Friday, August 29, 2014

Lara Anne's Birth Story

 
It was 4:50 am.  We were on our way to meet our little girl! 
There is absolutely no words to describe the emotion we felt during that car ride.  Fear, excitement, anticipation, anxiety....but most of all, relief that the day had finally arrived.
 
August 15th, 2014.
Our little girls birthday.

 
Before we left the house that morning, we snapped a picture, the last
picture as a family of three.
 
 
Once I wrapped my head around the fact that I'd have to have a C-section, I was finally able to see the many blessings & perks that come from having a "scheduled" birth.  One thing I'll forever be thankful for, was being able to prepare (as best you can) for what's to come.  My last day at the office was Wednesday, August 13th.  I said a teary goodbye to my team and hurried out the door before the waterworks really set in.  It was actually much harder than I ever thought it would be, to walk out the office door on that last day. That just goes to show the amazing people I work with day in, day out. 
 
That evening Jon and I had one last date night at our favorite Thai restaurant where we've celebrated many relationship milestones.  Before leaving, we snapped my last bump pic.
 
 

 
The next day was spent cleaning the house. I've heard of "nesting" but honestly, I had no idea how powerful that feeling actually is.  I mean, I scoured the inside of my microwave. The inside, folks.
 
After I'd cleaned my little pregnant butt off, my Mom and I hit up Target one last time and enjoyed a much needed mani/pedi session. 
We both walked out of there with shiny pink nails, of course the only appropriate color choice.
 

The next morning, it was GO time.
 
When we arrived at the hospital, I began contracting which was a bit terrifying.  They finally subsided once we got settled into the suite outside the operating room.  I slid on my adorable pink & white polka dot hospital gown and settled in for the two hour wait.
 
It was 5:30 am.
 
Shortly after Jon and I arrived, both sets of parents joined us in our suite.
 



 
I was SO THANKFUL all four of them could be there to "distract" us during the scariest 2 hours of our lives.  We laughed our ass' off, joked around with the nurses & then laughed our ass' off even more when Jon came out of the bathroom all prepped for surgery.
 
 
Oversized scrubs tucked into his cowboy boots. 
Sexy, I know. 
 
At around 7:00 am, lots of people started coming into the suite including the anesthesiologist, nurses, a med student who would be shadowing my doc during the procedure, more nurses and then finally my doctor arrived.  We were still holding out hope that she may have possibly flipped within the past few days, so we did one last sonogram to make sure. 
Of course, our feisty little girl remained sitting on her booty, head up, just comfy as can be.
 
I thought I would be emotional in that moment, realizing the finality of what was getting ready to happen.  Realizing that a vaginal delivery was absolutely out of the question. 
But you know, I really wasn't. 
I was so ready to meet our baby girl, that nothing could bring us down.
Nothing.
 
.......and then I walked into the operating room. 

 
I have never been more overcome with emotion than I was in that moment.  I remember climbing up on the table.  I was shaking all over.  Shaking so hard that you could visually see my entire body convulsing. Jon stood there by my side, solid as a rock. 
Strong and calm.
 
 The wonderful nurses brought me a warm blanket and wrapped me up in it. 
 
I began crying a few moments later.  A quiet cry as I was hopeful no one would notice. 
Tears were just streaming down my cheeks. 
I remember feeling so fearful I would cry thru the entire birth of my daughter.  A sweet young nurse, fresh out of school, tried her best to console me but she just wasn't cuttin' it.
 
Right then, an older female nurse cut in and I remember her just grabbing my hand.  She began talking to me in the calmest voice I've ever heard.  She asked me what I was afraid of, to which I replied, "everything." 
 
I know, I really gave her something to work with, huh?  ;)
 
She began talking me thru., step by step, exactly what was happening to me. At the time, they were administering my spinal epidural. 
My anesthesiologist looked like Santa Claus, and I have to say, he gave me the gift of relaxation like I've never felt before.
 
The next 10 minutes were a blur, but what I remember most were the sweet nurses wiping the tears from my cheeks.  I felt my legs begin to tingle which meant the epidural was working thru my blood stream.  I immediately felt a wave of calm take over my body as they laid me down on the table.  The fear began subsiding allowing the feeling of excitement to sweet over me.
I realized my daughter would be here in just a few short minutes!!!!!
 
 
Jon sat right beside me, holding my hand the entire time.  I remember just staring at him as we talked about what was getting ready to happen.  The experience was so peaceful....and quite honestly, beautiful.  Later we talked about that moment, me laying on the table and looking into his eyes.  Those moments, the conversation we shared right before our daughter entered this world,
we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
 
I told the doctor to tell me everything that was happening. 
I was draped heavily so I couldn't see anything but the anesthesiologist and my husband.  
About 10 minutes later she began bringing our daughter into this world!
 
"Her legs are out!  Oh, there's her butt.  She just pooped and peed! 
 Her arms are out!  And she's here!" 
 
I remember the next minute feeling like the longest minute of my life.  She didn't make a noise for what seemed like an eternity!  I was getting very anxious and (yelling at) asking the doctor what was going on.  She told us that Lara had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.  Less than 10 seconds later, the doc lifted our beautiful baby girl up over the drapery so we could see her and right then, she let out one mighty scream!  It was the most beautiful sound I've ever heard!!
 
It was 8:13 am when our little 6lb 13 oz, 16.75 inch, tiny bundle of joy entered the world.
 
They quickly whisked her away to the other side of the room where they began cleaning her up.  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I lay there listening to our baby girl cry her little lungs off! We knew in that moment that we had one feisty little girl!    

 
I yelled across the room and asked if she had 10 fingers and 10 toes. 
Because, you know, that was the most pertinent information at the time (NOT)
I could tell the nurses were a bit caught off guard, but I heard them quietly begin counting. 
They hollered back to reassure me that, yes, she did in fact have all her fingers and toes.


 
They called daddy over to get his first glimpse.  Jon yelled across the room, telling me how beautiful she was.  In these moments, I was a blubbering mess.  I had the sweetest anesthesiologist stationed right by my head who was extremely comforting in all that she did. 
 
A few minutes later, Jon brought her over to see me for the first time. 
 I could literally feel my heart expand in my chest as it began filling with love for this little girl. 
A love I could have never prepared myself for.

 



 

 
The moment captured above is a moment I'll cherish forever.  The first time I got to kiss her sweet little cheeks....and smell her beautiful little face.  The anesthesiologist held her there, right by my head.  I remember kissing her over and over...and over again.

 
About 30 minutes later, I was stitched back together and they wheeled me into the room next door for recovery.  They swaddled up our little bundle and let her rest right there beside me. 
 
That afternoon was somewhat of a blur as I was in and out of sleep most of the day until around 5 or 6:00 pm.  I remember wanting to hold my baby so badly, but with all the morphine in my system, my arms felt like 150 pounds each. I just was not strong (or conscious enough) to really hold her until later that day.
 
 
Which meant that this handsome fellow was on diaper duty for the first 24 hours.  He was also my camera man  that day, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am for all the candid shots he captured amidst all the chaos.  These pictures are ones I will treasure forever!!
 
 
As the day wore on, the medication began to wear off. I remember feeling very itchy all over, which was a side affect of the morphine working it's way out of my system.  I became quite nauseous mid-afternoon, however our nurses were on the ball.  She immediately got me some medication and later that day, I was able to get down a nice liquid meal for dinner, with a side of ice chips. ;)
 
I thought I'd be just starving, but honestly, I really wasn't. 
I was consumed with so much emotion that food was the last thing on my mind. 
 
 
 
 
 
Our family spent the entire day with us, and even though I was in and out of sleep, it was so comforting to drift off to the sound of them loving on our sweet little girl.
 
 
When everyone left that evening, we had some alone time with our Lara Love. 
 And love on her we did!!
 


Around 1:00 am, we let her go sleep in the nursery so we could get some much needed rest
after all the excitement had that day. 

That next morning was one I'll remember forever.  I was going thru withdrawal from having her gone all night.  When Jon placed her in my arms that next morning, I remember looking down at her in awe of this tiny little being we created. 
I just stared at her for a very long time, feeling a happiness I've never felt. 
 
 
I'm a wife.
I'm a daughter.
I'm a friend.
I'm a sister.
I'm an aunt.
 
And now.....
I'm a mother.  
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

To my daughter

December 18th, 2013. The night my life changed forever. The night I began falling in love with you.

I remember so vividly, seeing that faint plus sign appear on the pregnancy test sitting on the bathroom counter. I yelled for your daddy, needing him to confirm that what I saw was true. That your tiny little soul was forming inside of me. It was in this moment that I fell in love with you. 

I remember touching my belly and feeling a sense of love I've never felt before. I have spent everyday since dreaming of feeling you in my arms. Dreaming of looking into your eyes for the first time. Dreaming of kissing the tip of your sweet little nose. It was in these moments that I fell more and more in love with you.

The sound of your heartbeat is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. Each time I hear it, I fall more in love with you.

March 8th, 2014.  The first day I got to show you off to the world.  The day people began to notice that I was carrying a little one inside by looking at my tiny little baby bump.  I remember sliding on my very first pair of maternity jeans and when I turned to the side, there you were.  I have never been more proud. 

I'll never forget the first time I looked down and saw my belly shifting around as your little body rolled around inside of me. You became so much more real in that moment. That day, I fell even more in love with you.

April 12th, 2014.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning.  I remember laying in bed, enjoying every little flutter your sweet little body would give me.  Your daddy reached over to rest his hand on my belly, when WHAM!  You took your tiny little foot and whacked him right in the palm.  I have never seen your dad's eyes light up like they did in that moment.  We both fell in love with your feisty little spirit that morning.

As I sit here on the eve of your birth with tears in my eyes, I can't help but wonder how my heart can hold more love for you, little one.  The days to come hold a lot of unknowns.....but one thing is for sure.

I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living.
My baby you'll be.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our Little Breech Baby

Houston, we have ourselves a bit of a problem. Our little one has decided to set up shop inside my tummy, with her little booty down low and her head directly above my belly button.


That's right, folks. Baby girl is breech and she ain't budging.


Literally.


We started to think we may have an issue at around 35 weeks when she was still booty down at our weekly checkup. Our doc gave us some suggestions for us to try at home to get her to flip on her own. 


Ice on my belly because apparently they do NOT like the cold, and sometimes will move away from it. Didn't work.


Play music down low in hopes she'd move toward it. Nope, not happening.


Lay upside down on an ironing board, hoping physics will do the trick. Nada. Not budging.


We even tried the trifecta.


Ice and music WHILE upside down on the ironing board.


Needless to say, a broken ironing board later, we have ourselves one stubborn little girl.


At our 36 week appt, she still hadn't moved so we scheduled an external version for this past Friday. If you're not sure what this is, it's a technique used by doctors to manually turn the baby from the outside. 


There are a few risks, the main one being an emergency c-section if the baby were to go into distress. Needless to say, all last week was spent preparing to bring our little girl home in the event that she'd not resond well to the procedure. It was quite surreal packing the hospital bag, cleaning the house from top to bottom, packing the diaper bag with little onesies... 


While we were really hoping all would go well and she'd flip with the doctors help, we couldn't help but feel somewhat excited that we may be bringing our baby home!! 


We got checked into a birthing suite Friday morning, gowned up, the nurse put the IV in, pain shots administered and we were ready to go. 


Here's where I'm going to leave out the most detail because honestly, I don't want to terrify any new mommies out there that may have to go thru this experience. If there's anything I've learned along this journey, it's that never are two journeys the same. We all have different bodies, different babies, different uteruses.


What I will say is that I feel like I became a mom that day. People always tell you that part of becoming a parent is the willingness to do anything for that baby, and that could not be more true. 


I want so badly to be able to have her the way my body was intended, labor for as long as it takes and push her out into this world with as less risk as possible. In order to have the option of a vaginal delivery, I had to have this procedure. So, we did.


After about 35-40 minutes, she had only turned about 45 degrees and this little girl was not moving any further. She made that quite clear. She had found a nook right up under my right rib cage and the girl got comfortable, so why move any further? 


After several attempts, my doctor asked if I wanted to keep trying. In that moment, I knew that I could not quit...that I could not give up.  I knew that she would have to make that decision as I was could not make that call on my own. She told me she'd try one last time, which we did, but it unfortunately was unsuccessful. 


Once the nurse and doctors left the room, I broke down in tears. Jon wiped them from my cheeks and said the things I needed to hear right then in that moment. We had done everything we could to try for a vaginal delivery, it was now time to grieve that loss and prepare to deliver our girl via c-section. 


And grieving is what I'm doing now. Some moments are harder than others, but they are all part of this beautiful journey. 


I have always dreamed of becoming a mom surrounded by our amazing parents, holding hands with my husband. Not laying on an operating table with a curtain draped over my stomach. 


But you know what, life doesn't always turn out how you "picture" it. I'm learning that that doesn't mean it's any less beautiful.


What will be beautiful is meeting our baby girl for the first time, kissing her sweet cheeks and feeling her warm little body on my chest, with her daddy right there loving on the both of us, together finally as a family of 3. 


In that moment, who gives a shit how she came out, right? ;) 


We have our 38 week appointment tomorrow afternoon. If she hasn't flipped, we will be scheduling our c-section for next week. 


Our little family would appreciate all the thoughts and prayers you could send our way! Stay tuned.....






Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Babymoon, Maternity Photoshoot & Bump Pics!

Here we are, on the eve to the start of my 35th week.  People tell you time flies, and they ain't kiddin'.  It honestly feels surreal to walk into her (almost) complete nursery, sit down in our comfy glider and think that in a few short weeks I'll be rocking my baby girl to sleep in this very spot. 
 
I'm excited.
I'm terrified.
I'm exhausted.
I'm anxious.
I'm growing.
I'm emotional.
 
But most of all, I have to say I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life. 

 
 
A lot has happened over the past couple months since I've posted last, and I really didn't know where to begin because I've gotten so behind.  I figured I'd start ]up by sharing a few of my favorite pictures from our Babymoon to Naples, Florida. 
 
 
 June was also full of our beautiful baby showers! Our little Lara Love sure was CELEBRATED!!
I can't wait to share some photos of those in another post!
 
I have plans to write up a post sharing our maternity photos we captured during our Babymoon, but I figure I'll save that for another week.  I do promise I will share, just not tonight! 
 
....ok, maybe just a few...or more than a few....  ;)
We hired a local photographer I found on Groupon and I could NOT be more thrilled with the final edits!!  I wanted to do my shoot a little earlier in my pregnancy and I'm so thankful we did!
I have been able to incorporate my favorites into her nursery.
 
 
 


 



 

 
 
Naples was just BEAUTIFUL!!!  Expensive, but beautiful.
I actually came up with the idea of traveling there after reading this beautiful ladies post on
Naples a year or so ago. 
Blue waters, white sand, gorgeous weather.
Done. 
Sold.
  
 
 

 

 
One of the first days we were there, we took this trolley all around to explore and decide where all we wanted to hit up in the days to come.
 
 

We stayed at La Playa Golf & Beach Resort and you'd be CRAZY to not check this place out if you ever plan to vaca to Naples.  The rooms were huge, service was top notch, restaurant was mouth watering amazing, and most of all, the beach access was one of the best!  In fact, when we checked in, they upgraded us to a beach front room for FREE. 

Resort Restaurant

 
We took a sunset cruise on one of our last evenings & we were SO glad we did!
 
 
Toward the end of the cruise, these dolphins started jumping up alongside the boat & were so close they were literally splashing water up onto us!! 
 
 
 
 The last couple days we just took off driving to explore a few islands right near Naples.  We came across this one little restaurant located on Marco Island, about 45 minutes south of where we were staying. 


You literally sat in these adorable Adirondacks while you waited for your food to arrive...WITH your toes in the sandy, cool water. 
Best. Restaurant. EVER.
If you are ever in the area, you have to check it out!!

 



During the trip, we entered our 28th week! 
Which obviously called for a photo op.
;)
 
 

Ok, so I've got you caught up on a few pictures, but still have a few more months worth to share.  For now, I'm going to close.  This mama is quite tired these days!  This whole growing a baby thing is not for the birds.  I have to say, one of the hardest parts of being pregnant for me has been the loss of energy.  I haven't had swelling, haven't had near the weight gain I thought I'd have, not a ton of nausea...but the exhaustion has hit me pretty hard.  I've been forced to slow down, but I still put up a valiant fight.  For instance, last weekend we had quite the humidity here in Kansas City.  I did a lot inside, worked around the house and then forced myself to run to Target.  Needless to say, a couple hours later, I passed out on the couch for over 2 hours.   

Thankfully, Jon has been a total trooper!!
While I really struggle some days with the exhaustion and not being able to do what I used to, he always seems to say just the right thing to cheer me up. He's always the first to remind me that the job I'm working on everyday is so much more important than all the other
silly tasks around the house.
 He does the dishes, laundry, cooks dinner some nights and has even gone to the grocery store for me!
 
I have to say, I think my husbands a pretty amazing wife. 

He's sure giving me a run for my money. ;)
 
Until next time, my loves!  
 
 
 

Monday, May 5, 2014

6 Months. Asking for Prayer.

Well, hello again.  We meet again. I always look forward to these moments of solitude, where it's just me, my computer & my racing thoughts.  Honestly, it's calming....so thank you for continuing to read month after month.  For some reason you enjoy, which therefore makes me enjoy the process even more.  I love blogging for many reasons, but one of the top ones is sharing a piece of my life with all of you. 
 
 
 
 
 So here we are, 6 months into this journey of growing a baby.  And I just felt her kick as I typed that, she must sense I'm talking about her. 
 
You know that feeling where things seem to be going almost too perfect...too easy?  It's almost a terrifying feeling.  Well, that's been a feeling I've had in the back of my mind this entire pregnancy.  I tell you what, people scare the shit out of you when you tell them you're pregnant & they start sharing their horror stories from their pregnancy.  I have to admit something, I was scared shitless to get pregnant.  Excited, yes.  But scared to death.  I feel stupid now as that's totally not been my experience.  So if there's one thing one of you pretty ladies takes with you from reading my blog....don't let all those crazy women out there spook ya.  It's way frickin' cooler than you could ever imagine.
 
Anyway, I've had this looming feeling that the ball was going to drop.  SOMETHING was going to go wrong.  Well, this past Friday, the ball dropped. 
 
As you all know, my father in law had a very successful heart transplant on December 27th.  A few short months ago.  This past week, he was diagnosed with CMV, cytomegalovirus.  It is most common in people with a weakened immune system, transplant patients & pregnant women among the most at risk.  There are ALOT of people that carry the virus, but it can remain dormant within the body for very long periods of time.  It typically flares up when a persons immune system is weakened.  When I heard Sheldon had contracted the virus, I knew it sounded scary, but the transplant team assured the family that it was safe to be around me, with no risk to the baby.  I put a call into my doctor to be sure, and turns out, it is very dangerous to be around someone with the virus as it can be very dangerous for the baby if I were to contract it from Sheldon.  By the time I found this out, I had already spent a few hours with Sheldon on Friday in which I drove him to the hospital to get checked in to receive iv antibiotics for his infection as he had become severely dehydrated. 
 
After talking with my doctor that afternoon, I learned that this was serious & I needed to get labs drawn ASAP to check and see if the virus had been transmitted to me.  I went Saturday morning and got my blood drawn & now we wait.  As I type this, Sunday evening, time cannot seem to go fast enough.  My results will be in tomorrow, so until then, we wait....and PRAY. 
 
Jon also has to get tested first thing tomorrow & we're hopeful we'll get his results back by the end of the day Monday. 
 
On a positive note, Sheldon seems to be responding very well to his antibiotics & we are hopeful he'll be discharged from the hospital in the next couple days. 
 
This has hands down been one of the most terrifying experiences of our pregnancy thus far.  It's such a helpless feeling.....not knowing what's going on inside of you, not knowing if you have somehow inadvertently caused harm to your tiny little baby.    There are still many unanswered questions, which of course causes even more anxiety.  I keep reminding myself that in these times of trial, when "the goin' gets tough," to lean on God.  I think we forget sometimes that we are not in control of our lives, He is. 
 
My dear, dear friend had the scariest week of her life here recently when she was told her tiny little newborn may not make it thru the night. He was baptized the following morning & immediately began beating the odds, immediately.  This little man was on every machine the hospital had in their NICU.  Within 3 days, he had been weaned off his ventilator, chest tube removed & was sleeping in his mommy's arms for the very first time.  If that doesn't demonstrate the power of Prayer, I don't know what will.
 
 
 
 
 
 
So today, I ask you for prayers.  For Sheldon to have the patience to endure the road to recovery he's traveling on.  For Jon & myself to have peace knowing that our baby is in God's hands.  Lastly, for this sweet little girl growing inside my belly, please pray that she be protected from any & all harm.
 
 
Ok, enough with the doom & gloom.  Let's wrap this up with some fun fotos that provide a glimpse into our lives over the past month or so. 
 
 Here's some nursery before & afters. 
 
 
 
 
We celebrated this little guy's birthday a few weeks back!  I can't believe he's turning into a little man right before our eyes....tear.
 
 
 
 
 
This past weekend, we celebrated my Mom's birthday, and had the most beautiful weather we've had this spring!!
 
 
Card courtesy of BePaperie, Etsy
 
 
 
 
(If you dig Instagram as much as I do, hit me up at @annexenos)
 
I promise to pop in in the next couple days with an update on Sheldon & an update on test results for myself & Jon.  Until then, please don't forget to say a little prayer for all of us, especially the little babe. We appreciate it more than you know!