January 25, 2013

Midnight Musings From a Sleep Deprived Mother

I'm typing this all out on my phone as I sit and feed the worlds hungriest newborn. He's growing like a weed. A very cute, chunky weed.

This morning before Dallin left for school, we were talking about how we wanted to look like we did 5 years ago- when we started "talking". We both commented that that seemed so long ago, that it was almost hard to remember. I specifically said, "I can't really remember what it was like, just the two of us. It seems like we've been parents forever." Dallin wisely responded, "it was good. This is better." I whole-heartedly agree.

Even with the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the stretch marks and the growing pile of laundry that seems to multiply by the minute, I wouldn't trade this job for anything. I live for the moments of Claire giving me kisses and telling me she loves me, the moments when Declan is half asleep and smiles and giggles, Claire jumping off the couch yelling "to infinity and beyond!", getting lost in the deep blue eyes of Declan. Being the mother of these two children is the most difficult, rewarding job I will ever do, and I love it.

These two and Dallin are my happy ever after. They're the ones I get to spend eternity with. The ones I want to go "to infinity and beyond" with. This is my dream come true.

January 6, 2013

Declan Henry Calaway: A Birth Story

Declan Henry Calaway was born on December 30, 2012 and has proceeded to melt everyone's heart with whom he has come in contact with. He weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs 4 oz and was 19 3/4 ins long. I say whopping, because he was 2 lbs heavier than Claire when she was born. Granted, he came 2 weeks later than she did, but still! Anyway, here is his story. Pull up a chair and get comfy, it's a little long!

I went in to my Dr. at 36.5 weeks for my strep B test and weekly check up and was fully expecting him to tell me that I was at least a little dilated and maybe a little effaced as well. Since I had delivered Claire at 37 weeks and 1 day, I just figured this little man would come the same time she did, which was totally fine with me, as my 37 week mark was after Dallin was done with classes. My Dr. didn't disappoint! I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced! I left the office that day contracting hard and feeling like this little boy would be here soon, only to have the contractions stop that evening and not resume again until about a week later.

At my 37.5 week appointment, I had my Dr. check me again and lo and behold, I was a 4 and 90% effaced. He was convinced I was going to have that baby the next day, and to tell the truth, I was pretty sure that was how it was going to be as well. He told me he wasn't even going to wish me a Merry Christmas, because he just knew he would see me in the hospital before then. Well, Christmas came and went and I was still very much pregnant. At this point, I just decided that I was going to make it to my due date, as disheartening as that was to admit to myself. I felt I was going to be pregnant forever and told Dallin as much. He just laughed and assured me that I would not. I wasn't convinced.

The day after Christmas, I went in to my 38.5 week appointment, and once again was checked. I saw a different Dr. for this appointment because my regular Dr. was on call at the hospital. He told me I was dilated to a 5 and 90% effaced and then asked if I wanted to schedule an induction. I told him yes, I very much wanted to have an induction date set up! I was so excited because I finally felt like there was a light at the end of, what had been up to this point, a very long tunnel. He said he was sure I wouldn't make it to the induction date, but I knew better. I had been told for the past 2 weeks that I was going to go into labor at any moment, and thus far, nothing had happened. So, the date was scheduled for the 30th and I went on my merry way home. A couple nights after the appointment, I started having harder contractions, and knowing how far dilated I was, I started to get nervous that I needed to get to the hospital. With Claire, my water broke at 10:30 am, I went to the hospital at 1:30 pm, was dilated to a 9, and delivered her at 4:56 pm. Yeah, it went fast. I figured it would probably be the same with this pregnancy, so at 1:00 am, I called our good friend to come stay with Claire and headed to the hospital. After being evaluated for 5 hours, I came home at 6 am with no baby and no more contractions. False alarm!

Finally, Saturday the 29th came along, my mom arrived here in Salem in anticipation of Declan's birth, and at 7:30 am on Sunday, December 30, I went to the hospital. It kind of took forever to get things going, but by 10:30, I finally had an IV in and the Dr. who would deliver me arrived. She broke my water and I started walking the halls of the birthing center. Nothing was happening. He was moving happily inside of me, but I was having NO contractions. I know I should have learned my lesson at this point and should have stopped comparing pregnancy/delivery expectations with how Claire's was, but I couldn't help it. I thought once my water broke, I would just start contracting fast and furious as I had done with her and have that baby in minutes! After walking around for about an hour and half with no progress, they asked if I wanted to start Pitocin. I said yes, and within literally 2 minutes of it hitting my blood stream, I was contracting hard.

I had been unsure if I wanted an epidural with this delivery because when I had Claire, I was in so much pain by the time I got to the hospital, that when I got the epidural, I just kept hitting the "Happy Button" and got myself so numb that I couldn't communicate from my brain to my body how to push the same way twice. I ended up pushing with her for about an hour or more. Once those contractions started with Declan though, I immediately requested the anesthesiologist to come in and get me numb. He was there within 5 minutes, and my right side numbed right up. Unfortunately, my left side was not numbing at all. My contractions at this point were basically on top of each other, because they had the Pitocin going still, so I had no down time at all and was in a ton of pain. After waiting for about 45 minutes (the anesthesiologist told me the epidural would take full effect in 30) I called him back in, and he got my left side numbed. I thought maybe I would get to rest for a few minutes after that, but my nurse checked me and I was at a 10 and fully effaced. My doctor came in, was just about to tell me to push, when another nurse came in and said that the girl in the next room, who did not have an epidural, was ready to push, so she told me to hang tight and she would be right back. She was gone maybe 10 minutes, came back in, and told me to start pushing. I pushed 3 or 4 times, it took maybe 5-10 minutes and Declan entered the world at 3:08 pm.

He wasn't breathing at first, so we had to slap him on the back a few times and suction out his mouth and nose really well. I was so dazed because of how fast everything had happened that it took me a minute to realize that my baby wasn't breathing. He finally started crying and I think I resumed my breathing at that point. Then my Dr. said they needed to check his clavicle because she had heard a pop as he was coming out and she thought it could have been his collarbone breaking. I'm pretty sure I stopped breathing again at that point, but then I saw him moving his arms up and down and I figured he was ok. We think he broke a big blood vessel in his right arm, because it was black and blue and everything else looked fine. Well, his face didn't look fine. The poor little guy came down the birth canal so fast that his face was totally black, blue and puffy. When I first looked at him, I thought, "Oh no, I have an unattractive baby." I know, that is the worst thing a mother could think, but he looked awful! (Pictures to follow)

Despite my thinking he looked awful, I fell instantly in love with him and am falling just a little more in love everyday. He is the sweetest baby in the entire world. He only cries when he is hungry or needs his diaper changed and he makes the sweetest newborn sounds. Claire loves him, but as she and I have been awfully sick the last few days, I have made her keep her distance from him. I am sure as soon as she is feeling better, and when I give her permission, she will love on him all day long. Whenever I change his diaper, she always points to it and says, "baby poopy!" Maybe this will trigger some sort of interest in potty training?? One can hope. Buying two sets of diapers sure does take a toll on the pocketbook!

I want to thank my mom for coming down here and helping for the first week of Declan's life. She has been my lifesaver. Being a new mom is hard with the little sleep you get, but add a nasty cold on top of that and it's just plain miserable. She let me sleep and held him off with a bottle on many occasions, sacrificing her own sleep so I could get some. She cooked, cleaned, played with Claire, and was just helpful with everything. Thank you for everything Mom, I love you!

And now, onto the pictures!

Obviously this is me BEFORE the Pitocin. There wasn't a whole lot of smiling going on after that. Well, until I got my epidural, then the smiling resumed. :)
Do you see how bruised his little face was?? It was so bad! He was totally black in the face while the rest of his body was fine.
Daddy holding him for the first time.
He loved his first bath, can't you tell??
When the nurse started spraying water on his head, he calmed right down. She said most babies loved it when she did that.

Declan and Grandma Henry! She's the best looking Grandma I know!
He was folding his hands so sweetly while Grandma was holding him, I just had to capture it. By the way, can you see how HUGE his hands are? He also has really big feet. I think we're gonna have a big boy!
I caught these next two while he was napping today. So peaceful!

Dallin caught this picture on his phone a couple nights ago and I am in LOVE with it. He was smiling so big in his sleep and it just melted my heart. The dimples! Oh the dimples!