Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elsie Mae's Dramatic Entrance

There is a lot about the birth of Elsie Mae that is leaving us unable to do anything but shake our heads in disbelief. I'm sure you'll join us in the head shaking by the end of you reading the tale of her arrival. Being the detail oriented person that I am though, this is no short story. . .

An interesting introduction to the arrival of Elsie Mae is that I have no idea how dilated/effaced I was at any point in the process. I was a 0 for each check with Addy and only a 2 after having contractions 2 minutes apart for 2 hours when they checked me in at the hospital. So for this one, I decided I didn't want to know my dilation because I didn't want to be discouraged. . . now I wonder how effective the hypnobirthing visualization of dilation really was prior to even going in to labor.

Saturday night we all went to bed as usual after attending Saturday night Easter service at church. At 1:24 am I woke up with a contraction that felt fairly strong. I practiced my deep belly breathing and rested in bed to see if another one would come. About 10 minutes later another contraction showed up and lasted about a minute bringing with it the need to go to the bathroom. In addition, the baby was doing crazy movements that felt like flip-flops in my belly. This went on about every 8 - 10 minutes for an hour before I decided I needed to wake Brad up.

At 2:20 am I decided it was real labor because I had the shakes like last time and by this point and I was having trouble getting them under control. I needed Brad's help to relax so I woke him up. After getting me settled in bed with a hypnobirthing relaxation recording, Brad hopped in the shower and poured himself some coffee (which we had luckily made the night before and put in a thermos to keep hot!). By the time he got out I had decided that laying in bed was not going to help me get my shakes under control. I was getting frustrated because I knew the shakes were the real problem with Addy's birth and I just couldn't stop them. I tried alternating between having Brad rub my back while on the birth ball, walking around trying to breathe and relax, and running to the toilet during contractions (sorry if that's TMI!). I have no idea how far about the contractions were at this point because I wasn't paying attention to the clock, just trying to get my shakes under control.

We do know that at 3:15 am Brad called my parents to let them know we were headed to the hospital. Just before that I told Brad it was time to go so he started in on my checklist getting the car packed and the appropriate phone calls made. Calling my parents was the first call. In between trying to help me relax and breathe, Brad continued down the checklist. He would come running when I would yell, "Brad" or "Baby" from the bathroom and then he'd be off trying to get us out the door.

Next, Brad called my friend Beth to let her know we were going to bring Addy over on our way to the hospital. Not long after he made that call, I told him I didn't want to spend the time with that stop and we should just call our neighbor, Connie, to come over to stay with Addy until Mom & Dad arrived. With me directing him, Brad couldn't find her phone number so he frantically called our other neighbor, Colleen, at 3:30am. She came right over.

Brad gave her some directions while I sat in on the toilet thinking, "How are we going to get to the hospital?!" I just couldn't imagine sitting in the car for 15 minutes when every contraction made me have to go to the bathroom. When Brad came back to check on me, I told him I was going to get an epidural when we got to the hospital. He asked me if I wanted him to talk me out of it and I told him no. I told him I just needed to think about it. He ran off again to put the last few things in the car and the next thing I knew my water broke like a water balloon exploding in the toilet (I know, more TMI). I hollered for Brad and told him he should call an ambulance to take us to the hospital because I wasn't going to be able to ride in the car. All the while, I'm doing this weird arm thing trying to get my breathing to slow down and trying to focus.

When I hollered for Brad, I yelled "Baby" so Colleen, who had just gotten into the guest bedroom thought I was saying the baby was coming and she started searching for the phone to call 911. Little did I know. . .

Then I told Brad I had to push and he told me, "No, let's just get in the car." He tried to pull me up and and I started pushing. The next thing I knew, he was lifting me on to the floor while yelling, "The baby's coming, the baby's coming!" and out came the baby! I think it happened all in 1 push, or maybe 2. It's kind of a blur but Brad caught the baby, put her on my belly (just like the videos!) and Colleen talked to the 911 people about what to do next. It was absolutely crazy, loud and frantic! Colleen announced that it was a girl but in the chaos, Brad didn't hear and remembered to check. :) We started trying to make sure the baby was breathing because she wasn't crying and she was doing just fine. Brad found a shoe string (that strangely enough I had noticed on the floor of Brad's closet just Saturday morning and could direct him to!) to tie off the cord and Colleen went in search of Addy's bulb syringe (which we never actually got a chance to use) and the paramedics got there as we were covering the baby girl with towels.

Once the paramedics arrived, they took the baby girl, got some stats (like our estimate that she was born at 3:40am. . . we really have no idea!) and I walked up the stairs to get on the gurney to head to the hospital. Yes, I walked up the stairs. I thought that sounded better than being bumped up the stairs on this weird chair thing. They strapped me in, took me out to the ambulance and handed me baby girl because I wanted to try to nurse her. The paramedics didn't even know babies nursed that quickly after birth. I'm pretty sure for most of the crew, this was their first unintended home birth assignment. They seemed mostly clueless, having to look up in the manual how to assign the Apgar score and what paperwork to fill out. They wanted to put me on an IV but I was still shaking with contractions (my placenta hadn't delivered so they were still really strong) and I was trying to nurse. They gave up when I ignored them. :)

Brad called my parents as he followed the ambulance to tell them what happened and we left Colleen to take care of Addy (along with her other 4 kids on Easter morning!) who luckily slept through the entire ordeal!

Once we got to the hospital, they checked us into Labor & Delivery, we waited for my midwife to arrive to deliver the placenta and then they started checking out baby girl. (still no name at this point. . . ) Her temp was low and since I was group B strep positive and was supposed to have antibiotics at least 4 hours before delivery to keep me from passing anything to her, they took her to get warmed up and checked out. They did a blood sugar test, which came back low, and some blood work, which came back with a high white blood cell count. With all these things, they decided to give her a bottle to try to raise her blood sugar and they decided to start her on antibiotics in case the white blood cell count was indication of an oncoming infection.

All the while, I was getting stitched up (very little tearing though which is amazing for how fast all of it happened!) and moved to the postpartum room. By this point, our story had circulated on the floor and we were getting all kinds of jokes and teasing.

It took a while but after being admitted as a NICU baby, they brought baby girl to us because she seemed to be doing fine. They decided they would just come get her to check her blood sugar level, white blood cell count and give her meds. That was great and we nursed again and she went to town no problem. She's a very strong eater which gave them good indication that she really was fine even some of her numbers were not that great. We found out that she weighed 7 lbs 10 oz, was 20.5 inches tall and had a head circumference of 12.8 inches. She is so tiny (and yet a little bigger than Addy was. . . wow!).

At that point forward it is all a blur of feedings, baby girl getting whisked away to the NICU for checks and meds, Mom, Dad & Addy coming to visit and not sleeping very much. All I know is that I can't believe how much better I feel having delivered quickly this time compared to how hard my recovery was from 17 hours of hard labor with Addy. I was walking all over the floor, showering and getting around by myself just hours after getting to the hospital.

As far as baby girl's name goes, about a month ago we were on a date and decided to deliberate once more about names when Brad asked about my grandmothers' names. When I said my mom's mom was named Elsie, he said, "That's what we're naming the baby if it's a girl." Needing some time to think about it, we really didn't talk about it again other than to say that Elsie Mae (spelled May in my mind at the time) was cute. I didn't want to decide on a name at the hospital until we got a chance to spend some time with her to see if it fit. That was when Brad sprung the Mae spelling on me again so I had to process that. . . decision delayed. In that time, we did call my parents back and the first thing my mom told me was that my Grandma, Elsie, was born on Easter. :) We figured that was confirmation enough that we ought to go with Elsie Mae. Since then we've been reminded by family members that Mae is a family name too! So, Elsie Mae Slease it is. Actually, we're calling her Elsie Mae instead of just Elsie. We're loving it.

We came home yesterday after we were discharged and have settled into life at home nicely. Addy's struggling a bit with all the change but loves her baby sister and wants to pray for her, kiss her and share her toys with her. We had Elsie Mae's newborn check up this morning (good grief trying to get out the door with 2 kids!) and she weighs 7 lbs 7 oz so she seems to be gaining just fine despite her spitting up quite a bit. The Doctor said she looked great.

So. . . that's the story. It wasn't what we had in mind but what a blessing that everything went well and that it was FAST! That was a huge answer to prayer even if it looked a little different than we thought. :)

We've attached a slide show of photos of the past several days. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fun Week!

***This blog never got posted as I was waiting to finish it on Sunday afternoon. . . with Elsie Mae's big adventure, we didn't get that far. Enjoy!

This week Addy and I had extra time with no Bible study or MOPS so we did a bit of exploring (at least during the few brief hours it wasn't raining this week!).

We headed to Historic Wheeler Farm where Addy got to see all her favorite barnyard friends. It did rain on us a but but we got to see everything and be outside for a while. Addy did decide that she didn't really like the horses or cows because they are big. She was 'all done' with those pretty fast. She was very into the 'hop hops' (bunnies) and the chickens.

We had quite a bit of company this week too. We had 2 supervisor candidates (for Brad's work) over for dinner on Tuesday night (we ordered Thai!) and then had all the supervisors/acting supervisors (and their wives), and candidates over for burgers Friday night. 'We' did cook for that one but since it was only planned as of Thursday afternoon, Brad did all the cooking and I just cleaned up. We've had fun entertaining this week and it's looking hopeful that Brad might be able to get some supervisors hired and in place in the next few weeks.

We also had our 39 week appointment with our midwife only to find out that she's going to be out of town next Thur - Sunday. Bummer. There are other midwives in the practice who can deliver Baby Slease if we go into labor while she's gone but we're still hoping Baby comes before she leaves!

Addy and I also made it to the zoo Friday morning because it was supposed to be sunny all day. It turned out only to be 40 degrees so while we were a bit chilly, a lot of the animals were really active because it was so cool. Addy decided the elephant, baby elephant, gorillas and rhinoceros were too 'big' so she didn't really like them. However, she was very friendly with the big cats like the leopards and tigers who were very actively pacing their pens. Addy kept meowing to them and saying hi. She was not afraid of them one bit. . . I was a bit uncomfortable by their pacing though.

With no real plans for Easter (other than hoping to be having a baby!) we found ourselves quite busy for the Easter weekend. We decided on a whim to go to our church's Eggstravaganza Saturday morning where the kids heard a gospel presentation and meaning behind Easter and then headed off to do an Easter egg 'hunt' (for Addy's age group that meant girls walking around the grass tossing eggs on the ground in front of the little kids. . . it was a zoo! Addy did get an egg though and she was very excited to find a sticker and a bouncy ball inside!), and then there was craziness in the biggest bounce houses I've ever seen.

Here's Addy with her Easter purse from Gramma Juice (thanks!) and her prize Easter egg. She was saying 'two' when I took the picture because I was counting 1, 2, 3 and she's gotten into the number 'two' lately. Oh well. We'll have to teach her to say 'cheese' for pictures.

We started off with Addy in the preschool bounce house, which she loved. She was in one about 2 months ago and didn't last 30 seconds but this time she played in there longer than any of the other kids! She loved it!

Then Addy and Daddy moved on to the big kids bounce house. Brad carried her through this air filled maze thing and then up a ladder to go down a really big slide. She loved it. . . Brad was a bit winded by the end. :)

Saturday night we went to Easter service at church. Here's our family photo, the very last photo of me pregnant and Addy after church.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food & Fun

The past couple of weeks have been busy. We've had dinner guests, lots of baby prep, we've started a hypnobirthing class (oh yeah, it finishes after our due date!) and gotten together with other 'SLC Pioneer Class of 2010' members.

The hypnobirthing class is interesting. There's a bit that's a little out there for me but I am practicing my relaxation every day in prep for our go at another natural birth. Hopefully I'll do it more gracefully this time. Relaxing isn't really in my personality profile so I'm really trying to figure that out.

Addy and I have been spending our time singing songs (she loves to do hand motions), going for walks when it's not raining, visiting various baby stores to take care of last minute purchases and continuing on with Bible study, MOPS, book babies, visiting the aquarium and taking a lot of naps.

Brad, on the other hand, has been spending a lot of time trying to get everything at work situated for him to be out of the office for 2 weeks when the baby comes. Poor guy. . . this is not really good timing for a new baby. He has a lot going on at work! We'd appreciate your prayers for him!

I've posted some pictures of recent events like when we loaded up on seafood (yeah for gift cards) from Market Street Grill Fish Market and made clam chowder and sourdough bread (actually these were pre-made), scallops, crab legs and lobster meat. We topped it off with blueberry shortcake (we ran out of strawberries from our dinner party the night before). Addy tried the lobster, clam chowder, sourdough bread and shortcake but we were unwilling to spare any of the crab or scallops. We're so mean. She loved all of it but we got the most 'mo's' out of the blueberry shortcake.

We also have pictures of a gathering we had with 5 other couples who moved to SLC last April - June from TX (2 couples), CO (3 couples from Denver!), and NV . We decided to do an anniversary party to celebrate the year. We had great food and the kids had tons of fun together.

Lastly on the video is a short clip of Addy's new behavior (no, not her recently acquired interest in hitting! Any ideas how to stop this one?!). This one is cute. She's imitating me by grunting and groaning when she picks stuff up. I had no idea I was doing it that much but apparently she noticed. With just 1 week to go until my due date I think I'm entitled to groaning but I just hope she stops when I do. :) Enjoy!

Hopefully the next post will introduce Baby Slease!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1 year, 18 1/2 mo, 37 weeks

These are all our milestones this week. . . we've officially been in Salt Lake for 1 year, Addy is 18 1/2 months old and we are 37 weeks pregnant. (It's also been over a month since I last updated this blog. oops!) Wow. Time flies.

So I suppose, officially, Baby Slease can come anytime. I'm trying to get my mind around that and get organized for the big event. It's hard to be motivated though because Addy was a week late and I can't even imagine this baby coming early. Everywhere I go people tell me my belly is 'ripe' or that the baby has dropped. I guess it's possible the baby could come early. We'll see. . .

Besides chasing after Addy, I've been enjoying doing a Kay Arthur Bible study on Covenant with some ladies at church, I've been swimming a mile few times a week, and I've been napping. . . a lot! Every time I try to sit down to read or practice relaxation techniques during Addy's naptime, I just fall asleep. I rationalize that it's ok because soon enough I won't be getting nearly enough sleep.

We did have a fun surprise this last weekend. . . my college roommate, Raguel, who I haven't seen in several years drove through SLC with her family (3 kids!) and ended up spending the night at our place on Friday. Luckily I had the guest room ready for my parents to come when the baby arrives because I didn't have to do a thing to prepare for their unexpected visit! :) We really enjoyed seeing Raguel and her family and getting to catch up. Even though it was a short visit, it was so much fun!

Brad has been busy with crazy work and getting ready for the new baby but he also started meeting with a personal trainer at 24 hour fitness. While it seems like a bad time to start such a time commitment as that, it's really great because he needs that outlet and time to himself. In addition to that, he's still been meeting with Daniel, the Chinese grad student at the U, each Saturday morning for coffee and discipleship. That relationship has been so neat and Brad has really enjoyed teaching Daniel how to study the Word of God himself to direct his decision making.

Addy has been quite busy lately. She's learning things so quickly and she's really growing in her social skills. She's noticing other kids now and is actually playing with them. However, she does NOT like it when other kids who are bigger than her grab her hands and try to make her do something or go somewhere. We're working on an appropriate response to that scenario instead of pushing them away and saying 'no.' I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at her social Independence. . . she does take after me.

Addy and I have been enjoying the aquarium, playdates, reading books and just spending time together. We laugh a lot and sing a lot of songs together. Addy is a hand motion pro when it comes to her favorite songs. She's also a riot when she's requesting songs or books or her favorite toys. She has her own little way of communicating what she wants that is very clear to me but even Brad needs a translator a lot of times.

It seems like we're not getting the camera out enough lately but I'll post some pictures of life lately and a video of Addy and Brad sledding this last Sunday at the park near our house. Enjoy!