Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Her Birthday!! May 22, 2013

(pic overload.  #sorrynotsorry)

I know that this post is LONG overdue, but I really want to capture the memories that I have of May 22, 2013!  I have so many other posts already in "draft" form, but I wanted to get this one posted first...and there is just SO MUCH to remember.  It was overwhelming.  Oh, and I have a newborn at home.  HA.

 The day before the birth, my mom & Ben's parents came into town. We had a nice dinner together and then headed back to the house.  I knew (all day) that my blood pressure was elevated, but was ignoring it and not ABOUT to go to L&D and have her early.  I was having her on May 22, dang it.  We had fought SO long to get to this point...I didnt even want to consider having her a day early...and not get a GREAT last meal with our families.  Ha! 

My little sister, Steph, came into town, too but didnt get into town until around midnight.  We saw her long enough for her to see my huge belly and then tried to get some sleep.  My c-section was scheduled for 7:30 in the morning, so Ben & I had to be at the hospital at 5:30, which means that we left our house around 4:45.  YUCK.

When we checked into the hospital, everything went SO quickly.  For previous surgeries, you normally sit there the majority of the 2 hours just waiting.  I assumed that we would have some time w/ our families and that we could have a prayer...but NOPE, everything went FAST.  From the time we got into the pre-op room, SOMETHING was happening.  I was having horrible heartburn, so they gave me something in my IV, but then also offered a liquid medicine that would work faster.  I do NOT do good w/ downing liquid meds that taste bad, but I was having BAD heartburn, so I was willing.  I should have known it would be bad when the nurse handed Ben a throw-up bag before leaving the room.  It didnt smell too bad.  It actually smelled like a grape tongue depressor, so I got the courage and threw my head back and managed to get about half of it down.  HOLY THROAT ON FIRE.  This stuff burned like the DICKENS and was HORRIBLE.  It was no grape tongue depressor!  I coughed and managed to hold it down for about 5 seconds before it all came up.  After puking, I did manage to swallow the other half and keep it down.  The nurse said it was prob good that I went ahead and puked so that I got everything up and didnt puke during the c-section. 

The busyness never stopped and before I knew it, the anesthesiologist was coming in for my epidural.  UMM...I was not so much a fan of this!
Ben had to leave the room and I instantly went into convulsions!  Seriously, I was SO scared that my whole body was shaking.  I kept apologizing, but the nurse said it was normal.  I leaned into her and the epidural went in.  I did NOT like that feeling that it shoots down your spine.  It is impossible to explain, but to say that it was just so strange and odd feeling.  Shortly after that, they wheeled me into the OR and Ben came in wearing his scrubs!

The anesthesiologist wasnt in the OR with me, but there was an older man who was the anesthesiology nurse.  At first I was thinking "who is this crazy old man?" BUT, he was my FAVORITE person of the day!!  He kept our minds off of what was happening, but kept us informed.  He made us laugh and prepped us for what was coming up.  He was just fabulous & I am SO thankful that he was there!!!  He is the one that calmed me down when I started getting claustrophobic from not being able to feel anything from my chest down.  He kept me from panicking and reminded me to focus on my breathing (you cant feel yourself breathing, so I literally had to keep watching my chest move up & down) and he distracted us...somehow we ended up talking about my allergy to watermelon.

Pretty soon, we heard "Oh, a foot!" and I think a foot popped out before they were ready (remember, she was breech).  The next thing we heard was "well, its definitely a girl!" and we breathed a sigh of relief.

The male nurse is also the one that told Ben to get his camera ready and point it to the clock to get this shot:

She's HERE!

My first sight of her.  It was THE MOST surreal moment.
From across the room, while they were checking her out, we heard "She's blonde and feisty!" That's our girl, we already knew that about her!  The first time I saw her was SO surreal.  SO much of it was...but seeing this baby a few feet away and not really feeling her having been taken from my was just strange.  I, of course, teared up the minute that they said "she's out!" but knowing that she was out and seeing her were 2 different feelings!

Finleigh Grace Stephens
7 pounds 1 ounce 19 1/4 inches long
May 22, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Our first family pic!

My OB.  Dr Richards, aka Doogie Houser.

Skin to skin
 Once we were back in the pre-op room, the hospital was great about letting she & I sit skin to skin except when they had to examine her.

Those cheeks.

 Pretty soon after, we were wheeled up to our hospital room.  We had already told our families what room we would be in & they met us there.  When they wheeled us up, she was still on my chest, so they got a quick glimpse of us as we went into the room.  I made eye contact w/ my sister & almost cried again.  We THOUGHT that they would be right in to get to see her & enjoy her...but that didnt happen.  This was all around 10 AM, maybe before?

As soon as we got in the room, they got me in the hospital bed and had the baby nurse come to assess the baby again.  They found some issues w/ her respiratory levels and werent happy with her breathing, so they took her to the baby nursery and said they would bring her back as soon as they could.

Well, they KEPT coming back and saying that they werent happy with her levels.  That it could have to do with being born via c-section and having mucus still in her system...but they were monitoring it.  We waited.  And waited.

Our families finally went to lunch and we still waited.  I ordered my "liquid lunch" while they enjoyed The Cheesecake Factory.  Nice.

During this time, my friend, Lauren, stopped by to visit.  We had asked that visitors wait until the following day, but had given Lauren permission to stop by!  However, it stunk b/c the baby wasnt even in there and wasnt even visible from the nursery windows.  She was in a back room or something.  We visited for a bit before she had to leave to see clients.

Finally somewhere around 3PM, she got to come back in our room.  They ended up suctioning her again and the nurse said she had an "impressive" amount of mucus still in there.  Once it was all gone, she was fine. FINALLY, she came back!

Somehow I thought I was looking pretty good that day.  False!  (and I so dont care!)

Finleigh and Grammy, Ben's mom

Finleigh and Grampy, Ben's dad.

Finleigh and Nana, my mom.

Paparazzi much?
Finleigh and Feff

Feff was there for Bryson's we were so honored & excited that she came for Finleigh's!

I'm not exactly sure about the paper towel on my head?  I guess I was hot?

May 23rd (I am not going to go through each day, but I am going to post several stories on different things that happened while we were in the hospital)

Thursday, May 23rd's outfit
Pain Management:
This is an important one!  I had an epidural with my c-section.  NORMALLY, the Dr would have left the epidural in and running until the next morning (turned down so that the feeling returned, but helped w/ pain) at which point they would start getting me up & moving.  HOWEVER, because I had a previous DVT (blood clot) we wanted to take extra precaution and I was VERY motivated to get up and moving SOON.  SO, after the c-section, he turned off the epidural and ran another med through it.  I dont know what this med was, but it didnt work so well.  I had a horrible couch (went into the hospital having just finished an antibiotic b/c I was getting SO sick the week before...more on this later!) which only made the pain WORSE!  They kept asking my pain level and I kept saying 7 or 8.  I have a pretty high tolerance, so it wasnt bugging me too bad, but it hurt A LOT.  I just assumed it was supposed to.

A couple of times, they had me sit up on the bed and one time I stood up.  This took a LOT of work, people.  Gracious.  It was HARD! I still had a catheter in so I couldnt go anywhere, they just wanted me up...and I wanted to BE up.  But only for a second.  Finally around 1-2AM they gave me a shot of a new pain med combination that worked GREAT and finally took the edge off.  We kept the baby in the room until around 2AM when we finally realized that we werent sleeping and we sent her to the nursery.  SLEEP! 
At some point the next morning (5-23), they started getting worried about my "bladder output" and said there potentially could be some damage.  Umm...excuse?  They checked and worried for a few hours before they actually told us how concerned they really were.  The only unsure factor was that the pain meds that had FINALLY worked could cause this decrease in "output."  So, here we go changing meds again. The downside?  It made me EXTREMELY nauseated.  It was around this time that I started throwing up.  Frequently.  Of course, this only helps the pain, no?  Well, I had only been allowed to eat liquids, so it wasnt too just happened a lot.  So, we are on pain med combo #3 and problem #3.
Ben's parents got to the hospital first Th morning and Ben had gone to get breakfast (or to the bathroom? I dont really know...but he was gone for a while).  They were holding Finleigh when I realized that I was about to be REALLY sick.  So, I had to ask them to leave...but put the baby down...and pass me the "tub."  It was a great start to the morning.  A nurse came in and sat w/ me until Ben got back and my nurse came.  Throwing up alone in a hospital room isnt super fun, PS.
FINALLY, around lunch, they decided to try a NEW protocol of meds.  They took out the epidural and we found a dose of 2 pills that finally started working.  FINALLY.  I was able to eat lunch and hold it down.  And by eat lunch, I mean slurp my liquids. I actually ate this lunch sitting in the chair in the room.
They also decided to go ahead and take the catheter out b/c the output had picked up a LITTLE.  My nurse told me that I needed to go a certain ammt the next time I used the restroom or they would put it back in.  I started chugging water at this point!  I also started getting up and moving more.  When I used the restroom, I not only hit the "goal," but I almost doubled it.  My nurses laughed...I was NOT ABOUT to get that catheter put back in.
After my c-section the nurses inform me that I have to be on a liquid diet.  There are 2 levels of liquid diet and I was on the strictest.  So, for Wed and Thursday I lived on chicken broth, jello, fruit "ice" chillers, and water.  I remained on this through the day on Thursday and was STARVING by the time I saw my Dr later that night.  I asked him when I could move to the less restrictive diet and he looked at me like I was crazy.  He said " have NO restrictions.  Thats just the nurses being old school."  Excuse me? I could have had a burger?  Granted...the liquid was prob best on Wed & Th morning b/c I ended up getting so sick...but still, a real meal would have been nice.  Dinner was OH SO good that night.  For hospital food, of course.
 May 23rd...the morning after.  BEFORE my shower.

Wednesday night, Ben stayed at the hospital.
Thursday night, my mom stayed and Ben went home to get some sleep and let Rustee smell the blanket we had wrapped the baby in.
Friday night, Ben stayed.  My mom left before dinner this night and we had a lot of alone time.  Ben went to Red Hot & Blue right down the road and brought back a spread for dinner.  We had our first family dinner there in the hospital while we watched a movie.  (pics will come in an upcoming "firsts" post)

So, we knew that breast feeding would be up in the air.  I had a MASSIVE reduction in 2001 and we didnt know what glands, if any, had been saved.  SO, we wanted to give it a try, but knew we would have to supplement (best case).  The nurses and lactation consultants were GREAT and SO understanding and supportive.  Of course each one has the schedule that they think is we tried SO many different things.  I was attempting to feed her, then pumping while Ben gave her a bottle.  We took our own bottle so that she would get used to the ones we had. 
We also took the paci that we wanted her to use and she took to it RIGHT away.  In the womb, she was always licking/sucking something and she is NO different outside.  Still.  She NEEDED something to suck she has used these from day 1.

Hands ALWAYS by her face.  Still.
She looks like Feff's baby pics here!

I was pumping, but not really getting anything.  There would be SOME condensation inside of the pump, but nothing to "save." A few times, we swiped it w/ our fingers and gave it to her, but nothing to collect.  The pediatricians and nurses were so encouraging, though, and said that that was SOMETHING so there had to be ducts connected in there somewhere.  We kept trying.  FINALLY, Friday night we had some GREAT success.  Thursday and Friday night we had "Nurse Carol" and we just ADORED her.  She was SO SO SO great!  She helped us figure out our schedule with feeding and sleeping.  Friday night when I pumped, we got enough to collect in a syringe.  We had just sent the baby to the nursery and we didnt even know what to do with it!  HA!  So, we called the nursery and they came down, collected the colostrum in a syringe and took it to the baby.  We were so happy!  From that point on, I didnt get very much...but there was something.  Sometime over the weekend at home it even started turning into milk. Again, not enough to feed her...but SOMETHING.
She was born at 7 lbs 1 oz and went down to 6lbs 4 oz in the hospital.  This doesnt seem like a lot, but it was enough that they were keeping their eye on her.  It's crazy, b/c we kept calling her a CHUNK while I was pregnant, but then she came out this petite little thing.  Granted, she was 3 weeks early...but it took her a while to start chunking up.
Her cheeks, though, needed no time!

Leg things:
Because of the previous DVT I also had to keep those leg pressure things on.  You know, those things that pump air and keep the circulation going in your legs?  Normal patients do not have to wear these once they are up and moving...but I had to wear these at all times unless I was going to the restroom or taking a shower.  I do love that my Dr was so cautious!  They were hot, though, and it was hard to get up and go to the restroom.  I couldnt do it on my own...which was annoying at  night.  I had to wake up Ben or my mom anytime I had to get up and then again when I got back.

The nursery:
I do love Presby's "on call" nursery.  If we wanted the baby in the room, it was up to us...but anytime we wanted them to come get her, they did.  This was SO helpful and there was NO pressure to keep or send her.  Some nights we kept her until 1 or 2 AM and some nights we sent her at 10.  They brought her to us for feedings and in the morning...but would keep her while I showered when we asked.  It was GREAT!
Thursday...still pre-shower.

Not sure if she wants to be here.

Friday, May

"My baby is funny colors"
Friday morning, my mom and I were in the room (Ben hadnt gotten back from the hospital, yet, from going home) and I was breastfeeding the baby.  I looked down and noticed that she looked I just stared at her for a few seconds.  I finally said "does she look funny?" to which my mom said "YES! Give her to me!" so we jerked my PURPLE baby off of me and mom held her out while I called the nurse's station.  They didnt answer right away, so I was in the process of dialing the nursery (umm...can I just say how inconvenient and HARD it is so DIAL the nursery in a moment WHEN MY CHILD IS TURNING PURPLE).  They both answered about the same time and I just yelled out "My baby is turning funny colors!" and within seconds there were nurses in the room.  When mom grabbed her, she had started all was fine.  But OH MY GOODNESS.  I lost it in the blanket that I had her wrapped in. It was SO hard the rest of the day...and for days to come.  I was SO worried that it would happen again.
Later that night, when we were sending Finleigh to the nursery to sleep, I was relaying the story to Nurse Carol and TOTALLY lost it.  Like sobs.  Sweet Nurse Carol reassured us that they would watch her and explained why it prob had happened.  No one else had explained it.  It was so reassuring at that point.  I'm sure that she is used to emotional moms, but she was so very sweet to me, too.  I was in hysterics, I tell ya.

Sweet my sweet miracle!
My little diva. (seriously, those hands are ALWAYS by that face!)

Saturday--GOING HOME!
My Dr had reassured us that we could go home on Sat OR Sunday, which ever we wanted.  We chose to go ahead and go home on Sat b/c Ben's parents were coming back in town (they had left Th for a wedding and then came back) and his sister, Jennifer, was coming into town.  We wanted to visit at HOME and not so much in the hospital.  So, after lunch, getting my staples out, getting a DTAP shot, and plenty of paperwork, we were on our way!  I was up walking around when my Dr was making his rounds, so we went back to the room to answer any questions that we had.

Our room:
When I was in the hospital in March for bed rest.  I had a pretty nice room.  We assumed that this one would be similar.  It had a mini fridge, a nice TV and a "built-in" thing around the TV with shelves and drawers.  The bathroom was LARGE and had a walk in shower and a large vanity area.  It also had a couch under the window that folded down into a single size bed...not the MOST comfy, but OK.  When I was in pre-op before my c-section I asked something about the room and if it would be the same.  The nurse, bless her heart, laughed/snorted and said "OH HONEY, we call those rooms 'hotel presby' around here." Basically, NO, it would not be the same.  The room I was given, 508, was much smaller.  The "couch bed" was just that...a couch that you could lay on (MUCH better than a reclining chair, but not as good as the one in March).  There was NO fridge and NO shelves or drawers. Just a closet.  OK...what am I supposed to do with our clothes?  They dont hang up...and I just had SURGERY, it's kind of hard to bend down to the floor and reach our suitcase.  The room was pretty small, but the bathroom was VERY small.  The bathroom had a tub & a toilet.  The sink and vanity were out in the room and right by the the side that we kept the breastpump, food tray, and iv pole.  There wasnt room for much else over there.  We had to use this sink for washing bottles, pump pieces, and our hands.The worst part, though, was the tub.  No walk in shower w/ a chair in it.  A TUB.  After having a c-section the LAST thing I want to do is PICK MY LEGS UP OVER A TUB.  It honestly was the hardest thing!  Because there was no sink in the bathroom, there was nowhere to put my clothes or anything that I needed while in the shower.  It was hard to deal with!!  We learned to love our little room & now know what to expect...but maybe by the time we have another (Lord willing) all of the rooms will be "hotel presby." :)
Her coming home outfit (made by Holly, embroidered at a place by my house and bow made by me)

I mean...seriously!!

Info from the Dr:
-Although my pain was a LOT better, I was still having a BAD burning on one side.  This was ALL normal as the Dr said there were about 12 layers of stitches under there.  Other than that, I was feeling pretty good.
-Dr Richards told us on Sat that the surgery that I had in 2007 (myomectomy) is THE TOUGHEST recovery of any surgery that he performs as an OB and GYN.  Even tougher than a total hysterectomy.  I went into this c-section EXPECTING it to be similar.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much easier the recovery was!  I had tough moments and tough days ahead (another post)...but overall SURGERY-wise, it was pretty easy.
-Dr Richards said that my uterus looked good.  Better than he expected. He could see where it had been repaired before, but that we were ALL GOOD to have more kids. (WHO talks about more kids 3 days after having their first?!?)
-He said that as far as the fibroids uterus was LARGE.  In a normal patient, they take the uterus OUT of the body to stitch it up.  They couldnt get mine they had to stitch it up while inside.  This was due to the large fibroids at the top.
-To remove these fibroids, it will take another we are in prayer that they do not cause any bad symoptoms.  More myos means more cuts into my uterus and potentially fewer options for children (c-sections).

Little bitty girl in a big ol' seat!

Popples & Nana (my parents)

My dad:
When we got home on Saturday, my mom & Ben's parents were all in town along w/ Ben's sister.  Ben's parents and sister were staying in a hotel since Finleigh's room took away a guest room!  My dad was planning on coming the next weekend.  My mom would still be in town, but there would be less people and more time for him to have with the baby.  WELL, after she came & my mom started sending him pics he started saying how much he wanted to come for the night.  He was driving to W. Monroe on Sunday for some business, so he really "couldnt."
OBVIOUSLY based on the pics...he came anyway.  My mom asked me if it was OK for him to come b/c he was just really wanting to see her.  OF COURSE!  I didnt think that HE could fit it in & assumed he was OK waiting a week. He apparently was sad that he was the only grandparent not there the night she was coming he decided to come for the night and then get up and go to WM the next morning.  It was fun having them all there!

I read several things about introducing baby to dog.  One thing that I read & that we did was wrap the baby in a blanket and then take that blanket home for the dog to smell before the baby comes home.  Ben brought a blanket home w/ him the night that he spent at home.  Rustee was not very interested.
Another thing I read suggested undressing the baby and laying her in the middle of a blanket and letting the dog sniff her.  We tried that.  He was not very interested.  BUT, was super excited to see his daddy.  He was a bit too neurotic to focus on one thing b/c there was SO much going on.

He did, however, decide to try out her car seat!
Auntie Jen, Ben's sister
We have NO words for what this time meant to us!  Not only had we waited and prayed for 6 years to have this baby, but we waited and prayed for 11 weeks to KEEP this baby inside!!  WE MADE IT...and only because our God is AWESOME!!!!  We love our little miss SO much and love how much everyone else loves her!  She is God's goodness and grace wrapped up in a tiny package and reminds us everyday of his faithfulness.  I cant wait to share more of her with you...because she is so much fun and just the best!!

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