Thursday, March 13, 2014

a {baby} story

He's here!
Our precious baby BOY is here:

Graham Collins McKinley
March 8, 2014
5:58 p.m.
7 lbs 11 oz
20 inches long

And, in case you hadn't heard, he made quite the entrance into the world!  But before we get into those details, let's rewind a few days, back to Thursday, March 6th.

At 4:00 p.m. we arrived at Dr. Crouch's office in Payson for my 39 week check-up. I had realized early in the day that if this had been Avery's pregnancy...the baby would already be here (since she was eight days early!) but I really wasn't in pain at all, so I mostly just wanted to make sure that the due date was correct...and not a few weeks off :)  Everything went well. Heartbeat? Check. Head down? Check. Dialating? Check. (I was at a 3.) As we were walking out, Dr. Crouch reminded me to schedule my 40 week appointment (though he was highly confident he'd see us at the hospital before then) and we were on our way.

Since his office his located adjacent to the Payson Hospital, we decided to get pre-registered and go on a quick tour of the labor & delivery floor so we could better explain to the kids where we would be when the baby decided to come. The nurse on duty showed us around, the kids got drinks & oreos, and things were starting to sink in. This is where we were having our baby!! I just couldn't believe it.  Before heading home we stopped at Costco for some much needed groceries and by the end of the night, I was feeling much more prepared for baby to come.

Friday seemed to creep ever so slowly (by this point, every day seemed to get longer & loooonger!) and finally, Danny was done with work and it was officially the weekend! We headed to the High School to cheer on Juab's first ever official soccer team and were so glad we went; Juab pulled out a win against ALA, 3-1! We came home, whipped together this delicious & super easy chicken pesto pizza, and gobbled it up before packing up for the weekend. I had a "favorite things" party to attend at my friend Kim's, Danny had a "guys night" up in Layton with some high school buddies, and Saturday morning our niece Julia was getting baptized!  Since we knew the due date was drawing near, we packed the baby's car seat, the hospital bag, and the kids' overnight bag with us (in our new van!!) and we were on our way!

The party at Kim's was wonderful; it was great to see so many of my wonderful friends & it's always fun going to a favorite things party (plus, the waffle bar was incredible!) Everyone had amazing product suggestions and I walked away with some delicious smelling spray from Victoria's Secret and a new pair of earrings & bracelet combo! Many girls in that group have given birth naturally so that was the main topic of discussion and by the time I left, I could not wait to deliver this baby. (Is that weird?)  I told Danny all about it on our way up to Layton and we arrived around 11 p.m. Danny helped transfer the kids to their beds...and then was off to party with his friends into the wee hours of the night (such a smart thing to do the night before having a baby, let me tell you! ;)

I was exhausted so as soon as Danny left, I crashed. But it was not the restful sleep I was hoping for. I was tossing & turning all night, waiting for my husband to get home, worrying that something had happened to said husband, having occasional contractions, tossing & turning some more, and eventually switching beds altogether to try and get some sleep. When I finally woke up, things felt different. I assumed that the baby had dropped (there was so much pressure down there!!) and I just had this feeling that today was THE day :) When Danny's mom saw me she said, "You've got the look!" and I told her to get ready for another grand baby!

Other than feeling different though, nothing else was going on, so we got ready for Julia's baptism & enjoyed her special day.  Contractions were coming about every ten minutes or so during the talks but it wasn't until we were eating donuts & fruit that people started taking me (somewhat) seriously water broke!!

However, it wasn't the kind that you hear about all the time. Nothing major, just a small gush. I was pretty confident that it had indeed broken (especially since I had just used the bathroom) but after talking to Danny's sister (a pediatrician) we decided it would be best to pack up and head to the hospital. Since we wanted to deliver in Payson, with the doctor that we have seen throughout the entire pregnancy...we had a long ways to go! (Aka: 1.5 hours!!)

We had to run back to Danny's parents to grab our bags, kiss the kids goodbye, and have Danny give me a blessing. I felt really good about things; and we were on our way! The drive down to Payson was crazy. Danny was a madman flying down the freeway (He hit 104 at one point! Haha!) but every few minutes I'd leak a little (or a lot!) more, so we were convinced if we got pulled over, we could talk the cop out of it :)

By the time we made it to Payson (around 1:30 p.m.), I was completely soaked, and contractions were coming about every 6-10 minutes. I didn't want to walk myself in, so Danny rushed in and grabbed a wheelchair.  Looking back, I really, really wish we could have gotten our entrance on video :) We zoomed into the hospital, I was laughing, and we joked about them sending us home because I wasn't in enough pain :)  We went straight to the labor & delivery floor and after our grand entrance there was not a soul in sight. Danny wheeled me to the bathroom to get cleaned up & use the bathroom again and in the meantime, he tracked down a nurse and got our room situation under control.

Bonnie was our nurse & she was fantastic! So happy that she was the one on duty that day. After getting changed into the beautiful hospital gown, I got in the hospital bed, answered a bunch of questions, and Bonnie got ready to check me. However, it was at this point that I knew something was up. "You're dilated to a five!" she said. "But when was the last time you met with Dr. Crouch?" It had just been two days prior. "Because I am not feeling a head down there. I think this baby is BREECH."

My heart seriously stopped for a moment. The thought of having a breech baby had never even crossed my mind. Not in the slightest. Every appointment I'd had with Dr. Crouch for the last few months, he has mentioned how the head has been down! Bonnie wasn't certain though so she called Dr. Crouch in so he could double check. It took him about half an hour to get in (it was Saturday, after all) and after re-booting their super old ultrasound machine, it was confirmed to me once again that this baby had different plans in mind.

Dr. Crouch was stunned that the baby was breech. We all were. The more I think about it, I think that Graham may have flipped the night before and that's why I woke up feeling so uncomfortable. But who knows?

At this point it was about 2:30 (or maybe 3?) and even though Dr. Crouch knew that I wanted to deliver this baby naturally, he explained that the safest & recommended route would be to deliver the baby via c-section. But, he said we could decide to try and deliver the baby breech, but we would need to sign consent forms because it would be against hospital policy.

He left Danny & I alone to discuss things and let's just say I hope I'm never, ever faced with that decision again. I wanted so so badly to deliver naturally, without any type of pain medications, and having a c-section would ensure that absolutely none of those things happened. However, the thought of risking it seemed like a selfish thing to do, even though the odds of anything bad happening were extremely low. Dr. Crouch came in during this time to discuss options with us even further.

Basically, we had three two options:
1. Get a c-section.
2. Deliver the baby breech.
3. Try and flip the baby.
(Because my water broke, this was no longer an option. The amniotic fluid levels were extremely low, and trying to flip the baby under those circumstances could cause harm to the baby, but the main danger was with me: ruptured uterus being at the top of the list.)

He explained that 97% of the time, breech babies are just fine, but 3% of the time, the head gets stuck & suffocates or gets brain damage. Apparently there are three criteria you need to meet in order to try and deliver a breech baby (it can't be your first pregnancy, the feet need to be up by the head to ensure that the bum comes out first, and you have to get an epidural in case any complications arise & an emergency c-section has to take place).  I met all of the criteria (they double checked and the feet were up by the head!) minus the epidural part, but decided that an epidural would be much more favorable than a c-section.

We talked for a long time, I cried & cried & cried some more, we called Krista (my good friend who was going to take pictures & help out) to let her know what was going on, and Kristina (Danny's sister, the pediatrician) to get her expert advice, and lastly, I called my mom. After discussing things with Danny a little longer, and praying a little more, we decided to deliver the baby breech. And we prayed with all of our hearts that if something horrible was going to happen, we would receive a prompting to change our minds, and go ahead with the c-section.

I have no idea how much time had passed for all of that to happen (it was probably around 4), but Bonnie & Dr. Crouch were extremely supportive and I never felt rushed into anything. When Dr. Crouch came back in, we told him our decision and he was happy to move forward in that direction.

Contractions were getting stronger, but since I had planned on delivering naturally, I tried my best to relax (under the stressful circumstances) and they never got too bad. At about 4:45 the anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural. He didn't have the greatest bedside manners, and I swear he poked me at least four times, but eventually, he finished up...and then Bonnie checked me again.

I was at a NINE and instead of feeling sweet little Graham's BUM, she felt his ELBOW. That was not a good thing to feel. And immediately, things got intense in the delivery room. Bonnie shouted out to call Dr. Crouch (who had run home), and started calling for multiple doctors & nurses to prepare the c-section room. It really is all such a blur, but basically, Graham was totally twisted. They think he must have realized something was wrong, and he tried turning on his own, but things were progressing at a faster rate than he had time for. His elbow/back were trying to come out first & that just wouldn't have worked out.

A second anesthesiologist came in and explained that since I had just gotten my epidural, I wasn't fully numb so he was going to inject a second set of drugs into my IV. I was scared, sad, totally caught off guard, and felt so totally alone as they wheeled me down the hall to surgery. I realized that this may have been an answer to our earlier prayer ("If something horrible is going to happen, we would receive a prompting to change our minds...") but it was still very hard to come to terms with.

On my way into surgery I was shaking & unbelievably cold. And the drugs? They made me basically useless to the world. I was trying so hard to keep my eyes open, to stay awake, to be aware of my surroundings and what was going on, but I failed pretty miserably. I think my eyes were closed the entire time & I felt so out of it. Danny was standing right behind me the whole time, but I still felt so alone. So many nurses & doctors working on my exposed body, cutting me open, tugging & pulling, and the pressure. The pressure was insane. It took them a long time to get Graham out. Not sure why, but I found out later that a typical c-section baby is out in 1.5 minutes. Graham took 3.5 minutes to get out. He was all sorts of twisted & the doctors were confident that this was the only way we would have gotten him out alive.

I wanted the entire room to shout out what the baby was (it was a surprise after all! We had waited 9 long months to find out the gender!) But it was very anti-climatic. I heard some of the doctors talking & the nurse whispered to Danny, who then relayed the message to his very out-of-it wife..."It's a Boy!!" Though I couldn't see any of this, Danny said the doctors were frantically working on Graham & the feelings were pretty tense in that room. He had already pooped before coming out, and parts of his body were failing to pink up. It seemed like forever before I heard his sweet little cry, but thank goodness I heard it. Finally, Danny was able to bring Graham over to me, and I tried with all my might to keep my eyes open so I could see his little face I thought about that face a lot in the following hour & a half. It took that long for me to see him again :(

// Graham Collins McKinley has got some red in his hair! Everyone is always a little surprised to see that :) //

// My heart instantly grew the second I saw his face. What a sweet boy he is! //

// Told you I couldn't keep my eyes open!! //

// So far, Graham holds the record for our biggest baby! //

Once they got me put back together again, I asked them to bring blanket after blanket. I was so incredibly cold. They transferred me to my hospital bed (I was useless to help at all) and again, I felt so alone. (In case you didn't know, that's a horrible way to feel right after delivering a baby.) Danny was good to stay with Graham for all of the tests, etc...but it was pretty upsetting to find out that they had bathed him before letting me see him again. (Couldn't that have waited?!) 

Graham was born at 5:58 p.m. and at 7:30 they brought him to me. I was finally feeling less drugged up (thank goodness!) and it was incredibly wonderful to have that little boy in my arms. I was so worried about waiting so long to nurse him, but he latched right on and things have been mostly smooth-sailing ever since. (Ok, not really. Nursing is hard. But, like most things, it will get easier with time, right? :)

// Be still my heart! //

And that is how Graham Collins McKinley was born.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

the miracle of motherhood

It is kind of blowing my mind that we are going to have another BABY any day. My "official" due date is March 13th and although I'm totally fine to wait until then (or even after! How fun would it be to have a St. Patty's Day baby?!) I'm trying to prep myself for it to happen at any moment. Avery came eight days early, and Max was we shall see.

I can't really think about anything besides this baby (and a non-medicated birth!!) so here is a little walk down memory lane of the last nine months:

// august 12, 2013 //
(Hello blonde hair!!!)
We were relieved when I finally threw up for the first time! Since I never threw up with my previous pregnancy (when I miscarried) we were really worried that another miscarriage was going to take place.  Never have I been so happy about throwing up :)

// september 9, 2013 //

// september 11, 2013 //

// september 12, 2013 //
Whew! Three "selfies" in a row! I went through a short (three day) kick where I took pictures almost daily for the app CineMama. I had good intentions of taking them all throughout my pregnancy...that didn't last long!

// october 16, 2013 //
The little babe seemed to pop over night! Being pregnant is the best! :)

// october 31, 2013 //

// december 6, 2013 //

// december 12, 2013 //

// january 3, 2014 //

// january 30, 2014 //

// february 24, 2014 //
Almost there!!!

// march 2, 2014 //

My sister-in-law, Missy & I are two weeks apart exactly! (She is due March 27th!) They are having a little boy so everyone is very anxious to find out what we are going to be blessed with.

I am continually amazed at the miracle of motherhood and am so, so excited to welcome this baby into our family. Life has been a little crazy lately (Max is extreeeeemely clingy and Avery has discovered how to throw a legit tantrum!) but I have a feeling this little babe will help us all reset and re-evaluate our priorities (let's hope so anyways!)

In the meantime, send positive thoughts my way!!! I'm really, really hoping to deliver this baby without an epidural and though I've read & prepared a bunch...I'm still feeling slightly nervous :)

Stay tuned!!!