October 29, 2010

Dear Claire. . .

These past few nights have been, we'll say, interesting. 3 nights ago you decided you wanted to wake up at midnight, 2 am, 4 am, 6 am, and 8 am to have me feed you. Luckily, your dad is a super star and held you off until 11:30 am so that I could get a *few* precious hours of shut eye. Then 2 nights ago, you slept from 2 am until 6:30 am. Mama rejoiced. So did dad. It was a wonderful night. But last night. Oh last night. You just didn't want to go to bed. So you decided essentially pulling an all-nighter was on the agenda. I fell asleep nursing you every time. Once again, your dad is a super star and he held you off with a bottle this morning so that I could get my much needed sleep. If not for him, I would be in a walking zombie state as we speak.

But Claire, I want you to know something else, besides all the craziness of late night feedings and sleepless nights. I want you to know that as I held you before I went to bed last night, I looked at your precious face and felt my heart swell with gratitude that you are ours. Never in my life have I felt this kind of love toward someone. You are special. So special. Your daddy and I feel so lucky and so privileged that Heavenly Father entrusted you to us. We know you're destined to be something great, and the task to teach you everything you need to know is daunting, but we're up for the challenge. You have never been so loved by two people as you are loved by your daddy and I. So although these sleepless nights are tough on mom, she still looks at you with complete love and adoration every time she drags herself out of bed to feed you. Seeing that precious face is all I need to remind me how lucky I am to have you. I love you so much little Claire!



*Notice the white uggs! Thanks Bonnie, we LOVE them! :)*

October 17, 2010

Introducing: Claire Calaway

The fact that I had this baby 3 weeks early is probably just as much of a shock to you as it has been for me. I figured that I would go full term, but after pushing a little 6 lb baby out, I am incredibly grateful she wasn't any bigger. :)

Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, I noticed I was having some pretty hard contractions. Harder and more painful than anything I had experienced up to that point in pregnancy. They were inconsistent, at best, so I just figured it wasn't that big a deal. I wasn't terribly worried or concerned. Saturday morning, Dallin asked me if I wanted to go to the gym with him, but because I had been up some of the night with contractions, I was pretty tired and decided I wasn't going to go with him. Then, right before he left, I noticed I had quite a bit of fluid leaking out of me and it was tinged with blood. Once again, I figured I was just getting to the end of the pregnancy and wrote it off as not a big deal. I got in the shower and then all the sudden I started having contractions that were rocking. my. world. I had to lean up against the wall and just concentrate on my breathing. After I got out, I sat down and drank a bunch of water, thinking that would help, but they just kept coming.

I finally started considering the possibility that I was, in fact, in labor and thought about calling Dallin at the gym, but figured he would be home soon enough and then we could head to the hospital. (Yeah, I know, I'm kinda dumb.) Then I got a text from Dallin asking me if I was feeling any better from that morning and I replied I thought I was in labor. He couldn't believe I hadn't called him, but things hadn't seemed that bad. Then suddenly, the contractions started coming fast and furious. I suddenly thought, "I wonder if we're even gonna make it to the hospital!" Dallin got home from the gym and we sprinted (read: Ashley waddled) to the car and hit every green light to the hospital. Hallelujah. I had a couple hard contractions on my way to the hospital and then as I was checking in, I had a few more. I was in so much pain at this point that I just wanted to get into a room and have an epidural as quick as was humanly possible. A triage nurse came to get me and led me to a room to check me out, explaining that she just wanted to make sure I was really in labor. This whole time, I am thinking, "if this isn't labor, then just shoot me now, 'cause it can't get any worse than this!" I got undressed and into my hospital gown as fast as I could, and she checked me (which was about as uncomfortable as all get out, holy crud!) and then she looked at me with shock in her eyes and said, "you're dilated to a 9!! We're moving you into your own room NOW!" I was kind of shocked, but not really, because of the amount of pain I was in. I asked the nurse on the way to my room if I was too late for an epidural (which I figured I was) and she said they MIGHT be able to get me one. Then she asked, "what's your plan for pain management?" Just then I had a contraction and I blurted out, "the epidural! That was my plan for pain management!!" She just started laughing. Luckily, I found humor in the situation as well. :)

They got me into my room and the nurses were just scrambling everywhere. I kind of felt bad. But then another contraction would hit and I didn't feel so bad anymore. I just wanted to be out of my misery. Those contractions were so hard and the urge to push was starting. My doctor came in (she was AMAZING. LOVED her) and she checked me and said I was actually more like an 8, not a 9, so they were going to get the anesthesiologist in to me STAT! :) He came in and gave me my epidural and within 15 minutes, I was in heaven. I also received an amazing blessing from Marcus and Dallin and things went smooth from there on out. I pushed for about an hour and a half, got hung up on her high little cheekbones, then out she came! The doctor flipped her over, asked Dallin if he wanted to tell me what it was, and we were both so overcome with emotion when he said it was a girl. They plopped her on my stomach, she started crying (we were already crying :)) and the rest is history.

It's been a crazy roller coaster so far. This is the hardest, most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. Claire came to this world at 6 lbs. 3 oz. 18.5 ins long and left the hospital at 5 lbs. 12 oz. She dropped further down to 5 lbs 8 oz. and we were getting pretty scared. I was supposed to go to Claire's pediatrician on Wednesday, but I got a call Tuesday morning at 8:00 telling me they had a last minute cancellation and asked if I would like to come in for a 9:00 appt? For some reason, I felt I needed to say yes and we went in. That's when we found out that Claire had dropped to 5 lbs. 8 oz. and that we needed to pretty much start shoving food down her throat or else there were going to be negative consequences. So, we did just that, and are continuing to do it now. Our pediatrician was so inspired to call us to fill that appointment on Tuesday. If we had waited til Wednesday, I don't know what might have happened. I think Claire could have potentially been in big trouble. He said for some reason he just remembered the name Claire Calaway and thought of her to fill that appointment. I know there were higher powers at work in her behalf. For that, I am truly grateful.

So now we have feedings that are 2-3 hours apart all day everyday and after I feed, I pump like it's nobody's business! :) She's back up to 5 lbs 15 oz. and, the way she has been eating lately, she'll be up to her birth weight in no time flat. Meanwhile, I'm not getting much rest or much of anything done, but I am loving my new job as mommy. It feels so weird to have a daughter and know that she is ours. Dallin is probably the worlds best dad and is totally in love with Claire. He sits with her on his chest all the time and loves on her all day long. I think it's pretty safe to say that she is just as smitten with him as he is her. We both think she is the most beautiful baby that ever graced this planet (of course, we're not biased at all) and she continues to wrap us around her long little fingers everyday. We're so blessed and are loving every moment of this new journey.

Oh, and we just moved yesterday to a new apartment in our building so that Claire would have her own room. No big deal. We could NOT have done it without the help of my wonderful angel mother and Claire's two biggest fans, Marcus and Ash. With their help, we were able to move apartments and get everything cleaned and squared away. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Marcus, Ash and Mom. We love you guys and appreciate you so much!! I especially want to thank my mom for all her help this week. She has fed us delicious, healthy meals, has run errands for us, helped me with the late night feedings so that I could get a little extra sleep and was super mom/mother-in-law/grandma all week long. I couldn't have made it through this first week without her. I love you, Mom!! Now Valerie, we need you here to fill the grandma void. :)

So, here are some pictures from the first week of little Claire Calaway's first week of life.

Claire's Favorite Place: Daddy's Chest

She's already starting to suck her thumb!

October 5, 2010

No Good, Very Bad Day

I've been feeling exceptionally sorry for myself today. I've been frustrated, annoyed, irritated, sad, and had a string of four letter words continuously running through my brain. Shocking, I know. (Or not) So, this is my attempt to try and get me out of my funk.

I realize my situation right now is really not pitiable at all, nor am I looking for any of you to tell me it is, because if we're being honest, I'll be fine in a couple of hours. Just chalk it up to hormones. I've thankfully escaped the crazy roller coaster of hormones that some women are plagued by when they're pregnant and, for the most part, have been exceptionally happy. I've had a good attitude about most things and have just rolled with the punches, because I knew I really had no other choice, so I may as well enjoy my time, right? Well, today I guess things have just caught up to me. I don't sleep well at night anymore and haven't really for about a month and a half, so I am in a constant state of tiredness. And even though I probably shouldn't, I worry constantly about this baby inside me. I feel it move almost all the time, but if I notice it hasn't moved in a while, I freak myself out, wondering the last time it moved. Then I think of all the possible defects it could have once it's born and I wonder, "am I ready for all this??" Needless to say, that's not helping me at all either. And maybe, just maybe, the fact that we're still in Washington and I'm not near my doctor has me stressed out too. Because I am almost 37 weeks, and therefore, almost considered full term. So there you have it, my grievances all laid out there for you all to see.

But really, I would be an ungrateful brat if I didn't tell you all the wonderful blessings I have in my life. I have an amazing husband who works so hard to provide for me and this baby and loves me, despite my many flaws. We have two working vehicles that get us from point a to point b quite comfortably. We have clothes on our backs with plenty to spare. We have our health and really good health insurance just in case our health takes a turn for the worse. :) We are so lucky to have musical abilities and the opportunities to share them with others. We have incredible family members who support us in all we do and amazing parents who offer their homes to us whenever we need a place to stay without complaint. And, as far as I know, we have a healthy baby inside me who loves to kick and play. There are so many more blessings I know I'm not mentioning, but I'm feeling better now. :) So as you can see, I am incredibly blessed and am so grateful for this life I lead. Even though it doesn't always turn out the way I think it will, and there are twists and turns, I just have to keep up an attitude of gratitude. So I will try to be better about that. No promises though. :)