Saturday, February 21, 2009

Two Weeks!

Dear Zoe,

Last Friday marked two weeks that you've been in this world. (Mommy needs to work on her timeliness of these updates) My how time flies! Mommy and daddy are still trying to get a bit of a routine, but it's coming along. You're just as amazing as you were in week one.

This week you've done more of the same---pee, poop, eat and sleep. You were actually making great improvement in the eating category, but you seem to have regressed in the last few days. Our lactation consultant came to the house again last Thursday, and you were able to transfer 3 times as much milk on your own as you were able to do 6 days prior!! We were so excited! We have faith that you can do this, Zoe! Right now we're taking a short break from having you latch on for mommy's sanity, so I've been pumping and feeding you bottles exclusively. This was ok'd by the lactation consultant. But the great thing is you still nuzzle up to the breast, so you haven't forgotten about it. And you even latched on twice today and stayed awake!

You continue to be more and more alert. Lately you just stare at mommy and daddy. While you aren't yet able to smile socially, we could swear that you've been smiling especially for us the last couple of days. You're going to have an amazing smile, Zoe.

This week you've graduated to some varsity level farts! LOL. Lately you've been a bit gassy, so you've been letting them fly. You could pull up a chair with the Klumps from the Nutty Professor and be right at home. You're still super strong and super squirmy. And you love, love, love to keep your hands in your face. Your hands really get in the way of nursing, and you've grazed me a few times with those crazy hands....OUCH! Sometimes your hands are in the way so much that daddy has to hold them down in order for you to latch on. Now what am I going to do when daddy goes back to work?!

We had your two week checkup last Friday. You're growing beautifully, Zoe! You were born at 5 lb. 15 oz. and 18 3/4 inches long. As of Friday, you're 6 lb. 9 oz. and 20 inches long!!! You had the second part of your newborn screening. You took the heel prick like a champ! You're such a strong little girl.

Thank you for entering our lives, Zoe. We love you so much, and we are eternally grateful to the Lord for blessing us with you. You truly are God's greatest gift to us! We look forward to seeing what you do this next week. Just keep working on nursing....

Love you always and forever,
Mommy

A few week 2 pics:

Doing what you do best....sleeping






Napping on daddy's lap




Taking a nap with mommy







Seeing daddy off to work.... :- (





After nursing....this is how you looked most of the nursing session (I can laugh about it now)



Sitting in a grown folks' chair....you're so tiny!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Zoe's Birth Story

This is old news, but I had a baby 19 days ago. Ha ha ha. I can't believe how long it's taken me to sit down and write Zoe's birth story. I knew motherhood was a hard job and time consuming, but I guess I didn't really know how hard and time consuming it would be. But I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Some of this story is a little TMI, but it's part of birth story.

Thursday, February 5:

I had my 38 week appointment with Dr. S the morning of February 5. My cervix was still closed and hard, so Dr. S said she'd probably be seeing me again the following week for my weekly check-up. Due to swelling in my hands and feet, I decided to work from home Thursday and Friday so I could work on elevating my feet and taking it easy.
After running a few errands, Trevor and I had Chick-Fil-A for dinner. I got my usual--#1 deluxe with a diet coke. Around 11pm, I suddenly started feeling really nauseous. I mean really nauseous. And then I started feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom. When I did, I had diarrhea. (TMI) And Zoe was SOOOOO active, to the point that it actually was causing me a lot of discomfort in my lower pelvis. All I could do was sit in bed with my eyes closed and hold my stomach. I read my childbirth booklet and noticed that diarrhea can be an early labor symptom and can present itself 1-7 days before labor. Concerned, Trevor and I immediately started packing our hospital bag....just in case. I decided to go to sleep and see how I made out through the night. I woke up around 4 am still feeling nauseous, but was able to doze back off.

Friday, February 6:

I woke up around 8am and was talking to Trevor as he prepared to take one of our cars to the dealership for service. I was still feeling a little nauseous, but not as bad as the night before. As Trevor and I were talking, I got a sudden urge to use the bathroom. More diarrhea. Even more than the night prior. Then I heard "drip, drip, drip" in the toilet. I looked down and saw bright red blood dripping in the water. It wasn't the "bloody show" I'd read about because it was pure blood, no mucous mixed in with it. I was kinda freaked out, but I recalled Dr. S telling me something about bleeding and labor. I couldn't remember what she said, so we decided to call her. In the meantime, I put on a pad in the event the bleeding increased. As we were waiting for Dr. S to call back, I felt a warm gush between my legs. This was at 8:42 am. I looked at my pad and saw a brownish-yellow fluid. I knew at that moment that my water broke. A few additional gushes followed, but thankfully not a huge flow of fluid. Dr. S's nurse called back and instructed us to head to L&D. After taking a quick shower and stopping to get something to eat (I knew they would starve me once I arrived at the hospital), we were on our way.

We arrived at the hospital at 9:45 am. My first L&D nurse, Kimber, checked my fluid and confirmed it was amniotic fluid. She also informed me that I would be admitted and would be having a baby today! My water had officially broke, and the color indicated there was meconium staining, which meant Zoe had a bowel movement inside of me. I knew this meant that my labor had to be watched closely and that the NICU would be called in at the time I delivered to make sure Zoe's lungs weren't compromised by the meconium. Kimber checked my cervix and it was....hard and closed. HUH?! After consulting with Dr. S, Kimber administered pitocin to get my contractions going. My IV was inserted at 10:45 am (ouch! - it took two tries to get the IV in) and the pitocin was started at 11:15 am. Dr. S came to check me during her lunch hour and I still wasn't dilated, so the pitocin was increased at 12:20pm and again at 1:00pm and 1:20pm. At 1:35pm I was officially feeling the contractions, but they were manageable. At 1:40pm, the pitocin was increased again. By 3:30pm, my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. At 4:30pm, Dr. S came to check me again, and I was 75% effaced but only a fingertip dilated. Are you kidding me?! She had an internal monitor inserted to gauge the intensity of my contractions and the pitocin was increased yet again. Although Dr. S wasn't on call for the weekend, she said she wouldn't release me to the on call OB and that she would personally deliver Zoe. I was so happy because I really like Dr. S. However, Dr. S told me that if I hadn't progressed sufficiently within 12 hours of my water breaking, I'd probably be having a c-section due to the meconium staining in my amniotic fluid. GULP!
It goes without mentioning, by now I was starving and tired of eating popsicles! How cruel!

At 6:30pm, I was 80% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated. Seriously?! And I was in HORRIBLE pain. I had back labor like you read about! At 6:40pm, I couldn't take the pain any longer, but I knew I couldn't get an epidural because I would risk slowing down my already slow labor, so Kimber ordered up some Nubain to "take the edge off" the pain. Boy was I feeling good....for about an hour and then "the edge" came back with a vengeance! I was gripping the bed rails with every contraction and just as I recovered from one, the next one came. My new L&D nurse came in at 7pm, but I was in so much pain that I honestly can't remember her name. I think it was Julie???? Anyway, at 8:25pm I started getting really nauseous from the back labor, and I was in tears. I was 100% effaced and still only 1.5 cm dilated. I was up against the clock. Only 17 minutes to go before the 12 hour mark. I was praying for a miracle, but I desperately needed the epidural. I was so afraid to get it because I knew I was risking slowing down my labor, but I couldn't take the pain any longer. The L&D nurse got the okay from Dr. S and the epidural was ordered. At 8:45pm a walking epidural was inserted. It was a strange experience, but I lived through it. The pain relief wasn't instant, but I was feeling pretty good within about 10 minutes. But I started itching like crazy! I was told that it was normal and eventually the itching went away.

At 9:13pm, the nurse checked me again as we awaited Dr. S's arrival. I was 100% effaced and 3 cm dilated. The nurse inserted my catheter.
At 9:31pm, Dr. S arrived and checked me. She told me she wasn't very optimistic since it had taken me so long to reach 3 cm. Also, Zoe was starting to show early signs of distress because her heart rate was starting to drop slightly. When she checked me she was surprised to find me at....9 cm. YAY!!! While she was still checking me I dilated to 10cm. She was still skeptical because my epidural was so fresh, and she wasn't sure I would be able to push. On the next contraction we decided to "practice". I pushed like a champ, and Dr. S said it looked like we'd be having a baby via vaginal delivery. Thank you, Jesus!!! The next thing I knew, the NICU was called in, everyone got prepped and we awaited my next contraction. It came, I pushed three times and Zoe was born! Just like that! Two contractions and five pushes!! At 9:41pm, Zoe Alexis entered this world!!! Before she was delivered fully Dr. S had me reach down and touch her head. I can't explain how it felt to feel a human being's head coming out of me. Weird and amazing at the same time! Oh, turns out that Zoe's cord was wrapped pretty snuggly around her neck, which explains the signs of distress. I'm so glad she was okay! After she was fully delivered, Zoe was immediately taken to the NICU staff to suction out the meconium and to check her lungs. Thankfully, the meconium was only in her stomach and none had migrated to her lungs. Thus, she didn't require oxygen, a NICU stay or any other interventions. I was worried when I didn't hear her cry, but Dr. S told me that they were suppressing her cry to keep the meconium from traveling to her lungs. Within a few minutes she cried and so did I.
I only had a minor 1st degree tear, so my body handled the labor well. Other than the back labor, giving birth to Zoe was not as hard as I expected it to be. Start to finish, my pregnancy was incredible. I actually miss being pregnant. :- ( I can't put my finger on the reason why, but I really miss it. And I miss feeling Zoe inside of me so much.
A few pics from the glorious day:
Zoe and the NICU Staff



Daddy Cutting the Cord



Zoe and Mommy Meet



Zoe and Dr. S


Our First Family Photo


Our Princess

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Today is my Due Date!

Well, today is the day is was estimated to all go down. Zoe, and the Lord, had other plans though. I'm so happy Zoe entered our lives 12 days early. Our lives have been enriched. We love you, Zoe!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

1 Week Old

Dear Zoe,

One week ago yesterday you entered mommy and daddy's lives in the flesh. We are so blessed to call you our daughter. You are absolutely beautiful and you have such a sweet disposition. And you have the most piercing charcoal grey eyes. Mommy and daddy are keeping our fingers crossed that you keep them because they are so striking. In the last week, you've really only done four things--pee, poop, sleep and eat. Now about the eating thing....we really need you to get with the program pumpkin. Once you figure out a way to stay awake, you'll be a master nurser! Mommy and daddy like to call you our little squirm worm because you just squirm around so much. And you're so strong! We're talking adult strength strong! You have a love-hate relationship with being swaddled. Our second nickname for you is "whodini" because you always figure out a way to wiggle your right hand out of the swaddle no matter how tight we bundle you up. This morning your right hand was sticking out of the swaddle and your little fist was balled up as if to say "I pity the fool that tries to swaddle me again." LOL. I wish I would've taken a picture. You do the cutest little things!

In the last week I've wept a lot while looking at you. I'm just so in love with you, and I'm already dreading the day you grow up and leave home. Sob, sob.... My heart is just so full, Zoe. I can't believe that just a few short days ago you were moving around in my tummy. I miss feeling you inside of me so much. You're amazing to hold, kiss and cuddle, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. But you're sorely missed in my belly.

You lost your cord stump on your one week birthday. We were so surprised that it fell off so soon. You also saw your pediatrician for a weight check. You received glowing reviews. You still have 2 ounces to go before returning to your birth weight. Thankfully, you don't have a bit of jaundice. You're perfect! Oh, you also had your first bath. On a scale of 1 to 10, I think you found the experience to be about a 7....maybe a 6. You get tons of hiccups, just like you did the last couple of weeks in my belly. And you sneeze a lot, which your pediatrician says is completely normal at this stage as you adjust to being outside of the womb.

Mommy and daddy are looking forward to week 2. We hope that by the end of this week you'll have nursing mastered. That's what we're praying for.

We love you, Zoe pooh!

Love always,
Mommy


A few one week photos:




Friday, February 13, 2009

More Pictures of Zoe

Here are Zoe's hospital pictures. Isn't she a beauty?! I know, I know, I'm a little biased....









Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here She Is....(and a quick update)

Motherhood is both amazing and humbling! Oh, and exhausting!!! Zoe is amazing and she really is a dream. Breastfeeding is looking up, but it was a challenge initially. Our biggest issue right now is that Zoe is so sleepy at the breast. As a result, I have to follow each feeding with 15 minutes of pumping and a supplemental feeding for Zoe to make sure she gets enough food in her tummy. This makes for a long process and only leaves me about an hour and a half to sleep before the next feeding. Short naps really make me irritable, thus I'm running on very little sleep. I know it will get better. Trevor has been AMAZING!!! There is no way I could do this without him. We're both so in love with Zoe. She is God's greatest gift to us!!!

Here are a few pictures of our angel (sorry about the varying picture sizes....I'm too tired to try to fix it or figure it out):







Saturday, February 7, 2009

Zoe Alexis is Here!!!

She arrived at 9:41pm on 2/6/09. She weighed in at a whopping 5 lbs. 15 oz. and was 18 3/4 inches long. She's absolutely perfect! Pictures and birth story to follow in a few days. We're in love!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I'M IN LABOR!!!

I can't believe it, but it's happening. We're at the hospital now. My water broke this morning at 8:42 CT. Zoe will be joining us soon. Stay tuned....


Thursday, February 5, 2009

$312,166

Guess what $312,166 will buy us eighteen years from now? A college education for Zoe! Gulp! This figure is based on a college cost projection Trevor did this evening. The assumption made with this projection is that Zoe will attend a college that costs $25,000/year currently. It seems that we should be saving over $600 per month to meet these costs. I guess we better get busy!

38 Weeks! (and prenatal appointment)

We're getting closer to the finish line. 38 weeks and counting! My symptoms are largely the same, although the swelling in my feet seems to be getting worse. My blood pressure and urine checks are still good, so Dr. S isn't overly concerned about the swelling. She has instructed me to keep my feet elevated as much as possible. Yesterday afternoon my size 8.5s felt like size 5s. Not very comfortable! I'm going to work from home tomorrow, and I may start working half-days from home next week....we'll see. (My goal is to work through my delivery date so I don't burn any maternity leave)

I had a prenatal appointment today. It went well. Zoe has dropped a small bit, but she's still not positioned firmly in my pelvis. Her heart beat was nice and strong ~ in the 150s-160s. And my cervix....well, it's not doing much. Dr. S is pretty certain I'll make my appointment next week, so it looks like no Zoe for awhile. :- (

Zoe this week: Zoe is working on a few last-minute details like shedding the skin-protecting vernix and lanugo. She's also producing more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in her lungs from sticking to one another once she starts to breathe. And she continues to practice her swallowing skills by taking in amniotic fluid. Despite these last minute details, she's ready for life outside the womb. We're ready when she is!

Today Dr. S said Zoe feels like she could weigh as much as 6.5 lbs. right now, which is a little perplexing since she was estimated at 5 lbs. last week. Who knows??? For now, according to the text books, Zoe weighs approximately 6.8 lbs. and she's over 19.5 inches long (about the length of a leek):

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ut Oh!

This morning, after I read an article on the topic, Trevor and I tested our nursery rhyme skills. Um, yeah.....not so much! We're in trouble! Or Zoe is! It is very clear to us that we don't know many nursery rhymes and can't get past the first two or three lines of the ones we do know.

Two examples of how this morning's session went:

"Hush little baby don't say a word, momma's gonna buy you a mockingbird, and if that mockingbird don't sing.....cricket, cricket....."

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder.....is the next word "what" or where"....you are......cricket, cricket......"

Poor Zoe! LOL!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

37 Weeks!

I crossed the 37 week mark last Wednesday. Zoe is officially full-term! All is well. We're anxious to meet Zoe, but we know she'll enter this world when she's good and ready. Assuming she doesn't arrive late, we're officially at T-17 days and counting.

I'm feeling pretty good. Same symptoms as last week. Someone asked me the other day if I'm officially tired of being pregnant? I'm not. I'm anxious to meet Zoe, but I've been very fortunate to have a smooth and easy pregnancy. No big issues to complain of. Sure I have an aching back, pain in my left rib cage from time to time, swelling ankles as of late, horrendous snoring (according to Trevor), occasional nosebleeds, and other random symptoms, but I don't have the horror stories I've heard other women speak of. I'm truly blessed.

My weight gain is still holding steady at 16 lbs. I'm pleased. My belly is getting big though. (Although I still think I look cute ~ smile) Some of my maternity shirts are even starting to get too short. What's up with that?! I wonder how much larger my belly will get between now and when I deliver?

Zoe this week: since Zoe is officially full-term, there's not much going on in terms of development. All of her organs and major systems are just continuing to mature. Beyond that, she's working on gaining weight and getting practice simulating breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, sucking on her thumb, blinking, and pivoting from side to side. With respect to Zoe gaining weight, I've noticed my appetite has increased, so I guess her nutritional needs are increasing. Zoe has been getting hiccups like crazy lately; sometimes they last as long as 5 minutes. And she's still a little jitterbug, moving like crazy!

According to the text books, Zoe weighs approximately 6 1/3 lbs.; however, Dr. S estimates that Zoe's weight is more in the neighborhood of 5 lbs. Zoe is over 19 inches long (like a stalk of swiss chard):