Friday, January 24, 2014


We had a fun cousin/auntie visit when Jade and Auntie Lorna came up to the condo, and the Coury's came down.  Jade brought her American Girl doll, and Sarah ran back home to get Ava's (what a good mommy!).  The kids had a great time playing dolls and braiding hair (Jade just learned to french braid, and Ava learned to braid).  I'm loving family time!!

Ava loves babies -- I mean loves them!  I can relate.  When I was little if there was a baby in the room, I wanted to be watching it, playing with it, holding it...  Who am I kidding?  I still feel that way.  Just try having a conversation with me if there's a little one in the room.  I can guarantee you I will have trouble making eye contact with you.  I digress.  Ava loves being the big cousin!  She's a natural baby whisperer, too!  She will hold Lucy and she even knows to bounce her to keep her happy!  What a pro!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Lucy Margaret is one month old today!  Her little personality comes out more and more each day.  She has started to coo (first time at 22 days), smile, and follow us with her eyes.  She sleeps from about 10pm each night until 2:30 or 3:00 am each night, eats, and returns to sleep until 4:30 am for another feeding. Then she sleeps until 7:30 or 8:00 am.  She grunts and squeaks when she's waking up and goes through a variety of "talking" noises.  She licks her lips or smacks when she's hungry.

When Lucy wakes from a good nap or an overnight sleep, she goes through all her faces: the "oh" face - wide eyes with her mouth in the tiniest "o", shifty eyes when she furrows her brow and her eyes dart back and forth, furrowed brows of introspection, and our favorite big grins!

Lucy holds her head up and loves to look around from her perch on one of our shoulders.  She also loves it when daddy holds her upside down by her feet....mommy is adjusting to knowing daddy will be more crazy with her than she is!

She is also starting to reach out and bat at her toys on her activity gym and follow them with her eyes.

She's also proving quite the spitter! She spits up after every meal, but she is growing like a champ after a bit of a rough start (she lost weight and got down to 8lbs, 12 oz the week after she was born), but she's now gaining above the expected weight per day.  She's a robust 10lbs, 6.5 oz!!  She's filled out and has deliciously chubby cheeks, rolls on her legs, and she's working on dimples at the root of each finger!  In fact, she's spit up twice as I was writing this...  All in all, she's a happy girl, though she is also quite feisty -- mama wouldn't have it any other way!

We love you, Little Bird!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Birth Team!

Lucy's birth story wouldn't be complete without mentioning my amazing support team!  I could not have made it through it without them.  My apologies if this post is rambling or incoherent. I'm writing as I'm jiggling Lucy in her seat so she'll stay asleep long enough for me to write this. :) 

Isaac: Considering he'd never been through this before, Isaac was incredibly intuitive of my needs.  He was able to help me keep calm and relax through my contractions both at home and at the hospital. He managed to keep track of all kinds of information and was able to be my voice when I was too focused on relaxing or just too exhausted to communicate clearly.  Later when decisions needed to be made Isaac took the lead in asking questions and displayed wisdom and discernment in making choices I couldn't make alone.  Most of all, he prayed with and for me.  I felt such peace and calm with him by my side.  Now in the recovery, he's been encouraging, patient, wise, innovative, and loving.  He's reminded me of our baby's health and the wonder of her when I'm at my lowest, most exhausted, ready to give up. He's stepped up as a husband and father in a truly Christlike manner.  I love him!! 

Auntie Lorna: What can I say about Auntie Lorna that those that know her don't already know?  She's amazing!  She was a voice of unequivocal calm.  She talked me through my intense contractions while massaging my head or my legs and feet to quickly take me to a state of utter relaxation.  "Keep it low and moving down" -- those words kept me focused throughout the contractions and greatly decreased my pain and panic.  She also prayed over me and kept my mom and family updated throughout the very long days.  She was willing to drop everything (and you know that's quite a LOT) to be there for me -- for us -- when we needed her.  Thank you, Auntie Lorna!  

Friends and Family: Thank you to my family and friends who were praying us through this labor and delivery!  It didn't go at all as we had hoped, but ultimately Lucy was born healthy and mama was safe.  

VMC Nurse Midwives: I can't say enough how much I appreciated the midwives -- particularly Amy Steers and Melissa Rubin.  Amy was there through my labor and delivery and she gave me candid, specific details about each option and allowed us to decide.  She was calm and encouraging throughout the labor, and truly helped me exhaust every option for a natural birth before we progressed to a c-section. 

VMC Labor & Delivery Nurses: The nurses at Valley lived up to their reputation.  They are awesome!  It's not just any nurse who can make a laboring or post-partum woman feel at ease and confident in her caretakers.  They truly love what they do, and it was so evident in everything they did for us.  They took the time to take care of Isaac as well as me (making sure he knew where to get food, etc.).  Several of the nurses that were with us early on, or in the operating room, stopped by throughout our stay to check in and meet Lucy.  They were so compassionate and encouraging!  

Mom: Because Lucy came so close to my due date (much to the surprise of all but Isaac), my mom wasn't able to be there in the delivery room.  That was hard for both of us (again, THANK YOU to Auntie Lorna for being my surrogate mom and coach!).  She has been invaluable to me in my recovery. She's stayed up nights holding Lucy so Isaac and I could sleep, she's cooked us meals, she's cleaned my house, she's encouraged me as I've worked to feed Lucy, she's held me when I cried when Isaac wasn't here, she's just here being a calming presence.  

Finally, all glory to God.  We truly experienced peace that surpassed all understanding.  It was a loooong process, full of turns and decisions we never expected to face.  Through it all, I knew God was in control and I felt completely in His will.  I'm normally a complete wreck when things don't go the way I anticipate or plan, but I was truly able to give it all up and not feel any regret or loss.  Thank you, Lord!  Thank you for putting midwives, nurses, and doctors in our path that took such excellent care of us.  Thank you for my husband and Aunt who were able to love and care for me up close.  Thank you for my mom who was able to encourage me and pray for me from afar, and care for me so carefully after the fact.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nana love!

We loved having Nana stay with us after Lucy was born!  Before she left, we had to get a few pictures of them.  Lucy didn't feel much like having her photo taken, but she did agree to snuggles!

Somehow she's cute even when she's screaming... 

Oh...hi, Nana!

Nana snuggles are the best when you're worried! 

I love these beautiful women!  

Sleepy smiles! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lucy's Birth Story: The Short Version

I know many of you won't want to read through all the details I wanted to record for my own recollection, so I am also offering an abridged version of my birth story.

One last photo op before heading to the hospital
Friday, December 20th
One day before my due date! 
On Thursday, December 18th I started to notice my contractions intensifying and coming closer together.  By Friday they were sporadic, but coming much more frequently.  I still attended Isaac's work Christmas party, but we left pretty early as I was rapidly becoming uncomfortable.  Late that night we called the midwife and my aunt (Lorna Arnold), and ultimately headed to the hospital (Valley Medical Center).  The midwife on duty said I was borderline at 2cm dilated, but because I was strep-B positive she admitted me, and gave me a shot of morphine to sleep.  I think I was the only one that slept that night -- poor Isaac and Auntie Lorna were on a 5 foot sofa and an easy chair respectively.

Feeling pretty good! 
Waiting for baby girl! 
Talking to my mom between contractions
The next morning (Saturday), we spent the morning walking around trying to get things moving.  The midwife checked me early that afternoon and told me that I wasn't really in labor despite having contractions every 4-5 minutes.  She explained that because I was only feeling pain down low and not up to my ribcage, I couldn't be in labor. She emphasized that real labor would be "a kajillion times worse", and that I could continue to experience my current level of contractions for up to a week.  I broke down and sobbed at this news.  She acted shocked that I was crying and wanted to know why.  Need I explain?  I was devastated that this "wasn't labor" and that it would continue at this intensity for up to a week.  Another day I had in me, but a week? Nope.
We went home and spent a restless afternoon and evening.  That night I couldn't sleep because the contractions continued to intensify and were unrelentingly 4-5 minutes apart.  At 3am I was ready to call the midwife I was in so much pain, but I feared rejection, so instead I got up and paced the living room.  By 6am I couldn't take it and asked Isaac to call the midwife.  She told us to come in after the shift change at 7am.

When we got to the hospital at 8ish on Sunday was in labor, though it was true that it was protracted and could last for up to a week if not augmented.  She explained that at some point my uterus was going to get tired and peter out.  We opted to get an epidural and augment my contractions with Pitocin.  She broke my water later that afternoon and by 6pm I was ready to push.

After 2.5 hours of pushing and a whole lot of vomiting, I was finally running out of steam, as was my uterus and the baby.  My contractions had weakened and baby girl's heart rate was finally beginning to dip a bit.  She'd remained incredibly happy and healthy throughout all my laboring up to this point!  The midwife suggested having a doctor come in and try applying a vacuum to the baby's head to help pull her down.  She explained that this would be a last step before c-section.

Isaac and I prayed and discussed it and decided that we needed to try the vacuum.  My contractions weren't going to get stronger and both the baby and I were reaching the point of utter exhaustion.  One way or another, we were going to meet this little girl SOON!  The doctor came in and applied the vacuum and pulled with all her might -- but baby girl was firmly wedged and didn't budge even a millimeter.  I was given the news that they had to perform a c-section.  I admit I cried, but it was nothing like the devastation I'd experienced when I was told I wasn't in labor.   I felt a peace about the situation that I know could only come from the Lord.

Isaac's view in the waiting room while they prepped me for surgery
They wheeled me off to the operating room and had Isaac wait outside while they prepped me.  This was the hardest part, bar none.  Being separated from Isaac while being prepared for major surgery that I'd honestly never even considered as being a possibility was HARD.  He finally came in and immediately began praying over me and our baby as the surgery was under way.  It took only a few minutes and a good amount of pushing and pulling to dislodge her from the birth canal, and then we heard the sweetest sound we'd ever heard -- our baby's first cries!!  Cue tears of sheer joy (and exhaustion!).  It was only another moment before Isaac got to bring her over to my head so I could see her and kiss her.  I was overwhelmed -- this was my child, my little girl, and she even had my nose!  Welcome Lucy Margaret, my 21 3/4 inch, 9 pound, 14 oz, sweet girl with the feisty streak! We love you so much already!!

Healthy baby girl! 
My first moment with Lucy Margaret! 
Already I knew she was worth it! 

Big girl! 
So in love! 

Ready to go home! 
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our daughter, and for the peace that truly surpasses all understanding!  We know that without you, we wouldn't have been able to make it through four days of labor, a major surgery, post-op pain and emotion, and so much more.  Thank you for your Son, who you sent to earth, whose birth we were to celebrate in just a few days.  What a wonderful, beautiful reminder to us each year as we celebrate our child that you sent YOUR child -- your only child, your perfect child, to live in an imperfect world, to grow, to minister, and ultimately to die for us.  But He didn't stay dead, and that's why we have the hope that we have today.  As a new parent I cannot fathom looking down at that sweet, tiny person and knowing that one day that life would be sacrificed for the salvation of so many.  Thank you for being less selfish than I am for I already know I'd give my own life before I let harm come to my sweet Lucy.
Hardest present to unwrap ever -- but worth every effort! 

Lucy's birth story - the long version

Friday, December 20th - In labor!
First round of fetal monitoring -- excited to be in labor!

Feeling great post-epidural!
All ready for our little girl!
The waiting area outside the operating room -- Isaac stayed out here while they prepped me. 
Nothing sweeter than hearing this little girl's first cries! 
Meeting Lucy Margaret! 
Instantly I knew she was worth every sacrifice! 
Big girl! 
I can't get enough of this sweet little bundle! 
Ready to head home! 
Hardest present to unwrap ever! 

It all began on the night of Thursday, December 19th.  I began feeling contractions; sporadic, but increasing.  Isaac began timing them as we rested in bed, and I guess I fell asleep as he was waiting for me to tell him when the next was coming.  They were six minutes apart when I finally fell asleep.  Obviously they weren’t too uncomfortable, but strong enough to be aware of them. 

On Friday I couldn’t sleep and was up by 5:15am, deep cleaning the refrigerator, microwave, and emptying the dishwasher.  I was still having sporadic contractions, but they weren’t too intense yet.  Still, I felt that labor might not be too far off, so I wanted to wrap up all the loose ends and leave my house immaculate.  Isaac got up and went to work, and I finished up some final sewing projects for the nursery.  My pain level was generally only about a three -- enough to be uncomfortable and make it difficult to concentrate, but nothing that set off any alarm bells.   

By mid-afternoon I felt like the contractions were coming more frequently, but I refused to acknowledge that this was labor as I didn’t want to be disappointed if it wasn’t.  Besides, it was the night of Isaac’s work Christmas party and I didn’t want him to miss that networking opportunity with his new co-workers.  I refused to time my contractions and got myself dolled up for Isaac’s party and drove to downtown Seattle.  (Yes, I know. Not my brightest idea, but I was driving against traffic, and I knew if this was labor, it was going to be a long one).  By the time I arrived at CBRE my contractions intensifying (up to 4-5 pain scale) and it was getting harder to mask the pain.  After an hour or so at his work party I was getting really tired and feeling ready to acknowledge I was in labor. I wanted to be able to grimace and then go into my relaxation techniques as needed to pass the contractions -- not exactly something I can do while making small talk with strangers.  

By 9pm the contractions weren’t relenting so Isaac called the midwife and Auntie Lorna (my labor coach) to put them on notice - my contractions were five minutes apart for 40 minutes, with the last three coming only three minutes apart and definitely painful.  

By around 11pm I was having three contractions within 10 minutes (the midwife’s marker that I was in labor), so we packed up and headed to Valley Medical Center to check into the birth center.  They hooked me up to a monitor and, of course, my contractions slowed down -- which I’m told is normal -- but intensity remained the same -- painful enough to require concentration to relax.  Midwife Marilyn checked me and told us I was roughly 2cm dilated, 50% effaced, and the baby was -1 station.  I was borderline, but since I was strep-B positive, she decided to admit me to start the penicillin.  We settled into a birthing room, got hooked up to fetal monitoring, and I was given a shot of morphine so I could get some much needed sleep before the real work began. 
The next morning I was feeling refreshed and ready to get the show on the road!   We decided to get up and do some walking to get gravity working (and to work out the nasty bruise in my leg from the morphine shot).  Auntie Lorna left to run some Christmas errands she still needed to run before Christmas because she hadn’t expected me to already be in labor (after all, WHO goes into labor on their DUE DATE??)  Isaac’s parents, Dave and Judy, stopped by to say “hello”, and then we eventually made our way back to our room as the contractions picked up once again. 

By 2pm the midwife on duty, Carol, came by to check on my progress.  She told me I was only 1cm dilated...  Because I’d already been admitted, she let me labor there for a few more hours before checking on me again.  I hadn’t progressed (in her opinion), and she told me that I was in “protracted labor” and this could go on for “up to a week,” and that “real” labor will be a “kajillion times worse.” She told me she was sending me home and that I should relax and take my mind off of the contractions and to not come back until they were extending to the top of my belly and feeling a “kajillion times worse”.  She informed me that because I didn’t feel pain (though I did feel tightening) at the top of my belly I couldn’t possibly be in labor.  (I’ve since learned that my mom NEVER felt pain at the top of her belly with either of her first two births...though she was VERY MUCH in labor!)  

(Ahem: Top things to NEVER say to a woman who has been having consistent contractions for TWO days: “kajillion times worse” and “continue for up to a week!”).  Needless to say, I was devastated!  

Carol continued to emphasize that I wasn’t in labor, and that I shouldn’t return until I was in such intense pain that I couldn’t handle it and I was having at least 3 contractions every 10 minutes (um, that’s why I went in Friday night).  I broke down and sobbed and sobbed into Isaac’s chest.  I had tried so hard to wait to admit to myself (and Isaac) that I was in labor so we wouldn’t have to endure going to the hospital for a “false alarm”.  I felt I was in labor, and the thought of this pain continuing every 4-6 minutes for the next week was more than I could handle.  I knew the pain would intensify, but the emphasis Carol kept putting on “a kajillion times worse” devastated me.  I had dreamed of a natural, calm birth. I knew I could endure more pain, but a kajillion times worse without progressing? I could handle “a kajillion times worse” for a few hours, but not after a week of this level of intensity.  Being sent home was the hardest part of this entire journey for me to this point.  It told me I didn’t know my own body, it told me I was weak, it told me I was foolish.  It told me lies, and I admit I believed them.  

We went home and Isaac drew a hot bath for me and brought me popcorn and a Butterfinger blizzard.  Bless him, he wanted to bring me anything I wanted and that’s all I wanted to eat.  Not healthy, but I had my midwife’s permission (or perhaps just pity?) to eat whatever I wanted.  

I managed to fall asleep in the bath, periodically waking to run more hot water and reposition myself.  Have you ever seen a full term pregnant woman try to lie on her side in the bath so her belly will fully submerge? It’s QUITE a much so that Isaac told me he was tempted to take a picture...if not for the whole naked aspect!  

After that we spent a sleepless night trying to relax through the contractions that were still coming every 5-6 minutes. By 3am I was done in. I wanted to go to the hospital, but I was terrified of being sent home yet again. I got up and paced our tiny living room, shaking my hands and arms to try to distract myself from the contractions, trying not to sob audibly, and hoping and praying that Isaac was getting some much needed sleep.  I should have known that my sweet, sympathetic husband was too concerned about my pain to sleep. 

Finally at 6am I went back to the bedroom and told Isaac he needed to call the midwife. I couldn’t take the pain. I had to be in labor.  I didn’t really care what she said, I was in labor and wanted to go back to the hospital.  The midwife talked with Isaac and agreed to have me come in again to be checked, but suggested that we wait until after 7am to come in when the next midwife would be on call for 24 hours.  What a blessing!  Maybe this midwife will believe that I was in labor! 

We got ready, ate a light breakfast and headed back to the hospital at 8am and checked in with midwife Amy. She checked me and found that I was 4cm dilated and over 50% effaced. Praise the Lord! I cried when she told me, I was so relieved. To add to our relief, she said that I was in labor, it was protracted, but it was real. (Thank you!!) She told us that this could continue to develop over the next week, but at some point my uterus would begin to peter out as it’s a muscle like any can only work so hard for so long.  

She suggested we augment my labor with pitocin, and offered an epidural or an IV of Fentanyl.  I was leaning toward Fentanyl as that’s what my cousin had used with success to take the edge off when she delivered.  The midwife explained, though, that it would only last an hour, and would become less effective with each additional dose.  I knew that I was not going to be ready to deliver in a couple of hours, so after praying and talking with Isaac, we opted for the epidural.  This was step one of relinquishing my goal of an unmedicated, natural hypnobirth. It also meant I couldn’t eat to keep up my energy during labor. Darn!  I was so, so hungry at this point, but ultimately I was more tired and ready for some relief.  

Isaac watched the anesthesiologist perform the epidural procedure -- he found it fascinating! I found it kind of creepy when I felt the medicine hit my spine -- talk about getting a tingle up the spine!  They told me I wasn’t allowed to eat once the epidural was performed as my stomach would shut down.  It was 10am and I was starving.  I was so hopeful when I asked if that would take away the hunger.  Let me tell you -- it doesn’t.  The nurse took pity on me and snuck me some crackers and apple juice -- which I promptly threw up.  That was the beginning of a pattern of vomiting. Even in labor I couldn’t escape it.  Then it was nighty-night Katie!  They told me to get some rest, and I took them up on it.  I was out like a light while Isaac watched football.  

Several hours later (I think around 3pm? My sense of time was pretty skewed) Amy checked me and I was still at 4cm. Darn!  She went ahead and broke my water to keep things progressing.  She noted a small amount of what she suspected was meconium (baby’s first poop) in my bag of water, so she alerted the pediatric team to be in the room when I delivered baby girl.  

By 4pm (?) I was 9.5cm and almost fully effaced and +1 station -- yes!  Almost time to push! 

Chatting with mom!

6pm brought another check and I was fully dilated and ready to push! I had no feeling whatsoever, which was the biggest challenge for me to push effectively.  Again, I had no concept of time.  My midwife prepared me to be pushing for up to 4 hours.  The first two hours flew by (no really!) and there was still little progress.  In fact, the most effective pushing I did was fully involuntary every time I threw up.  I’d only had ice chips all day, but I still managed to be impressively sick throughout the pushing.  I finally asked (in my most pitiful voice) if I could maybe possibly have some gum?  They said “yes” and man, I wish I’d asked sooner! It was the most delicious, relieving taste! 

Baby girl’s head was still cocked to one side as I pushed.  (I should note that from 32 weeks pregnant she was firmly situated, head down, facing my left hip with her rump under my right ribs...she hadn’t changed positions in 8 weeks!)  After 2 1/2 hours of pushing I was starting to wear out. I admitted for the first time that I was exhausted, and for the umpteenth time that I was SO HUNGRY.  I tried sooo hard not to whine, but I was starving!  It was more a plea for mercy (and food) than whining.  

My midwife asked us if we’d like to have a doctor come in and attempt a vacuum-assisted birth.  My baby’s heart rate, which had drawn awe and praise throughout this entire process for being so strong was finally beginning to wane.  She was getting tired, too.   Amy explained that the risk was that if the vacuum didn’t work, they’d have no choice but to send me for a c-section.  My contractions were weakening and she explained that I couldn’t deliver baby girl without my contractions doing their part, no matter how hard I pushed.  I was, in fact, pushing with all my might, but my contractions were steadily declining in strength.  She also warned me that baby girl might not be low enough to even attempt the vacuum.  Isaac and I took a few minutes to talk and pray and decided to proceed with the vacuum.  

Dr. Olson came in and, sure enough, baby girl wasn’t low enough.  Cue the most intense pushing of the day, a couple of vomiting fits and baby moved just low enough to attempt using the vacuum.  Through all of this, I’d hardly opened my eyes, so I was unaware of just how hard they pulled with the vacuum, but Isaac and Auntie Lorna assure me it was quite impressive -- the doctor had her feet braced on the bed, pulling on baby girl as I was pushing with all my might.  I was so ready to meet this little girl!  After two attempts and the vacuum safety-release pulling off each time, Dr. Olson told me that it wasn’t going to work, and I needed a c-section.  I cried, Isaac cried...we prayed hard and they started prepping us both. My midwife was wonderful throughout this process.  She assured me that I’d left no stone unturned, that I’d worked so hard, been so brave and strong, and I’d get to meet my little girl in just a few more minutes.  Isaac suited up from head to toe in Tyvek (a truly great look!), and they wheeled me into the operating room.    

The few moments that I had to leave Isaac in the waiting area while I was being prepped were the longest, hardest moments of the entire ordeal.  I felt so alone in that room, shaking from the cold and the shock, surrounded by over a dozen strangers - nurses and doctors for me and another set of specialists for baby girl.  They brought me a shot of antacid to drink (as I’m lying flat on my back, arms out to the sides, after not having had anything to eat or drink for 14 hours!) in case I threw up. I tried to tell them that it was going to make me throw up, but I’m not sure I actually got any words out I was that exhausted and scared.  It tasted like salty sweet tarts -- so nasty!  With that I was finally fully prepped and Isaac came back in: cue more tears! 

I remember Isaac telling me to look at him, and trying to open my eyes and not being able to see him clearly (my eyes were fully crossed from exhaustion) and mumbling that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  He sat down next to me and whispered prayers in my ear through the operation.  I could not have asked for a better husband!  He knew exactly what I needed -- I needed Jesus in that moment more than ever.  

It was a few minutes into the c-section when I began calling to Isaac that I needed to throw up. The anesthesiologist was there almost instantly to catch everything that came up and keep me cleaned up and breathing freely.  I continued to dry heave through most of the procedure. It was awful. I remember worrying that I was going to mess up the surgery with all my stomach-heaving.  In retrospect I realize they were probably very used to this, but at the time it was terrifying!  

I overheard them trying to get the baby out and hearing that she was stuck...  It was crazy to feel the tugging as my entire body moved as they tried to pull her out.  Even in a c-section she wasn’t cooperating as she was leaving my decidedly too snug womb.  The nurse was asking if she should push her back up from below and it was decided that she would push her up through the birth canal and they would pull on her legs simultaneously.  And then she was out!  When I heard her cry for the first time (before I could see her), the tears spilled out and I managed to say “that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard!”  A moment later the pediatric team (after exclaiming over the SIZE of my baby) called Isaac over to meet our daughter!  He brought her over to me and I got to meet our little Lucy Margaret!  My first thought (and exclamation when I saw her): “Oh, she has my nose!” And Isaac’s response: “Thank goodness!”  I love that man! He made me laugh even in the midst of such a situation!!

I spent most of the night sitting up in bed, holding my sweet, sleeping girl!  The nurse was in and out every 20 minutes either checking on Lucy or on me.  At 1:00am I finally had enough feeling in my lower half to have some food.  I’d optimistically ordered room service at 6 that night, but it was stone cold and not sounding very appetizing. The nurse brought me a plain turkey sandwich and several cranberry juices. It may not sound like much, but it was like manna from heaven! By this time it had been about 17 hours since anything but ice or gum had passed my lips.  I realized about halfway through my sandwich that I wasn’t the least bit nauseous -- glorious!  9 months and several days of labor later and I could once again eat without worrying about seeing my food again!  

The other things I recall keeping me awake were compression “boots” on my calves (from ankle to knee), which alternately inflated and deflated to compress my legs to keep the blood flowing and prevent blood clots.  They were uncomfortable to say the least.  I also was itching over nearly my entire body. In fact, I remember telling Isaac that my entire body itched except around my incision.  When the anesthesiologist checked on me the next morning he assured me this was entirely normal after an epidural and to request a lighter epidural if I were to have one in the future.  

The next day I was sore from the top of my scalp to my knees -- literally.  My face felt like it had been smashed into a wall, my shoulders had endured the workout of a lifetime, my torso was killing me, my legs were weak and sore...  Pushing, even though it didn’t effect a birth, was the single hardest workout of my life!!  It took about three days to recover, even though I was on three kinds of pain meds...  Those were nice, I have to say!  

By Tuesday morning, the 24th, I’d hit all the milestones necessary to be discharged.  The midwife, doctor, and nurses were amazed by how quickly I was progressing.  I was up and walking around within 18 hours of surgery, had my catheter removed and was slowly (oh so slowly!) shuffling to and from the bathroom by myself. I was able to shower, remove the bandage over my incision (once I realized my belly was still large enough to keep me from actually SEEING my incision -- I wasn’t quite ready to face that!).  I was eating and getting some energy back and weaning off the IV pain medications.  The nurse came in and removed my staples (15 in all) and applied liquid glue and steri-strips to my incision to keep it together.  
Finally that afternoon we were released and on our way home with our beautiful bundle of joy.  What a wonderful Christmas blessing!!  

As Isaac said, “she was the hardest present to unwrap ever”, but also the second best gift we’ve ever been given.  She is overshadowed only by the reason for the season - Christ’s birth -- and subsequent death and resurrection all to save sinners like us.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our daughter, and for the peace that truly surpasses all understanding!  We know that without you, we wouldn't have been able to make it through four days of labor, a major surgery, post-op pain and emotion, and so much more.  Thank you for your Son, who you sent to earth, whose birth we were to celebrate in just a few days.  What a wonderful, beautiful reminder to us each year as we celebrate our child that you sent YOUR child -- your only child, your perfect child, to live in an imperfect world, to grow, to minister, and ultimately to die for us.  But He didn't stay dead, and that's why we have the hope that we have today.  As a new parent I cannot fathom looking down at that sweet, tiny person and knowing that one day that life would be sacrificed for the salvation of so many.  Thank you for being less selfish than I am for I already know I'd give my own life before I let harm come to my sweet Lucy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Introducing Lucy Margaret

Lucy Margaret was born on Sunday, December 22nd at 10:16pm via c-section after several days of long, hard labor.  She was 9 pounds, 14 ounces and 21 3/4 inches long.  She was worth every bit of it!

What's in a name?  We thought long and hard about what to name our little girl.  We discussed so many names, tried them out in conversations at home, prayed over them, wrote them out, threw them out, and started over again.  Early on I suggested Lucy, but Isaac vetoed it...  Later I suggested it again, around 8 months in when we still didn't have a name, and he really liked it.  I liked it for my favorite character in the Chronicles of Narnia, which I had just finished re-reading.  Additionally, one of my top three favorite authors is L.M. Montgomery (Lucy Maud) who wrote the Anne of Green Gables Series.

Lucy quickly became our favorite first name, but what about a middle name?  We scoured name lists, our brains, our families for a middle name.  We knew it had to be at least two syllables.  It wasn't until the week or two before we had baby girl that we came up with Margaret as we were listing off family names. I suggested Margaret (for my mom), and Isaac immediately said "yes!" -- it was his maternal grandmother's name.  We talked it over for the next couple weeks and on the Thursday I first felt I might be in labor, I wanted to make sure we had a name. We agreed that Lucy Margaret was just right. It was classic, we couldn't come up with any bad nicknames from it, but we did think up a few cute ones -- like Lu Lu or Lu Lu Bear.

Hangin' out with mama
Daddy supplementing Lucy with a bottle during her first week. 

And in case you wondered who she looks like...she definitely favors her mama in the nose, mouth, and dimples! :)

Sweetest little sleeper! 
Sleepy smiles

Looking so big!

She loves her daddy!!

She keeps us laughing!