected turn of events. Right now there's a slight possibility that baby is growing too well in his bedwomb (hah see what i did there?) that if he continues having growth spurts the rate he has been between the last few appointments (he's currently in the 80th percentile) he MAY have to come early. The doctor said if he hits the 90th percentile that's when we would discuss a possible earlier induction just to hopefully help prevent unnecessary pressure or weight on his cord (which is working like a champ- whoo hoo!). So baby is growing perfectly which is really exciting and relieves a lot of worry we had going forward from our 21 week ultrasound. 

Even though there are only 4 weeks left at this point I still feel that there is still so much to do. From here on out I will have 3 appointments a week (thankfully 2 of them are on the same day back to back) so when I look at the long list of appointments it still feels like I have FOREVER to go. Have a look for yourself...

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Then there's the fact that we are still SO unprepared (#thirdchildproblems). We still don't have a carseat ordered mostly due to the fact that our stroller system only works with a certain type of carseat that just happens to be one of the more expensive styles and I am hoping and holding out to hopefully find one on sale for a decent price. That's another thing I am finding funny/conflicting about this pregnancy is that we are so sure this little guy is our last that I feel this insane urge to splurge because I won't be able to buy these things again, but then the very real feeling to skimp and save on everything because only one baby will use it. It's messing with my head!

So other than the lack of carseat situation I think we are ready to go. I have a handful (or 2 hah!) of wishlist items that I would love to get before his arrival, but honestly we could do without them or at least could get by without them initially. Nothing as dire as a carseat because we need that to get him home haha!

At 35 weeks physically: I am feeling huge and overheated. I am running a few degrees hotter than normal, but that's to be expected when there's a bun in the oven am I right? We haven't had any unbearable days heat wise, but I am already turning the AC on to sleep at night... Austin hasn't complained too much because with our bedroom upstairs it gets pretty warm up there. My tailbone I am pretty sure is broken or dislocated (I know I am being dramatic, but with how much it hurts it HAS to be broken right?!) because it hurts 24/7 if I stand too long or sit too long or stay in any position too long I just about die. I don't know if its just a matter of the little guy's positioning or what, but sheesh I will not miss this part of pregnancy that's for sure. The girls both lived under my ribs which caused different and probably just as painful symptoms (herniated intercostal muscles- ouch!) but at least I didn't have to sit on my ribs haha! So I feel much more acutely aware of this pain and it's harder to ignore.

At 35 weeks mentally/emotionally: I feel my anxiety peaked a few weeks ago and that I am turning a corner with coming to peace/terms with the potential problems/complications that could arise during labor. I am glad I am educated about them, but there is nothing I can do at this point. It will go how it goes and I need to just trust everything will work out the way it's supposed to. I don't know why it took me so long to finally come to this point, but I am glad I'm here now. I am feeling a little stress about the impending induction just because I have only gone into labor naturally so that's a little nerve wracking, but the thought of having all my ducks in a row and knowing exactly when I will be in the hospital will be extremely helpful especially with making sure the girls are taken care of. With both of the girls we went to the hospital within the 3am-4am time frame, which makes finding someone to come last minute not very fun. So it's exciting to avoid that part. Plus that last week of pregnancy where it's a waiting game to go into labor and not knowing when is the worst. Where the only question any one texts or calls is "baby here yet?" "are you still pregnant?" trust me people, you will know when this baby is born. Both Austin and I will be so relieved to have come out the other side of this pregnancy that I am sure we will be shouting it from the roof tops. :)

So for 4 weeks we will  happily await this little boy's arrival. He will change all of our lives and we can't wait. 

p.s I STILL can't believe we are a having a BOY!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Velamentous Cord Insertion (VCI)


This pregnancy has been night and day different from my previous two. While I feel each one was unique in it's own way, for the most part the girls' pregnancies had more than a handful of similarities. This time around is another thing. From the intense and unrelenting exhaustion, completely different "morning" sickness symptoms (this time around turned out to be less sea sick feeling/dizziness and more crampy upset stomach) and with a lower laying babe, alllll the bladder issues (hello, midnight bathroom visits x10) that I NEVER experienced with the girls because they pretty much lived under my ribs- ouch! Another difference with this one has been the 24/7 worrying. With Maisie's pregnancy I was young and naive, so I went with the flow. With Ellie's I had enough mothering experience to be confident in my body and skills that I have learned on the way. But this one? He's kept us on our toes.

At our first prenatal appointment when I thought I was 8 weeks along, but really turned out to be 9 weeks, we learned I had a subchorionic hematoma (the accumulation of blood within the folds of the chorion (the outer membrane, next to the placenta) or between the uterus and the placenta itself). It wasn't anything I was too worried about, but it was something I found myself thinking about often enough. Most women who have a subchorionic hematomas go on to have healthy pregnancies, but my brain would wonder about potential risks mostly the increased chance of miscarriage. But as my baby continued to grow and with every check up I was more reassured and began to forget all about it. With a quick ultrasound at 17 weeks they confirmed that it resolved on its own and was no longer visible. Sweet relief. I found myself enjoying the pregnancy more. My anxiety nearly died, other than freaking out about having a boy (ahh!). Ok, its all downhill from here, everything is fine. 

A few weeks later at my 21 week anatomy scan (we had already found out baby was a boy at the 17 week scan)  I went to this appointment without Austin. Normally Austin doesn't miss a single appointment, but he had had his gallbladder surgery that morning and was pretty down for the count. I reassured him "Everything is ok, they are just looking at everything and we already know the gender soooo no big deal. I'll facetime you ok?" I ended up taking Maisie because she was pretty excited to see her little brother. I thought the ultrasound was going great, but I could tell she was checking something, checking and rechecking on my lower left side. She would switch from 2d to 3d to the blood flow monitor over and over. She finished up the ultrasound and then said "First, baby looks great!" uhhhh what's second?? "I see an abnormality with the cord and placenta." She seemed pretty lax and unworried so I asked what the problem was. She said "I'm having a hard time being 100% sure, but either the cord attached marginally (the very outer side) to the placenta or it didn't attach to the placenta at all". Now I don't know why, maybe it was her calm demeanor or the fact that I had been up since 5 am and at the hospital for Austin's surgery allllll day long or that Maisie was sitting right there, but I wasn't bothered by the information. I figured with how calm she was being that if it were  something to worry about she would have told me? I don't know. I do remember her saying that with this sort of cord abnormality, it puts the baby at a slight increased risk for a cord accident and stillbirth. Also I just assumed that I must have had the marginal insertion because how relaxed the appointment was. I went home and explained to a very groggy and drugged up husband what I was told. Even explaining it to him I could see the worry in his eyes and confused as to what this meant as far as the rest of pregnancy. I tried telling him "she told me not to lose sleep over it, so I don't think it's a big deal".

As the days passed, I started to worry more and in that worry I turned to the internet. I know, I know, but I honestly wasn't looking for horror stories. I just wanted the facts behind the abnormality. Everything thing I read mostly discussed Marginal Cord Insertion and pretty much said while they will monitor the pregnancy more, mostly making sure that the cord was suppling enough nutrients and that the baby was growing according to schedule, it wasn't anything to be too concerned over or anything too uncommon. As I was reading through the articles I kept coming across info for Velamentous cord insertion or VCI and how it's a much different beast than Marginal cord insertion (my description, not the articles hah). I felt reassured that I MUST have the marginal version because based on everything about VCI I had read, it was contrary to the way the ultrasound specialist had acted. Another day passed and I became sick with worry what if it is the velamentous one? So I called my midwife hoping to get an appointment, but she was already over booked for the day and there wasn't a chance to sneak myself in (of course it was a Friday so I would have to wait until the next week). So then over the phone to the nurse I explained my uneasiness about the results of my ultrasound, she forwarded the call to the radiologist and that lady said in exact words "I don't know why the ultrasound tech said she couldn't tell if it was attached or not, but I can confirm that it is NOT attached and IS Velamentous." Over the phone I began to sob. All of the what ifs and anxiety I had been feeling the days prior all came flooding back hundredfold. All the things I had read about ruptured or pinched unprotected cord (aka the means the baby gets nutrients and more importantly oxygen), restricted growth of the baby, stillbirth, cord accidents, retained placenta, more likely to hemorrhage during birth... yadda yadda yadda. I was freaking out. Austin came home from work to a wife in fetal position on the couch full on melting down about how our baby boy is going to die and I can't stop it. He was able to pull me out of my spiral of doom pretty quickly (he's good at that) but he allowed me to vent and express all the fears of hopefully less likely and very undesired results.

We left on vacation to Arizona before I could meet with my midwife and speak with her about what this diagnosis means as far as birthing options, monitoring and tests. I tried to just enjoy our vacation without worrying too much, but it was exhausting not knowing more about this potential serious and scary abnormality. I took solace that so far baby boy had been growing right on track or even a smidge bigger than gestational age. So while the cord/arteries/veins was not desirable with location and lack of cord protection, baby boy was growing and was healthy.

Finally, after a few weeks we were able to get into our appointment with the midwife. Some ball was dropped on the ultrasound techs side because when I started to sob to the midwife about how anxious and worried I have been she looked confused. "What's wrong? What did the ultrasound show?" they didn't inform her, so it was news to her. She immediately pulled up the ultrasound and started looking over it. She was mad because had she known, she would have called me to talk about it and try to explain things. We talked about what the rest of this pregnancy would look like. She said the main concern is growth restriction on the baby and a potential early delivery based on his ability to thrive from the cord. Her other worry was a retained placenta after birth. Since the cord is not attached to the placenta theres nothing to help pull it out, which means manual extraction, a possible D&C and potential hemorrhaging requiring a blood transfusion. She made me feel much better as she described exactly what she would do if any of those scenarios happened. Austin and I left the appointment feeling much better. After we discussed it with family and friends everyone said "maybe get a second opinion?" so after the recommendation of Austin's boss, we made an appointment with a high risk OB. We wanted to consult him and see what he would do differently, if anything than the midwife could/would do. He explained that he has had a handful of VCI cases, not tons because of how uncommon it is, but he's had enough experience to know exactly what could happen. He explained that he would do much more extensive monitoring of baby's growth, cord location, fluid levels and starting at 34 weeks twice weekly non-stress tests along with ultrasounds every 2 weeks. This was very different than what the midwife wanted to do. Which I guess is the beauty of a midwife- they are hands on, less intervention, less stress. But Austin and I both felt that in this case more monitoring would make us feel better. Plus with this sort of cord abnormality it puts me WAY more likely to need a c-section. This OB could do it on the spot without any backup calls, where as the midwife would have to exchange me over, which is precious time we can't have wasted. Our OB explained that once my water breaks that's when its imperative to monitor the baby constantly. He explained that without the cushion of the water for the exposed vessels it's a matter of how long the baby can hold his breath if they become pinched or compressed against his shoulder etc. We knew right then, we needed an OB and it broke my heart because I LOVE my midwife. If it were any other birth, she's exactly who I would want, but with the so many unknowns and potential risks we need to be where they can be addressed the quickest and unfortunately that's not with her. Also, we needed to switch from our hospital to one with a NICU and trauma unit just in case. So right now the plan is to be induced at 39 weeks if no other complications come up before that point.

So in about 7 weeks we will have our baby boy! I wish I could fast forward to the day after he's born just so the worryingr and stress can be over and hopefully an uneventful birth without complications will be behind us. All I want is safety for the baby and myself, its so nerve wracking not knowing what's going to happen, but I guess that's the case for all births. I hate the lack of control I feel at all times, but I have to be reassured that we are being as diligent and proactive as possible and that's all we can do at this point. I'm so happy we have made it to 32.2 weeks without any scares and that so far everything is on track and going well. I am so thankful for modern medicine and that we were able to catch this and be aware of its presence and be ready for any and all complications that could arise.

Let's do this baby boy! Not much longer now. :)


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Oh Boy!

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Baby boy was bent in half his entire ultrasound- essentially ears between knees.

When Austin and I thought about our future we always imagined parenting a hoard of girls. I imagined braiding Maisie's hair while she braided Ellie's, while Ellie braided our other little girl's hair etc. A cascade of braiding estrogen. Austin was in on this visual. Not that we didn't want a boy, but when we thought about our chaotic family life, we could only see a life full of mostly naked baby dolls strewn about the house, "Frozen" or more currently "Moana" soundtracks on repeat all day every day, sassy remarks and twirly dresses. It's what we knew and became comfortable with.

We had an inkling that this pregnancy was different, but all of mine so far have been remotely different, but this one was the sore thumb of the bunch. My energy levels and morning sickness was night and day different than the girls' pregnancies. But I still had that little girl perfectly picked out in my head because it was a fact that we can only make girls right? I went into our ultrasound with the idea that I wouldn't be surprised either way, just because this pregnancy was so different it would make sense if it was a boy, but also with the idea that we can only make girls right? Win-win thought process huh? haha! When my midwife said "yep, it's DEFINITELY a boy" I went into shock. What??? We can make a boy? Ahhhhh! I was instantly excited, but felt oddly unqualified (and so, so, SO unprepared) to have a boy. Our world with only girls, was about to get turned upside down.

Maisie was convinced it was a boy from the second we told her we were going to have a baby, which was around 6 weeks pregnant because I became too sick to hide it from them. "Mommy, it HAS to be a boy right? It would be crazy to have THREE girls right?" We had long talks about how we can't control what the baby is, but whatever it is, it's apart of our family and we love it so much already. Ellie said she wanted a girl, but honestly she's just so baby hungry that I don't think she'd mind either way. Side note: I have never met another little girl who possesses such motherly instincts as strongly as little Ellie. I think Austin was pulling for a boy from the beginning because he feels so out numbered and also his past remarks of "I want a boy to carry my name" (insert eye roll) but he still could only imagine a girl. We both left the ultrasound appointment in disbelief, but so so happy.

It felt strange to wander down boy isles- it was like a foreign country, scratch that more like a different planet! I found my eyes (and sometimes my entire body) wandering towards the girl's section (why are little girls things just so flipping cute?!) And kind of wondering if this was real life. Not a huge fan of all the little sports, trucks and boy sayings. No joke yesterday I found such a cute onesie for a boy, but in big capital letters sprawled across the front was the word "DUDE" really?! Is that even necessary. So it looks like I'm dressing my boy like an 80 year old man- give me all the loafers, cardigans, suspenders and I'm good.

I found myself secretly missing all things "little girls" and I think its because we are 98% sure this is our last baby (even before we knew what this baby was, we felt this way) and I don't think I have fully let it sink in that I won't be shopping for little newborn dresses and headbands for OUR babies again. But how exciting is it that we get to have a whole new experience for our last baby. This little boy is already so loved and wanted. I feel such a connection to him that feels entirely different than mine with the girls. So with one chapter closing, another new and exciting one has been started. I feel so blessed to be pregnant and that we even have the opportunity to grow our family by one more. We can't wait to meet this little guy and smother him with kisses- Ellie won't be able to contain her affection and I don't think I'll be able to either :)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yellowstone June 2016

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When my mom was visiting in June, we went to Yellowstone National Park. My mom has talked about wanting to go to Yellowstone since I was a little girl and seeing how we live so close now we made a day trip out of it. We packed our lunches and picnic styled throughout the park. It couldn't have been a better day weather wise- it was beautiful and warm. Yellowstone is notorious for its crazy weather (I.E snow in July). So we packed the car with spare clothes, layers and coats just in case, but didn't end up needing a single thing. It was a pleasant surprise. We focused on the SW area of the park, but we made a huge loop to see other parts of the park as well. We saw countless buffalo, tons of geysers, hot pots, water falls and huge lakes. We ended the day with dinner in West Yellowstone, Montana and then made our way home.