Monday, April 25, 2011

The First Month

It's so hard to believe that Aniston is a month old today!  Where has the time gone?!  It does not seem like it's been a month since we left the hospital with her....and looked at each other and said, "That's it?  They're just letting us take her?"  I was so nervous, and she didn't come with any instructions at all--haha!  When we got home that day, we left her in the carrier and sat it on the table.  The "now what do we do?!" feeling was overwhelming!  I was so unsure of myself in the beginning, and I cried all the time.  For the first week or so, I'm pretty sure I cried nearly every time Bradley looked at me.  I wasn't unhappy.  It was just that everything was so new and scary.  She seemed so tiny and breakable.  Also, I wasn't prepared--mentally or organizationally--for her to come early.

Honestly, I wasn't ready for the pregnancy to be over.  I won't say that I loved being pregnant because there were many things (especially toward the end) that weren't so great.  But I did love feeling her move, and I loved feeling special.  Not special in the sense of people paying attention to and making a big deal over me, but special in the sense that I was part of something really wonderful.  I didn't think the doctor would induce labor that day.  My bag wasn't packed, Aniston's room wasn't finished, I hadn't had maternity pictures made...the list goes on and on.  All of this really bothered me the first couple of weeks.  Nothing about her birth had gone according to my plan.  (Big surprise there, right?  When does anything go according to my plan?) 

And yet there she was.  Perfect and healthy, even after all that happened during labor.  Really, does it matter that I don't have maternity pictures?  Does it matter that the nursery wasn't finished and that my bag wasn't packed?

Nope.  In the grand scheme of things, those details don't matter at all.  Once I realized that, everything fell into place.  It has been the hardest but most rewarding month of my life.  I love her so much, and can't imagine life without her.

Highlights of The First Month
--Aniston weighs 6 pounds 7 ounces (as of 4/20).
--She's still wearing newborn diapers and clothes.  The clothes are still a little big on her.
--She's a really great baby!  She sleeps for four-hour stretches at night, eats, and then usually goes back to sleep fairly quickly.  She usually only cries when she's hungry or needs a diaper change, and she's rarely fussy.
--She still sleeps a lot during the day, but she's beginning to be more alert when she's awake.  She's also beginning to wave her arms more.
--She loves to stare at faces, especially during the middle of the night feedings.
--She's not a fan of socks or mittens and gets them off as quickly as possible.
--She loves her swing and riding in the car.
--She doesn't like bath time at all.  It's a fairly miserable experience for all involved.  We're working on this.
--Her first time in a restaurant was at Chick-fil-a after a visit to the pediatrician on April 14.
--Her first ER visit was on April 20.  She stopped breathing and turned blue.  It was horribly scary!  The pediatrician believes it was due to acid reflux.  We're keeping a close eye on her and considering several treatment options.
--Her first trip to church was on April 24, Easter Sunday.  She was awake for just a little while during breakfast, but then fell asleep and slept through the entire service.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Years Ago

Two years ago today, Bradley and I learned we had lost our first baby.

It's hard to believe it's been that long.  In some ways, I realize the amount of time that has passed by looking at how far we've come and how our lives have changed.  At the same time, that day is still so fresh in my mind...It seems like it was just yesterday.

That's the thing about the best and worst days of our lives.  Our memory can hold both forever.  Just like our wedding day and the day of Aniston's birth is seared in my memory, so is the loss of our first baby.  Honestly, though, I wouldn't want it any other way.  Remembering her means that she was important, that she mattered, that she touched our lives even though we never met her.

We love you, sweet Peanut. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aniston's Birth Story, Part Two

When we arrived at the hospital (after we made a ton of phone calls from the parking deck to tell our family and friends that we were having a baby, like, today), the nurses in triage were waiting on us. We were immediately taken to a room.  Those moments in the hospital room alone, before everything started and before our family and friends arrived, were precious.  I think we whispered, "We're having a baby!" to each other a hundred times.  It was one of those times in life when everything seems so real, yet so dreamlike.  The day we had waited for was finally here.  After years of waiting, we were having a baby!

The nurse started the Pitocin drip and I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors.  We listened constantly to Aniston's heartbeat on the monitor.  All throughout the pregnancy, I loved listening to that sweet sound--the affirmation that there was indeed a life inside of me, strong and healthy--and on her birthday was no exception. 

I didn't make fast progress with the Pitocin, and Aniston didn't tolerate it well.  Her heart rate would drop then pick back up again, a series of peaks and valleys that alarmed the nurses and caused them to stop the Pitocin.  Dr. A arrived soon and decided to speed things up by breaking my water.  (At this point, I'll tell you two things: First, I only thought I was dying when Dr. F checked my cervix and stripped my membranes.  Dr. A checking my cervix and breaking my water was a thousand times worse.  Second, the feeling of having my water broken was the worst. feeling. ever.  No details need to be given.  End of story.)  He also placed an internal monitor on the top of Aniston's head to keep a better check on her heart rate.

Dr. A determined that I was at 3 cm and decided to try the Pitocin again.  This time, the contractions were much, much stronger.  The anesthesiologist came in and administered an epidural soon after and the pain immediately lessened.  I was able to rest a little.  Then everything turned upside down.

Several nurses rushed into the room at once.  Aniston's heart rate had dropped dangerously low.  I was immediately given oxygen and told to get on my hands and knees as Dr. A was paged.  Dr. A quickly came into the room and sat at the top of the bed, leaning down to look in my eyes.  He explained that Aniston was in distress and that an emergency C-section was needed.  I was terrified--not of the surgery, but of losing her. Dr. A and all of the nurses were wonderful.  I was amazed at how organized it all was.  Everyone had a job and moved quickly.  The moments before the C-section were a blur.  I just remember thinking the whole time, Hurry, hurry, hurry! and straining to hear the beep-beep-beep of the monitor for Aniston's heart.

The operating room was a surreal experience.  Thankfully, I had the epidural and didn't have to be put under anesthesia for the surgery.  I prayed the entire time as I continued to listen to the beep-beep-beep of her monitor.  After they brought Bradley into the OR, I asked him to pray for us, too.  He sat by my head, and, even though the anesthesiologist continually encouraged him to look over the curtain, he remained seated through the surgery.  :)  (Later we would laugh about that, and he would tell me that there were some things you just can't get out of your mind, and that would probably be one of those images.)  I asked, "Is everything okay?  Is she okay?" over and over--I'm sure I drove everyone in the OR crazy with my questioning, but I was still so afraid of losing Aniston.  The anesthesiologist was wonderful during the surgery.  He kept a running commentary of what was going on, and provided the constant reassurance I so desperately needed.  Dr. A and the nurses laughed as they pulled Aniston out because she immediately yawned. And then she gave a single, loud cry.  It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard.  Her color was slightly off for her first few minutes of life because of the drop in heart rate, but she quickly "pinked up".  The nurses suctioned her mouth and nose, cleaned her up, and gave her to Bradley.  I can't even begin to describe how I felt when he carried her over to me.  We finally had our precious miracle in our arms!

So, that's the end of Aniston's birth story....and it only took three weeks for me to finish writing it!  I'm (finally) beginning to get a grip on things, and hope to blog more regularly in the coming weeks.  There's so much going on, and Aniston is growing and changing every day.  I don't want to forget anything, and the best way for me to record all that's happening is to blog...even if it's only a tiny post.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Few Things

Since I don't have time for full blog posts lately, bullets will have to do.  :)  I've always kept the blog as a kind of journal, and there are so many things going on right now that I just don't want to forget.

  • Life with a newborn is incredibly busy!  Honestly, I feel like we're on one big cycle--We feed Aniston, we change her diaper, I pump while she naps, we wash the bottles and the pump stuff, sit for a few minutes, then it's time to repeat the whole process.  It's wonderful, but exhausting!
  • I'm still working on the second part of her birth story.  It's probably way too detailed and long, but, again, I keep the blog as a journal.
  • Bradley goes back to work tomorrow.  I've enjoyed our family time, and I'm sad to see it end.
  • Aniston went back to the pediatrician for her second visit last Tuesday.  When we left the hospital on the 28th, she weighed 5 pounds 9.5 ounces.  On Tuesday, she was up to 6 pounds 3 ounces!  She had gained back all of her weight, plus one ounce!
  • On Friday we got a call from the hospital saying that they didn't draw enough blood from Aniston and her blood test couldn't be read.  Ugh!  I'm taking her back to the hospital tomorrow to have more blood drawn. :(
  • My two-week post-op appointment was today.  It's crazy to think that we're still two days away from Aniston's due date, and I had a post-op appointment today!  Dr. A said the incision looked pretty good overall, but had pulled apart in one place.  I already suspected that.  He wasn't too concerned about it and said it should heal on its own without any problems.  He also gave me a prescription for birth control pills.  Ha!  Birth control will help to lessen the symptoms of PCOS, and I had planned to go back on it for that reason anyway, but it was still such a funny feeling walking out of the office with a birth control prescription.  As Dr. A flipped through my chart and asked me what kind I was on before, I laughed and told him that it had been nearly four years--four years!--since I had last taken birth control pills.  I couldn't even remember the name of the medicine. 
Life is busy, but wonderful!  That's all for now!

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Aniston's Birth Story, Part One

    Walking into the doctor's office on Friday morning, I was expecting to hear one of two things: 1) the tests showed that I did not have preeclampsia and could return to work the following Monday, or 2) the tests showed that I did, in fact, have preeclampsia and would be put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear that we would be having a baby that evening.

    Bradley left for work that morning not planning to even go to my appointment.  He had a meeting at work, and I assured him that it was perfectly fine if he didn't go with me.  After all, I thought I knew what the doctor was going to say.  I had a normal morning here with the schnauzers and took my time getting ready, never once thinking that it could possibly be the last time I was in my home without a baby.  Right before I pulled out of the driveway, Bradley sent me a text telling me to meet him.  He had decided to go to my appointment with me and then go back to work.  On my way to meet him, I stopped by Bojangles to pick up breakfast (food for Bradley, only a drink for me because I always get so nervous before appointments).  Now, we are regular Bojangles customers, especially for breakfast on the weekends.  Because of that, and because the same cashier works the morning shift nearly every morning, when I pulled to the window he recognized me.  He asked about the baby, saying, "Isn't it about time for you to have that baby?"  I smiled and replied that, no, we still had three weeks left.  (Ha! Irony at its finest!)

    I met Bradley and left my car in the parking lot.  We went through the regular appointment routine--blood pressure, weight check, etc.  The nurse found that my blood pressure was high, and insisted that I lie down while we waited for the doctor.  Dr. F came in, checked my measurement and Aniston's heart rate, then leaned against the counter with his arms crossed.  The results from the kidney function and blood tests confirmed that I did have preeclampsia.  He explained that, while he would classify me as mildly preeclamptic at the moment, it could take a severe turn at any time.  I'll never forget the moment when he said, "The only cure for preeclampsia is to have a baby."  Everything stopped.  He went on to say that he would be doing some fetal monitoring that morning to check Aniston's size and ability to thrive as an outside baby.  Before doing the monitoring, Dr. F checked my cervix (2 cm dilated) and stripped my membranes.  I nearly died.  (That may be an exaggeration, but only a slight one.)  After I recovered, we were sent to the ultrasound room for a biophysical profile, and Aniston was checked for eight markers.  She scored 8/8 and was declared not to be in distress.  Dr. F met with Dr. A (the on-call that day) in the hallway and discussed what to do given all the information they now had. 

    Dr. F entered the room again and announced that we would be having a baby and Dr. A stuck his head in the door and told us he would see us soon.  We waited as Dr. F filled out paperwork and called the hospital, both of us in a state of excited shock.

    Aniston's Arrival

    I've been meaning to update the blog for a week now, but just haven't had time!  Our precious Aniston arrived on Friday, March 25 at 6:43 p.m. 

    I'm working on writing her birth story and plan to post soon!