9.14.2016

Ivory's newborn photos

I was so excited to have Photography by Kels take Ivory's newborn photos! We asked her around the same time I announced publicly that I was pregnant. She said she was already almost full by that time! That's how amazing she is--booking at least 6 months in advance.
Looks like Kelsey might be the first to find out about our next pregnancy!

Baby whisperer does not even come close to describing how amazing Kelsey is at newborn photography. She is an absolute wizard! I was a little nervous about this whole thing because I was sure Ivory would probably cry the whole time and worried I would be stressed, but I literally just got to sit on the couch the entire time and watch Kelsey do her thing. It was so relaxing! Watching her settle Ivory into a darling little bundle and keep her sleeping throughout the entire photoshoot was honestly amazing. She has such a gift. And please notice how many little headband changes she did! She asked me to pick a few that I liked, and I was just sorting through all the headbands and bows, subconsciously picking every single one I liked so she had some options, and then toward the end I realized she had used every single one! Hahah. We are absolutely obsessed with all of these photos and were so lucky to have had someone as talented as Kelsey around to document Ivory's tiny wrinkles and toes. I can't believe she was ever this small.

So my advice to everyone is to make sure you get newborn photos done, and book early!

Ivory Jane at thirteen days old. :)


 














 




























8.09.2016

Welcome to the world, Ivory Jane.

I can't believe I'm writing a birth story. I love reading blog birth stories and I always have. It still seems so surreal to me that I am the one on the keyboard. I'm a mama!

This is probably going to be long because I want to remember absolutely everything!

Thursday June 16 (36 weeks and 5 days pregnant) was the same as any other Thursday. I was anticipating the weekend and couldn't wait to sleep in and give my back a break from cleaning teeth. Cody and I planned on visiting family for Father's day, and I was looking forward to attending a close friend's wedding. I got through the work day, with the usual sore back. It was one of my co-workers last days working at our office and we were all going to Earl's after work as a goodbye. It was great and I ate way too much, but was feeling awesome. I gave someone a ride home, and arrived at my place around 7:00pm. I FaceTimed my mom and showed her my bump, then proceeded to eat even more. I had a hot dog, and then was amidst a bowl of Raisin Bran cereal (the tacos I had eaten at Earls clearly weren't enough dinner.. :) ) when nature called, of course... only this time was different. I finished peeing.... but the pee wouldn't stop! TMI? No? It was the weirdest thing! I knew that people said that you lost control of you bladder sometimes toward the end of pregnancy but this was just too weird. I realized the fluid was very clear and panicked a bit. It seemed to stop so I thought maybe I truly had just lost control of my bladder, but when I stood up, the water began gushing again. I yelled to Cody that I was pretty sure my water broke. His response: "Are you just being dramatic?" When I told him I wasn't, he jumped up and started racing around getting ready leave for the hospital. I was in a bit of denial still, and kept telling him to just wait. Sidenote: I had the intentions of packing my hospital bag so many times, but in all seriousness, I had the bag open on my bed and was planning on packing it that very evening. How ironic. Anyway, I went up stairs, changed my clothes (I have no idea why I did that because everything was just getting soaked). By this point I remembered I was at risk for cord prolapse and I sort of panicked. I remembered that a nurse had explained to me a few ways I could check to see if there were immediate concerns and I needed to call 911, rather than driving to the hospital and I was all in the clear. I wrapped a towel around my waist and grabbed a phone charger and my wallet (necessities, right?) and we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital. I called my mom on the way to let her know, and still for some reason thought maybe the baby wasn't actually coming yet and said to her, "I don't know.. it might not be the real thing". I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen.

We got to the maternity unit around 9:00 and they told us that triage was full. I let them know my babe was breech and they put us into a little room and immediately checked the heart rate of the baby. She was totally fine in there, so we began waiting for a room. Because I had a breech baby, we got to skip the line of people in triage and I was taken into a room super fast, which was great! They put me on some monitors and started an IV and let me know I would be speaking with the doctor soon! I wasn't in any pain at this point, and I also think I was still just in shock. I honestly have no idea how much time had passed when the doctor finally came in. It was maybe around 10:00pm when Dr. Watson came in. He was the ob-gyn on call that night. I had never met him, but he was so so nice. He noticed in my chart I had discussed some options with another doctor, and asked if I had made a decision by that point on how I wanted to proceed as it hadn't been noted in my chart. I told him I had the ECV booked for the next Monday, and he told me that since my water had broken, they could no longer attempt that, which I kind of had figured. He did a bedside ultrasound to check the position of the baby, but since there was hardy any fluid in there, he could hardly see but baby was in fact footling breeth (Dr. Fahey, you owe me your house!) and I told him I had decided I didn't want to try a vaginal breech delivery anyway, and he said he didn't recommend it at all and agreed with my decision. He started reviewing the details of a c-section with me, and honestly I felt so calm about it. Any fears that I had, he seemed to put to rest. He asked when I had eaten last, and I told him it had only been a couple hours. Since baby didn't seem distressed, he wanted to wait as long we we could to give my dinner a chance to digest as it could create some complications if I were to get sick from the anesthetic, which is common. He then said around 1:00am we would do the c-section. It was just so crazy to me! To hear that within 3ish hours, I would have a baby. Her birthday would be June 17th. He then said that if there were any changes and if there were any risks for the baby, he would do take her out right away.

So we began the wait. My mom showed up around 11pm, and Cody went back to our place to pick up a few things. I started feeling some lower back cramping around this time but it was fairly minor still. I realized after a while that I was starting to have mild contractions. They got increasingly more uncomfortable and by about 1am I was needing Cody or my mom to apply pressure to my back to help. They were coming about every 5-7ish minutes. The pain was definitely manageable at this point. Unfortunately, the doctor was delivering a baby down the hall and so my c-section was changed until 2am. I spent this last hour getting prepped a bit and asking the nurse questions. Finally 2am rolled around. Cody had changed into scrubs, and we walked to the surgical suite. I was so nervous! But also so surprisingly calm. Finally the anesthesiologist came to get me. He, my nurse, and I walked into the operating room. Cody wasn't allowed to come in until I had my spinal block and we were closer to the actual surgery and all prepped. I sat on the table with my back toward the anesthesiologist while he explained what was going to be happening at this point. Everyone was so wonderful at talking through all the procedures. My nurse was so helpful during the spinal. She held my arms and kept my breathing. Not gonna lie, that thing hurt. The pain was manageable though but it was such a strange sensation that I kept twitching a little bit, probably as he was hitting a nerve or something. Anyway, when that part was done I laid down and I immediately started going numb from my chest down. I didn't watch while they prepped me for surgery, but it all went so fast! I guess it took about a half hour to have me all prepped but I swear it took all of 5 minutes. Suddenly they were hanging a big blue sheet up and Cody was brought in beside me and it was time! I was so torn between wanting to know exactly what was happening on the other side of that blue wall, and so desperately wanting to be distracted. It was such a confusing feeling. I ended up asking Cody to just chat about something. I don't remember anything that we said, but I remember hearing someone reviewing my chart and the procedure, and the surgeon saying "ready to open". It is SO weird to know someone is cutting open your stomach and being fully aware and listening to the sounds and feeling pressure but not being able to see anything or feel the pain. The nurse reminded me repeatedly that I would feel pressure and tugging but not to panic and that was normal. Well, she was right. I could feel them pulling on me and I assume that was them pulling her out. Definitely no pain though. I felt heavy pressure on my chest which was so weird. I asked about it and they said it was probably referred from my abdomen. I heard lots of loud noises but tried to block it all out because I was mostly weirded out by what was happening. I probably have watched way too much Grey's Anatomy. At 2:49am they announced that she had arrived! I didn't hear her cry, and they said they would need to work on her a bit but to look over to the right to see her. Someone walked past and I saw my little dark haired beauty with her eyes wide open staring right at me. I immediately started crying as I felt this overwhelming sensation take over my entire body. I can't even describe it. They took her to the warmer and she was immediately surrounded by nurses. I wasn't sure what was going on but my nurse reassured me that everything was okay. Cody went to be with her while they closed me up. I guess they were deciding if she needed to go to the NICU or not. I remember my nurse coming over to me and tell me that she was doing fine, but was just very "chill" and they wanted her to be "angry". After a minute or two, I finally heard a tiny little cry. They said she didn't need to go to the NICU and she was breathing fine on her own (I later found out that she wasn't breathing and they had to put her on oxygen and suction everything out a bit.. apparently she was reeeeally squished inside me and it was hard to get her out. I'm so glad they didn't tell me that until after.) Anyway, I heard them say she was 5lbs and 15oz, and 18.5 inches long which was impressive for not even being 37 weeks.  I was so so grateful she didn't need to go to the NICU. They were closing me up at this point and I remember listening to the suction and lots of loud buzzing sounds, but I just kept my eyes on her little feet sticking up from the warmer she was on and it was the best distraction. They finally brought her over to me! My hands were shaking so bad I could hardly even touch her. Cody held her next to me and I remember putting my finger on her face and it was so so soft I could hardly feel it. She was perfect. Her eyes were open and she just kept looking into my eyes. It was so special to share this with Cody and I will never forget that moment.

They took me to recovery after I was all closed up and I was finally able to have her placed on my chest. She was just so tiny! I can not believe how much I was shaking! I remember seeing my leg for the first time since the spinal and being so weirded out that I couldn't feel it. It was over to the side further than I thought and I was so confused and felt so detached from my body. Such a strange sensation. Ivory's blood sugar was quite low so they had to do a couple tests on her, which was just as well because at this point I realized I was going to be sick. So it's a good thing we waited as long as we did for the c-section because there wasn't a whole lot in my stomach to come back up. Finally the anesthetic wore off enough, my stomach settled, and her blood sugar stabilized and we were taken back to our room. I had the best nurse named Rachael who was with me all of Friday and Saturday during the day, and also Sunday until I was discharged. It was actually terrifying for me to imagine not having Rachael take care of me. I was terrified to leave her! hahaa. My entire experience at South Health Campus was incredible and I was always so well taken care of. Ivory's blood sugar levels were stable throughout the rest of our stay, but she did have to have them checked every 3 hours for the first 12 hours and then every 6 hours for the next 12. That was a lot of little foot pokes. :( I was up on my feet by Friday afternoon and was able to shower by Saturday. I had heard so many awful things about c-sections, but when I heard other women labouring all night long, I was quite pleased with the way things turned out. Ivory only ever got down to 5lbs and 11 oz, which they said was only 4% of her birth weight or something which was so great because some babies lose up to 10%. On Sunday, we were finally allowed to go home!

Now here are some photos of the events.

Waiting to be admitted! I was surprisingly composed. Probably in shock.


Waiting for my dinner to digest so I could meet my little lady!


A snapchat Cody took of me walking into the OR with the nurse


Just a couple minutes old!

Getting her all bundled up so she could meet her mama


Meeting mama for the first time. 
This was one of the most surreal moments of my entire life.


First family photo! 

And another in the recovery room

I just love her squishy little face!


:)


So tiny next to dads finger.

This is actually a photo from later but you can see her bruised little feet from being poked so many times to have her sugar levels checked. Break my heart!


Next to Grandma's hand


Daddy's little girl. You can really see how tiny she here!

This picture cracks me up. Such a little peanut!



Finally home!

Up next will be Ivory's newborn photos which were done by Photography by Kels. They are absolutely amazing and I have wanted to post every single one on instagram so hopefully putting them up on the blog will make me feel better!



7.18.2016

The rest of pregnancy.

The last few months of my pregnancy were a whirlwind. A few things happened that I would like to document before I get to her birth story.

So the last time I posted I was 26 weeks. 

This is bump at 27 weeks.

We had another 3D ultrasound at the 29 week mark. We didn't get very good images because her face was so close to the uterine wall, but it was still so fun to see! 



It's hard to see her face at first. This is a side profile of her. She is looking to the right, and in front of her face is umbilical cord so that makes it difficult to interpret. Mostly everyone we showed had such a hard time seeing her face, so no worries if you can't. You aren't alone. Ignore the big black blob on the upper left. Its just a shadow, not a creepy eyeball monster.


If you are confused or unsure, you probably can't see her. It's like those optical illusion pictures. Suddenly you are like OHH I SEE IT. If you still can't, maybe just give up. :)

Things were going better since my sickness had settled and I was settling into a routine at work and at home. When I was 29 weeks, which was mid April, I was up all night with cramping and constant Braxton Hicks. I had experienced a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions over the previous weeks but everything seemed normal and I just carried on. But during this particular Saturday evening, the pain was starting in my lower back and I knew something was different. I had taken all the Tylenol I was allowed and the only way I could sleep was with a hot pack directly on my lower back, and even then I was waking up every half hour in pain. Early that Sunday morning I had a hot bath and everything seemed to settle. We had talked a couple times about maybe going into the hospital to get checked, but since she was still kicking away and things had settled, I opted to see my doctor on Monday. I took the day off work as I wasn't feeling great and a little concerned about what was happening. My doctors appointment was later that evening.


At my appointment that evening, they checked her heart rate and it was quite elevated compared to usual. Every visit her heart rate had been about 135-140, and it was up around 170. My uterus was extremely tense and the doctor was a little concerned just because there were a combination of a few things going on so she sent me to the hospital. At the hospital they did an ultrasound to check that my placenta hadn't detached and also confirm my baby was happy and healthy, and to check my cervix. Everything seemed quite normal, except my cervix had shortened a little bit to 2.4, which isn't horrible but still a little bit on the short side. We discussed the options of giving her steroids in case I was going into labour to help develop her lungs. I reeeeally didn't want this little lady to come at 29 weeks! I was stressed, but I noticed that the more stressed I got, the more contracting my uterus was doing. The doctor said she felt confident at that point not to give me the steroids quite yet because she didn't believe I was in labour but to continue monitoring things closely and I would have a follow up ultrasound in a couple days with strict instructions to come back if I noticed any changes, bleeding, cramping, decreased movement, etc etc.

At my ultrasound later that week, we had good news! My cervix was miraculously measuring at 3.2! They also told me at this point that my little girl was footling breech, but not to worry because I was only 29 weeks and she would very likely move into the correct position by the time she was ready to come. (ha.) Everything seemed good, except I was still having this tightening in my uterus. Now I had experienced many Braxton Hicks, but these tightenings were lasting up to an hour, sometimes and hour and a half. They weren't painful, but a bit uncomfortable. When they were accompanied by lower back cramping, that wasn't a good sign. But I hadn't experienced the lower back cramping like I had earlier that week for a few days. Since they were confident that there were no serious problems, they sent me home, but I wasn't allowed to be at work. Her cord was also down in my pelvis and I was at risk for cord prolapse so if my water happened to break she could suffocate from the pressure on the cord cutting off her oxygen supply. I was so stressed about all the possible things that could happen, but all at once, I had an overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be okay. I was told I needed to stay off work until at least 34 weeks, just because putting extra stress on my back and uterus would cause it to contract more and we needed to let it relax as much as possible as we didn't want my cervix to start shortening again. 

30 weeks.

31 weeks.

 I had a follow up ultrasound at 32 weeks, and things continued to improve. My doctor didn't see any reason why I couldn't be back at work. My cramping had subsided. My uterus was still acting out, and they only explanation they could give me was that it was possibly what they call an "irritable uterus", and wasn't causing any problems unless it was shortening my cervix or starting labour. Basically they were just going to watch me closely with routine ultrasounds. It was such a relief to even have made it to 32 weeks at that point. I knew even if I went into labour, she would be so much better off than she would have been at 29 weeks. Obviously we wanted her to cook a little bit longer though.
At this point, their biggest concern was the fact that she was still footling breech. Her head was jammed under my ribs and her feet were tap dancing on my bladder and cervix all day and night. They had me scheduled for another ultrasound at 36 weeks and if she was still in the same position, they were going to refer me to a high risk ob-gyn and I would have a consult about how to proceed. 

34 weeks.
  
35 weeks

Also 35 weeks.

This was after a walk with Cody. I felt ginormous! I was obsessed with watermelon for basically all of May, and ate watermelon three meals a day. So I thought I was being funny with that caption. Walks were so frustrating because I would have to pee about 10 minutes in. Then my uterus would contract.. and then I would have to pee even more. So annoying.
 I can honestly say that besides the back pain, having to pee so often was the most frustrating part of my pregnancy. I had to plan my entire life around a bathroom. 
Example.
Pee.
Drive to superstore.
Pee.
Get all the groceries as fast as I could.
Pay.
Pee.
Home.
Pee.
I'm not even lying.

Okay. Back to my story.

The morning of my 36 week ultrasound (Friday June 10) I already knew she hadn't budged. I could feel her head in the same spot and I knew her feet were still kicking away on my poor bladder. I went to the ultrasound and wasn't at all surprised when they told me she was in fact still footling breech. I had an appointment with my doctor that afternoon, where basically I was just referred to a high risk obstetrician. I would have that appointment the following Monday, June 13.

Here is little munchkins squishy breech face at my 36 week ultrasound. 

That appointment was so stressful. The obstetrician was super nice and informative but I have never felt so overwhelmed in my life. She laid out my options. Basically, I could have an ECV, which is an external cephalic version. In this procedure, they manipulate the baby on the outside by pressing on my abdomen/uterus and try to get her to move into the right position. There were a few risks, mostly that there was a chance that I could go into labour, the baby could get stressed, my water could break, etc. Also, the procedure was quite uncomfortable, and there was the chance that it wouldn't even work. Because it was my first pregnancy, I only had a 25% chance that it would be successful.

My next option was to attempt a vaginal breech delivery. My doctor said it was actually very unlikely that my baby was footling breech as it is very rare. If she was in fact footling, this option wouldn't be possible. My doctor actually bet me her house that she wasn't footling.. (ha. should have got that in writing..) again she explained the risks associated with this option, and I would possibly end up needing a c-section anyway. It seemed that there were so many risks for the baby with this option. When she started talking about the risk of my little baby coming out with bone fractures, I lost it. I pictured my innocent girl starting her life with a broken arm and it was so upsetting. There were other risks for the baby that she was listing, but by that point, I was hardly even taking anything in. It was just so much information and I was having such a hard time processing.

The last option she reviewed was a planned c-section. Again, she listed all the risks, which seemed to mostly apply to me. Longer recovery, significant blood loss, damage to other organs, etc. Anyway, the doctor was great and explained everything very thoroughly, but I just needed time to process and think. I went home feeling quite emotionally drained. Cody and I prayed about our options and both felt strongly against attempting the vaginal breech delivery. I know that for some people, this would have been the right option, but it just wasn't for us. We wanted to give our baby the best shot at making it here with minimal trauma, and there were just too many risks associated with the vaginal breech delivery. We decided we did want to give the ECV a shot, although the chances of it working were minimal. I did want to try my best shot at having a normal labour and delivery. I booked the ECV for Monday June 20. We decided that if it was unsuccessful, we would go ahead and book a c-section.

We felt confident in our decision, and although it wasn't exactly how I pictured my labour and delivery, I knew that everything was going to work out.


Here I am, feeling large at 36 weeks!  You can also see that the nursery is still not ready.. that among other things..
Pack your hospital bag early people.
You just never know when little ones will make their appearance!

3rd Trimester Symptoms:

back pain. no matter what size bra I would put on, it hurt my back/ribs.
rib pain on my right side. a constant dull ache. likely because there was a head jammed under them.
heartburn
frequent need to pee
ridiculously thirsty
swelling. not severe, but enough that I didn't recognize my ankles and could no longer wear my wedding rings.
hot. we had a heat wave in June for about a week and basically I didn't think I was going to survive.
Spoiler: I survived.