Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who Do I Look Like?





When Brayden was born, we couldn't figure out WHO he looked like. But after looking at baby pictures, my mom was convinced he looks more like me. As he's getting older though, I can definitely see some of Drew in him. Who do you think he looks like?

** I guess I should add that the top pics are Brayden on the left and Drew on the right (at 5 weeks). The bottom 2 are me at 5 weeks and me in the hospital.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On My Own Again.


The only song lyrics that came into my head are in the title, however the next verse should definitely be left out, because I CAN wait to be on my own again. For the past 2 weeks my mom has been here to help us out as we adjust to life with a newborn. She has been a literal life saver; laundry, cooking, cleaning, has all been taken care of. Even the little things like making sure my water jug was full by the recliner in the morning when we got up... I mean, she's about as awesome as a mom gets in my opinion. But like all good things, it had to come to an end. Tears were shed this morning, and knowing that they live further away doesn't make it any easier. Brayden's already grown up so fast in just the 2 weeks that she's been here... just thinking about how much he'll change until the next time they see him is almost heartbreaking! But as mom says, count it a blessing to be so sad when family leaves. There are those who can't wait to escape from the presence of their family, and I am so glad we're not in that category. Gigi-- we LOVE you and can't wait to see you soon!

My Labor Story. Finally.

I meant to type this out 2 weeks ago, when things were fresh on my mind and I could still taste the lingering effects of horrid hospital food, but alas, time is precious when you have a newborn, and for some reason sleep was more appealing than penning my emotions and feelings of laboring our first born son into the world. If you can bear through what could be a long book, please read on. And for those of you who have not experienced childbirth, I shall warn you I hold no stories back; to me there are 2 tragedies in the journey of life: people tell you marriage is amazing but fail to tell you it's the hardest journey, and they also fail to tell you anything regarding childbirth (or the horrors afterwards) until you are already knocked up and it's too late to turn around and ask for a different path in life. Don't get me wrong, I love Drew and I love being married. I also LOVE being a mom. However, as in any truly satisfying thing in life, there are hardships that you have to fight through to see the rainbow on the other side. This thought in and of itself could become a book, so I digress. My labor story, if you may:

Wednesday April 8th started out like most any normal day; I prepared for my weekly appointment with my OB, fully prepared to hear that I hadn't progressed any on my own (it was bracing myself for the worst). Ofcourse, I was not wrong and I was still 2cm dilated and she said "getting closer to 75% but not quite there". In an effort to get things moving naturally I agreed to let her strip my membranes (basically she just disattached the amniotic sac from my cervix. The process can release hormones that help the cervix dilate and efface, therefore triggering labor) and went on my way, with an induction date of April 14th if nothing happened before then. I figured that walking several times that day couldn't hurt things, so I did 2 complete laps around the promenade, came home and did 2 laps around the neighborhood. After the 2nd walk around the neighborhood I came home to make dinner-- a healthy grilled turkey and cheese sandwich accompanied by mixed spring greens and topped off with a brownie for dessert. During my dinner I noticed that I had piercing pains-- so bad I could barely walk. So at 8pm I started timing these pains... They were 3-4 minutes apart and 45-60 seconds long. I think the reason that the pains were different than my Braxton Hicks is that they wrapped around my entire abdomen, piercing my back. Think horrible menstrual cramps accompanied by someone stabbing your lower back. Yeah, I know. Makes me cringe even thinking about it now. At about 8:30 I messaged my friend Alaina through Facebook for some sympathy. What I got was a "Linds, I think you should call the hospital." Not really the answer I was looking for... I couldn't be in labor. Drew was at class, I had not completed packing for the hospital, and my family was not answering any of their phones. By 8:45 I messaged Alaina again and she again told me to call the hospital. I still was in denial, so I decided to call my best friend Stephanie. She told me to GO to the hospital. OK, OK. 2 moms who have been there done that are telling me it's time to go, perhaps I really am in labor. I emailed Drew (he doesn't have text but gets emails straight to his phone so I know he can read that while in class) a message that says (I actually copied pasted my original email: "I am having REALLY strong contractions about 3-4 minutes apart for the past 40 minutes. I need you to help me time them as soon as you get out of class."
That's all I wrote to him... LOL. He calls me immediately and says that he is on his way home. At 9pm I decide to call the doctor on call. Surely she'll tell me this is just because my membranes have been stripped and it's just false labor. She says to keep timing them for 45 minutes and to come to the hospital if they are still going strong. Great. I can't even get off of the freaking couch without keeling over in pain, and I need to pack. Drew's not home, and no one is lined up to take care of Toby, who I might add is in a great deal of distress seeing me in pain.

Drew got stuck in traffic on the way home, so he didn't get home until close to 9:30. At that point I knew we'd be going so I directed him to all the things I still needed in my bag and Brayden's bag, told him what to pack for himself, and had him call our friends Tim and Candice to see if we could drop off Toby on the way to the hospital. Once everything was packed we loaded up and got to the hospital at about 10:50pm. I was placed in Triage and checked upon getting my my glorious hospital gown (to make matters worse, the gown they gave me was a nursing gown, so my boobs flaled out of the gown every time I moved!). My nurse told me she didn't think Brayden was as engaged as my doctor had thought and I was barely 60% effaced, and STILL only 2cm. I was not progressing on my own at all, even through all of the HORRID contractions! I was on the verge of tears at this point because the pain was so bad in my back. The doctor on call ordered Stadol to see if that would lessen my contractions (they actually use Stadol to see if you're in false labor-- if you are your contractions will stop). The stadol did take the edge off (if you can even call it that) but my contractions were still coming strong. By about 1pm they gave us the option of either going home and coming back in the morning or staying there and starting pitocin as soon as the anesthesiologist came in (the doc didn't want to start anything with me since I was already in so much pain). I gave Drew the option since I knew either way I wouldn't be sleeping. He chose the hospital after some advice from Stephanie (who had been in touch with us throughout the evening) and so we were checked in. I was given another dose of stadol (did I mention this is a narcotic) and was knocked out enough to sleep for about 2 hours.... then they came back. It was all I could do to TRY my breathing and hold on to the bed rail as Drew did counter pressure measures on my back (thank goodness for a birthing class!). I kept telling the doctor, Drew, the nurses, whomever that I couldn't imagine doing this without pain medication. EVERYONE agreed :)

At 8:30 the anesthesiologist came in and started the epidural. At first I felt the needle go in so he had to renumb my back. I know it sounds bad, but you have to remember that by this point I've been having back labor every 3-7 minutes for 12 hours-- a prick in my spine is nothing compared to what I have had to endure thus far. After he renumbed me he administered the epidural (Drew told me later that he had to poke the needle in 6 times because my vertabrae are so close together... I didn't feel a thing!) and it was SWEET RELIEF. From there my nurse told me to rest because I would need the energy to push. Drew kind of asked her what we were looking at as far as when Brayden would come and she said she thought that by late afternoon.

They started pitocin about 45 minutes after the epidural. Before she started it she checked me and I was already at 3cm. My body was dilating on it's own finally! I closed my eyes and basically slept the rest of the day, only being woken up for checks.

I was checked at 10:30am by the doctor; before she checked me she said if I had progressed enough that she would break my water. At that point I was 4cm dilated and about 80% effaced. The pitocin was working! I saw the nurse picking up the amnihook (the utensil they use to break your water) and asked if they were breaking my water. The nurse, Drew and the doctor all looked at me and said "your water broke on it's own while she was checking you!" LOL. I hadn't felt anything... my anesthesiologist was AWESOME!

I was checked again at 12:15ish by the nurse and I was 5cm and close to 90% effaced. They were all REALLY pleased with how well my body was responding to the pitocin. Drew asked again when she thought Brayden would be here and she still thought it'd be late afternoon. At this point my parents were on the road, and everyone was on high alert. I was still sleeping :)

At 1:30 the doctor came in to check me with the nurse. As they lifted the sheets they both looked at each other and said, "oh." I was so out of it I didn't really think anything of it; but as she checked me she said I was complete. When she was done I asked her how many more centimeters did that mean I had to go (I thought that she meant I was only 100% effaced). She said "no hun, you're ready to push!"

At that point I kind of panicked. I was mentally prepared to deliver a baby late afternoon. When my parents were there and everyone was white knuckled with anticipation and I had gotten a decent amount of sleep. Remember what I had eaten the night before? It was a small meal in comparison to what I normally eat. That's all I was allowed to eat from then until I delivered Brayden, so my blood sugar was LOW and I had the shakes. I was scared. Drew on the other hand, bounces up from the pull out sofa, starts opening windows, texting people, gearing up cameras and grinning bigger than I had ever seen. He told me to smile, that we were about to have a baby, and that I should be happy. I responded with this:

At this point he realizes that he should probably just be a bit more calm and stand next to me. So he started holding my hand, and didn't let go until Brayden had arrived.

Besides the pain of the back labor, pushing was the hardest part. I definitely agree with people that the only downside of an epidural is that you can't really feel how you're pushing. I mean, they're telling you to push like you're pooping, but when you can't feel anything below your midsection, it's hard to differentiate a pooping sensation from you just feeling like you've popped every blood vessel in your face! I pushed for 45 minutes and Brayden was born. I am SO glad that he came that day and not a moment later... I think anything bigger I might have had problems with my pelvis, because as it was the doctor said that he was a bit caught on my pelvis. Thankfully the nurse I had really knew how to get me to push a certain way to get him out.

I walked away from labor with only a second degree laceration. Every muscle in my body ached for days afterwards, the fruit of hard pushing. I told a friend you basically feel as though someone beat you with a baseball bat for hours on end, and they specifically spent a great deal of time whacking your nether parts, so that it feels like you should waddle for the rest of your life, and sit at a 45 degree angle so as not to place any pressure on your bottom. However, it still was not as bad as I thought it would be, and I lived to tell about it, so I am sure I'll do it again! I definitely recommend an epidural... I wouldn't have had the energy to push had I had to breath through every contractions for the next several hours, and I am convinced that my body was just not able to relax on it's own, thus stalling any progress it was trying to make before I got to the hospital.

So there you have it, my labor story. Now I am off to get a quick nap before it's time to feed again.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hi. My name is Brayden. I am a chunk.


Brayden had his 2 week checkup today. Apparently his love for milk is growing... he now weighs in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces. He's definitely working on his triple... LOL! Dr. Davis said that he just has good groceries :)

Brayden got to meet my sister Megan yesterday... he loves his Aunts! We're doing good... definitely a little sleep deprived, but still loving every minute of it! Brayden has his good nights (6+ hours of sleep) and bad nights (3+ hours of sleep), but overall he's a very content little guy. For only being 2 weeks, we really can't complain!

Friday, April 17, 2009

More pics

Things are still going really well. Drew wanted to do a photo shoot when he was home from work this morning, so we attempted. It's crazy how much they grow and change just in 2 days... it makes me so sad! He's a lot more alert than he was just a few days ago, so I am so grateful that my mom convinced me to go ahead with a photo shoot earlier this week-- today was A LOT more difficult! Even though I am completely sleep deprived and my house is a wreck, I've already told Drew I want about 10 more kids. He thinks I am completely nuts! I feel like one of those people who gets a job they are just completely in love with... I finally am able to do exactly what God created me to do. Being a mom and a wife completes me in ways I cannot describe.


In his daddy's arms

so sweet

our little family

the 2 loves of my life

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

indescribable love


my heart in a human body: indescribable

A couple of Firsts


proud grandpa

meeting Gigi & Poppy

already buddies

my 3 boys

going home!

ready to leave his first doctors visit

first family photo

Time, you can stop now.

I find myself 5 days out of the birth of our baby boy and already feel the longing for time to stop. I have loved every second of motherhood, even the nights that are long, the frustration because my right breast is just not as good as my left (to my son that is!), a poopy diaper just after changing, and ofcourse, the apparent lack of sleep every new parent experiences. Things have gone incredibly smooth (knock on wood) and relatively uneventful thus far. Since writing about the days in paragraph form would cause the blogger servers to crash, I'll list in bullet point form my personal favorite highlights of each day:
*Wednesday, April 8th: complete denial that I was in labor. It took my good friends Alaina and Stephanie to convince me that the excruciating back pain I was having every 3-4 minutes apart was indeed labor and not some crazy workout I had done (I had gone on 2 longs walks in order to "move" things along).
*Thursday April 9th: Scott, my anesthesiologist (aka as pregnant woman's savior) administered my epidural, and I was able to sleep until 1pm. 1pm was told I would start pushing soon. 2:34 the most beautiful baby boy was placed on my tummy.
*Friday, April 10th: Brayden learned to latch! Yay!
Saturday, April 11th: we were discharged in the morning, and Brayden slept through everything.
Sunday, April 12th: Brayden's first easter.
Monday, April 13th: Brayden's first outing. He got to go to Sam's club with Gigi and mommy. Ofcourse, he slept through it all.
Tuesday, April 14th: first doctors appointment. Brayden gained 8 ounces since leaving the hospital, topping his birth weight by 5 ounces (he now weighs 7lb, 5 oz. and has grown 1 inch). While being weighed he pooped all over Drew (squirting poop-- it was AWESOME!) and peed all over me. He also endured his first (of many more to come) photoshoots.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cutest Hog Fan


Brayden arrived Thursday, April 9th. Labor was quick (relatively speaking) but an interesting ride... I will post more of that story when I have the energy to type :) We are both doing good-- he is such a content little guy and we feel so blessed to be given the gift of life! Thanks for all of the prayers and congratulations. I will post more when I get home and can conjure up words and energy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Update

Today marked my 39 week appointment with my doctor. I had braced myself assuming there was no change, so as to not let the drop off be too bad. I am still 2cm dilated and between 50-75% effaced. I asked my doc how big she thought Brayden is and she said he's around 7.5-8 pounds. My biggest fear is him getting stuck in my pelvis-- Lord knows I am not blessed with wide hips. My doc agreed and said we really didn't want to go too far over my due date. I told her I really didn't want to go over my due date at all, and she said she could induce me next week if I wanted. SO.... membranes are swept in hopes to get things started on their own (we are hoping, as is the doc, that he'll arrive this weekend), but if not, we are to report to L&D at 6am on Tuesday. I am very ready to meet our little guy, even though it all seems a bit surreal. I'll keep you posted if anything changes before next Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

President Bush 41


Last night I convinced Drew to bring me to the lectern where President George HW Bush was speaking. It was a free event, and so we kind of just made it a date. For an 84 year old man, President Bush sure does have a great sense of humor! We had a blast... I wish I could figure out how to get the blogger video upload to work-- I got a video clip on the President doing an impersonation of Ross Perot... HILARIOUS! So now I've seen the 40th president in person (LSU graduation back when I was a little kid) & the 41st president. I am hoping that I will get to see George W in person sometime as well.

Here's a video of President Bush answering a question about if he thinks that in 2012 we will be divided into 3 parties (based off of comments made by former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich). About mid-video President Bush impersonates Ross Perot. Love it!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

8 long years are almost over

In May 2001, Drew decided to join the Army National Guard. I was very much against this move, because, as you are all aware, I always think of the worst possible thing that could happen. This ofcourse in the Army, is that Drew would have to go to war. However, we'd only been dating a few weeks, and so at that point, my opinion on the matter was not significantly important. Besides, as Drew would point out, the Guard was created for national disasters, and the last time a unit was deployed was the first Gulf War. Nothing like that would happen. RIGHT.

Summer of 2001 Drew was at Basic Training. Oh the thrill of phone calls (only the ones he would win in PT... the ones they granted him were torture-- 2 minutes with a drill seargant in your ear the entire time... we both cried on those and I told him to never call me back on a 2 minute phone call!), letters & random roses left on my parents front porch. He got home that fall, and my fears became our reality.

Drew was deployed 2 weeks after he returned home from his trip abroad for school and AIT in the summer of 2002. I will never forget that night that he got home, as it went from ecstasy to complete horror when we found out he was leaving in 2 weeks. We were engaged in the middle of that deployment, and got married a couple of months after he came home. Thankfully the news of the 2nd deployment was rumored for a while, so we were braced for it long before we ever got news. Drew was deployed again in 2006 for 18 months. This was the longest we had gone without being together, however in my opinion (and probably Drew's) it was an easier deployment.

My opinions of the military are bitter sweet. I am not one of those people who think that we don't need a military; unfortunately it's a necessary evil in this day and time. I also think (and am so grateful) that we need men who will step up and make sacrifices for our country. Our family however, could not accept that calling long term. I HATE the pomp and circumstance, the politics involved (or moreso the "good ol' boy system" in the Guard), the constant time away, and the constant fear of being called up for a deployment. Being a military family is HARD, deeply political if you actually want to make a career out of it, and constantly fluctuating. It is not compatible with our family goals. This is why I am so grateful, so excited and so relieved that today marks the last day of drill for Drew EVER. He has fought the fight and ran the race and he is FINISHED. Ofcourse, we still have 1 more month in the Guard before official papers are released (and as anyone who knows anything about the military, you really don't hold your breath till you get those papers-- and then you hold on to the papers like they are GOLD!), but I am so proud of Drew for finishing strong. WAY TO GO BABE-- YOU DID IT!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm....

STILL PREGNANT!!! Clever little title, but I thought I'd make a knock off since several people thought it would be funny to spoof everyone on April fools with fake pregnancy announcements.

This morning was rough for me. I haven't slept well in several days due to Brayden laying on a nerve near my groin and/or constant peeing, so I was just a wee bit cranky and really wanted to hear good news. I have walked and tried several other things to get this baby moving along so I figured I would have AT LEAST effaced a little. Oh no... no change. Lovely... just what I want to hear after I have been manhandled down yonder :) She did confirm that he had dropped (as if the terrible groin pains I've been feeling haven't been confirmation enough). He's at a -2 station (for those of you who don't know, the stations refer to where your baby is in reference to your pelvis. It basically starts as a -3 and goes all the way to +5. When the baby has entered into the pelvis but not yet into the cervix is 0). I was so frustrated. I think my doctor kind of felt bad for me, and she offered to sweep my membranes. And no, I don't even fully comprehend all that that entails, other than it's supposed to hurt a heck of a lot more than the internals already do. With me being only 38 weeks, I really don't want to rush things, and I definitely want to minimize my risk of having a c-section. When I told my doc that, she said to wait on the membrane thing until my appointment next week. The only good side to the appointment is that I get to see her 2 days early next week (weekly appointment is on Wednesday) due to her being out of the office on Friday. So, I only have to wait 5 days. Hopefully the wait will result in good news; otherwise next Wednesday could be another long day of frustration for me. I've decided maybe instead of ME trying to do things to get him out, that we should all start praying. God is bigger than my walking shoes.

So, if you think about me and baby, please pray that he will come on his own and COME SOON! I already get up every 2 hours, am exhausted throughout the day and feel like a complete lunatic; what's a few dirty diapers and filling the extra time with breast feeding-- atleast I'll have something cute to stare at, or to quiet down, and then what little sleep I do get could be on the comfort of my stomach, a sensation I haven't felt in what feels like YEARS! Don't get me wrong, I love being pregnant, and I love feeling Brayden move inside of me. But I am ready to meet him. To see him and to touch him. I am ready for all of that. So let's all join in chorus and pray he comes soon.