Monday, February 20, 2012

HIS side of the story

So I guess the following is going to be sort of like my journal entry on the birth of my first little girl. I’ll try and keep this interesting so none of you falls asleep in the middle. If you have your own newborn then I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep. No worries, I understand. In fact I’d be surprised if I don’t fall asleep at some point while writing this.
1:00 AM Monday 13th Feb 2012 (All times are estimated and therefore subject to change if it becomes convenient for me)
I woke up and asked Ashleigh how far apart her contractions were. 4 minutes, steady for the past hour. I asked her if we should go to the hospital. She said “I don’t know, what do you think?” I asked her what the doctor said, and she told me that he said to come in if her contractions were 3-5 min apart, steady for an hour. So we left for the hospital. I had a pretty nervous feeling as we navigated the empty streets of Orem. I had no idea what to expect.
2:00 AM Monday
Still in the hospital, and the nurse has already told us that Ashleigh is still not dilated. Still she has us waiting in the room with Ashleigh hooked up to a contraction and baby heart monitor. (Sorry Ranee', I know I just switched tenses on everyone, it feels more natural this way and makes it easier to recall what I was feeling etc. I don’t really want to go back and change what I’ve already written. J) The hard chair did a good job of keeping me awake as we waited to for 2:30 to roll around when the doctor would come back and see if Ash had made any progress, if she hadn’t we would be headed back home. I watched the contraction monitor and cheered every time the line spiked, signifying a contraction. Okay so cheered isn’t the right word. For someone who can watch baseball stats get updated on a computer screen and be entertained, watching a line go up and down on a hospital monitor is actually pretty entertaining.
2:25 AM Monday
The nurse came back in and told us Ash is still only dilated to a 2. So we are headed back home. I don’t sleep well, but at least I get to skip my first class to go to Ash’s doctor’s appointment.
9:15 AM Monday
The doctor tells us that he’s going to induce Wednesday morning at 5 AM unless the baby decides to come sooner. I don’t think that’s happening and neither does Ash, so I can relax for a couple more days. The next couple of days go by pretty fast and I often find myself wondering what it will be like to be a dad. Of course I had no idea.
4:20 AM Wednesday
I wake up at 4:20 and take our bags and the car seat out to the car. After getting everything ready we leave at about 4:40 AM. We get to the hospital and the nurses check us into our room. The pullout that I’m supposed to sleep in is more like a bench and it’s not long enough so my feet hang off the edge. That’s okay though because I’m used to sleeping in weird places on campus. I don’t fall asleep though, but instead I lay awake until 8 AM listening to the baby’s heartbeat. It reminds me of a washing machine with the steady swishing sound. Sometimes the baby moves and monitor doesn’t pick up the sounds very well. I hold my breath each time until the soothing sound returns. The doctor comes in and tells us that Ashleigh is progressing. I finally fall asleep at 8:30 AM.
10:30 AM
I wake up and find out that the nurses have brought me breakfast. I didn’t expect this and I open the tray curious to see what is underneath. To my surprise it is a very edible breakfast burrito, very delicious actually. This raises my expectations for the rest of the week, but those hopes would be shattered when I would eat the worst toasted ham and cheese sandwich I have ever taken a bite of in my life.
3:00 PM
The doctor comes in and checks Ashleigh’s progress. He says it’s time to push. My heart suddenly starts racing. What am I going to do? She’s really coming! I jump out of my seat and head to my wife’s side. The nurse gives me my instructions for the next little while and the fun begins. I figure I need to keep things positive so I take it upon myself to show the nurses my new dance moves in between contractions. They love it, and generously complement me. (Not on my dance skills, but on my fun attitude.) These nurses are seriously awesome. After an hour of pushing the baby is still at a 2+, I have no idea what that means but when Ash pushes the nurse that is looking (I’m definitely not looking) says that she can see the baby’s head. I venture a couple glances down but the only thought that comes to mind is, “A baby’s gonna come out of that?
4:30 PM
Doc comes back to check on the progress, still a 10+. OK… He tells us that he is going to give it another half an hour and then we’ll decide what to do if there is still no progress. I’ve been praying the whole time but now I really kick it into gear. I ask my Heavenly Father, “Please let this baby come out. Let her be healthy. If she is not supposed to come out this way then please let us know what decision to make when the time comes.” I continue my dance skills in between contractions. I’m pretty nervous, but I feel sure that both mom and baby will be fine.
5:10 PM
The doctor comes back in and checks the baby’s progress. Nothing. He explains our options. We can continue to push and see what happens. That doesn’t feel right. We can do a C-section and get the baby out that way. That feels right. Our last option is to try and get the baby out with a vacuum and forceps. I get a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when he gives this option. He explains the benefits and dangers of each option. I look at Ash and it feels like we have both come to the same conclusion. I say “C-section” and she nods in approval. The doctor says that we will start the operation at 6 ish. They begin prepping the operating room and getting Ash ready to go. I put my weird anti-terror biological warfare suit on and plop myself on the couch with my head in my hands. I am trying to imagine that everything is going to go great. I’m going to be a father in less than an hour. The nurses keep asking me if I’m ok and I tell them that I am. I really am, and they were very kind to be worried about me.
5:50 PM
Ashleigh heads into the operating room and the doctors tell me to wait outside while they get everything prepped. They tell me it will only be a few minutes but I think it was much longer than that. I listen to the doctor’s talk about what a sham colonoscopies are and how they are using scare tactic commercials to squeeze every penny out of us.
6:00 PM
The doctor finally comes and gets me and takes me into the operating room. There is a weird plastic wrap on Ashleigh’s stomach. They take me behind the curtain and I sit down by Ashleigh’s head. I grab her hand and she looks at me and smiles. Now I start to get really nervous. This is really happening and I’m not sure what to do. It seems more and more dangerous as the minutes pass. So much can go wrong. I know it’s time to pray again, but I’m not sure what to ask for. I say the simplest prayer I’ve probably ever said in my life.  “Heavenly Father, please take care of my wife and daughter.” I feel a great calm come over me. The best I’ve felt all day.
6:06 PM
The anesthesiologist nudges me and says, “You’ll want to look at this part.” I look over the partition just in time to see a very hairy head emerge from my wife’s stomach. They pull the rest of her out and I think, “I did that?” (Think of those HP printer commercials). They clean her up and I get to hold my daughter for the first time. It is awesome. She is not screaming so much as squawking. They wheel her out and I go with while they sew up my wife. I get to stay next to my girl for 20 minutes or so until they are ready to take us to our new room. 

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

I figured the first few days of being at home with a newborn are some of the most life-changing... and so they deserve to be well-documented, both for myself and Alexsi.

We came home from the hospital on Saturday evening.  After being there for 4 days, we were ready to have the comforts of home!  I would be lying if I said I wasn't anxious about it, particularly cause my mom was in Saint George so I didn't have her for a "safety net" to rely on.  In the hospital, Alexsi was kind of a finnicky eater.  Mostly she felt like she wasn't getting enough to eat (my milk hadn't come in yet), and she acted like she was absolutely starving, and would just wail!  She would get herself so riled up that she wouldn't even be able to latch on, and that would make her more angry.  DJ would then have to take her from me, put on a rubber glove and put one of his fingers in her mouth to calm her down.  For some reason, she'd suck happily on a rubber-gloved-finger even though that didn't give her ANY nourishment.  It was just stressful.  We developed a method with the help of a nurse where we would get some formula in a syringe with a tube attached to the end of it.  We would put her up to me to eat, then squirt a tiny bit of formula in so she would latch on to me, and then continue to give little squirts of formula every so often so she'd keep nursing.  It was a frustrating and difficult process.  At home on Saturday night, I couldn't get her to eat even with the formula, and I was starting to get stressed.  There was a BYU game on, and DJ's siblings and cousins were over so I felt even more stressed, like I was doing such a bad job.  I finally just got her calmed down and decided to wait to feed her.  I got her to eat a little before going to bed that night.  Unfortunately, she only stayed asleep for maybe an hour before she was up and crying again.  We are having her sleep in a little cradle next to our bed for now.  I took her out of our room and tried feeding her, changed her diaper, and rocked her.  That whole night was HORRENDOUS, and is already kind of a blur.  DJ and I were both up with her in the night, each taking shifts for a couple of hours.  I got a little sleep in the recliner with her, but not much else.  When I was trying to get her to eat and she just wouldn't, I started crying and crying.  Exhaustion, frustration and the feeling of helplessness with my little girl was just too much for me.  I told DJ I just wanted to feed her formula and be done with it.  He helped me calm down and let me know I wasn't doing anything wrong, we all just needed to get used to the newness of this.  Also, she would only eat from one side!  So that side was getting all chapped and bleeding, and I couldn't figure out why she wouldn't latch on to the other side.  I still don't know what the deal was with that.  Ugh it was such a bad night!

On Sunday morning DJ got up and went to church to teach our Primary class.  I fed Lexsi and let her sleep in bed with me.  I have always said that I would NEVER let my kids sleep in my bed.  Broke that promise to myself within about 15 hours of bringing her home.  Funny how exhaustion will do that to you!  She slept so much better against my skin, though, so we got a little rest in.  When DJ got home from church, we drove up to the hospital and I rented a breast pump.  My milk had started to come in over night, and I was worried since she wouldn't eat from my right side that I would definitely need to pump that side.  Also we figured that since she was up so much in the night, if we had bottles of breast milk DJ could help me out some by feeding her.  Sunday was a much more calm day, and we all got some much-needed rest.

Today is Monday, and things are already SO much better!  Last night went a lot smoother.  Now that my milk is in, this little girl is so much happier!  She really just wanted to eat, I guess!  She's nursing really well.  I've had to use the pump as well-- once my milk decided to come in, it decided to come in like crazy!  I've pumped at least 12 ounces today, and breast-fed her at least 5 times.  I even had to get up in the night while she was asleep to pump.  Kind of ridiculous, but I'd MUCH rather have this "problem" than the opposite one-- I've experienced both ends of the spectrum and this one is waaaaaaay more manageable!

Having a baby has already proved to be challenging, but it's so worth it!  She is wonderful, and such an incredible blessing.  Things are still going to be rough, and we'll have crappy days and nights.  All in all, though, I know that this is what we're supposed to do, and we're going to be blessed and continue to receive help in the process!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Little Alexsi Nicole

Yesterday, February 15th, we woke up at 4:20 AM and got ready to go to the hospital to have our little girl.  We got there a little before 5, and by 5:30 I was in bed hooked up to Pitocin.  At this point I was dilated to a 2, so I had a long way to go!  The nurse offered to get the anesthesiologist to do my epidural right then, but I declined.  Honestly I was just nervous about getting it so I decided to put it off.  After a few hours and contractions getting a little more painful, I was dilated to about a 4 and I decided to get the epidural, mostly cause I knew my doctor would be in soon to break my water and I didn't really want to feel that!  I was nervous when the anesthesiologist came in and explained how he wanted me to sit, and explained what he was going to do.  But seriously, epidurals are no big deal!  It honestly didn't hurt any worse than getting my IV in my hand earlier that morning.  Within minutes, I was so much more relaxed and feeling better than I had in weeks!   I was happily chatting with my nurses, texting family, and generally enjoying life!  The doctor did come in and break my water, which clearly I didn't feel cause of the epidural.  They also put a catheter in, and I must say-- I kinda loved that!  The past few weeks I've had to pee so often, so it was soooo nice to be able to just lay in bed and not worry about getting up to pee every 20 minutes!  Call me crazy, but honestly I thought it was awesome (still do, actually!).  I progressed pretty slowly, about 1 centimeter every hour to hour and a half.  During that time, I was just relaxing, and it was awesome!  I seriously dozed off and on all day, and it was beautiful.  I expected it to be such a long day, but the time flew by.  Seriously, people, epidurals are heaven sent!  I think the day was worse for DJ than me, cause he didn't have any drugs in his system :).  At some point the doctor decided he wanted internal monitors for my contractions and Alexsi's heartbeat.  The contraction monitor went in fine, but the heartbeat monitor promptly came unhooked.  They attached a new one, which worked for about 2 minutes, then came unhooked as well.  After 4 tries, they decided to just stick with the external monitor, and told me it wasn't working cause she had so much hair!  I was ecstatic to know that my 9 months of heartburn was well worth it!  Finally, around 3:15,  the doctor told me I was ready to start pushing!  DJ and one of my nurses would hold my legs as I pushed, 3 pushes for each contraction.  I could feel the pressure of pushing and contractions, but no pain, which was awesome.  Seriously, in between contractions we were all laughing and talking and having a great time!  DJ and I told the nurses how we met, and they told us stories about themselves.  It was just fun!  DJ even worked on his dance moves between contractions-- he was a great entertainer!  He was also a PHENOMENAL coach!  The nurses said they wanted to hire him to help other people too!  The contractions were showing up on the monitor, and every time I pushed, the line would shoot up way over 100.  DJ was thrilled by this, and encouraged me to get them up over 100 every time.  We were joking about how competitive I am, and how I was going to continue to push like crazy just to make that line go up!  After about an hour of pushing, my medication was starting to wear off some.  The nurses encouraged me not to take more, because I might be able to push better if I felt more pain.  By this time, I was literally playing tug-of-war with one of the nurses-- during each contraction, DJ and one nurse would still hold my legs up, and I held on to one end of a knotted sheet while a nurse held the other end and I seriously did some tug-of-war with her.  It was pretty funny.  Alexsi's head had come down pretty quickly, to the point that they could easily see it (they asked DJ if he wanted to look and he rejected the offer--haha!).  The problem was, each time I pushed, her head would move forward, but when I stopped pushing it would slide right back.  During my second hour of pushing, as the medication wore off, I was having much less fun than I had been previously.  I was getting exhausted, and the pain was getting pretty bad.  In between contractions I just laid with my eyes closed, and tried to pump myself up for the next one, when really I was just on the verge of tears and having a come apart due to the pain.  Finally after 2 hours of pushing my doctor gave us some options; keep trying to push her out, try using a vacuum to get her out, or have a c-section.  He gave us the pros and cons of each, and both of us immediately felt certain that the c-section was the right route to take.  The anesthesiologist came in and gave me a really heavy dose of drugs through my epidural, which numbed my bottom half completely.  Previously I could still move my legs around, just didn't feel pain.  Now they were complete dead weight, which was kind of funny.  DJ got suited up in his Operating Room clothes, which were lovely!  They wheeled me into the OR, and transferred me from my bed to the operating table.  There were lots of nurses and doctors around, and they got me all prepped.  I was so exhausted at this point that I was having a hard time staying awake.  I suddenly felt someone grab my hand, and I looked around to see DJ sitting beside me.  I could hear the doctors asking for scalpels and other instruments (there was a sheet up in front of my face so I couldn't see what they were doing- thank heavens), and I could feel pressure that they were cutting into me and stuff but of course couldn't feel anything.  Because her head was so far down, they had one of my nurses go in vaginally and push her head back up into me so they could pull her out from my stomach.  Within a few minutes of them starting to cut, they told DJ to stand up and watch her come out, and he did.  I heard her squawk and immediately just felt relief-- she's really here!  They let me see her for a minute, then took DJ over to the scale and got her cleaned up.  She weighs 7 lbs 13 oz and is 20.5 inches long.  They took her out of the OR and DJ went with her, and I stayed on the table for about 20 more minutes while they sewed me up.  I was impressed that the whole c-section process, from the time they took me in to the time they rolled me out, was less than an hour.  What they discovered while they had me opened up was that I have an unusually large sacrum.  Because of that, Lexsi's head could fit down and start to come out, but her shoulders got caught on my sacrum, making it impossible for her to come out.  I'm going to have to only have c-sections the rest of my life.  That's okay with me, because at least I know in advance now and won't have to labor for 12 hours before the c-section :)

It's been nearly 24 hours now since she came into our lives, and we absolutely adore this girl!  She's a good eater and a great sleeper.  Her full head of dark hair is perfect, and she's just a doll!  She's absolutely a daddy's girl-- the two of them are completely smitten with each other!  I really love their relationship.  DJ is such a great dad, and is completely wrapped around that baby's little finger already.  We're just so grateful that she's here safe and sound, that she's healthy, and that she's actually ours!  We are so blessed!

And now, for your viewing enjoyment:

DJ in his OR gear

Alexsi Nicole

Proud daddy and baby

With Grammie and Tooge (can you tell how excited my mom is??)

With Aunt Nikki and Grammie

Sooo much hair!!!

Two tired girls!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


My "Valentimes" Day started yesterday, when DJ came home from coaching basketball practice.  He told me to close my eyes, and when I opened them he had a beautiful diamond necklace for me!  It's seriously perfect.  He picked it out all on his own, and I had NO idea he was getting it!  He's such a sweetheart!

Since our first Valentines Day together, DJ and I have gone to lunch rather than dinner-- dinner out on Valentines Day, particularly in a city with 2 universities, is a nightmare.  Most places don't take reservations and it's not fun or romantic to spend hours waiting for a table with 50 other people.  SO, this morning we went to Mimi's for brunch, which was delish!  It's definitely a more "girly" restaurant, but the food is fantastic!  I gave DJ his Valentines present, which was much more simple than his to me-- a book by Mitt Romney, a Jimmer DVD, and a huge Reese's heart.  I also told him that I would be in charge of dinner, since I got to choose the girly brunch :) I headed to the store to get steaks, since my husband is definitely a steak and potatoes guy!  I literally stood in front of the meat at the store for 10 minutes.  I had NO idea what kind of meat to get, or even how to cook a steak?  I knew I was going to grill it, and luckily there were some packages of meat that had stickers on the that said, "Perfect for Grilling!"  haha I'm pretty sure those were specifically put on there for me!  I read about grilling steaks on my favorite food blog, and put their tips to work.  I must say, I'm kind of a steak master now!  Dinner was pretty tasty!  Steak, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli and crescent rolls.

All in all, it was a great Valentimes... and our best present comes tomorrow!  Eeeeeeeek!!! Yay for baby girls!


I'm sitting here watching TV, feeling Alexsi move around inside me, and suddenly, it hits me;

This little girl is coming TOMORROW!


Monday, February 13, 2012

In the Middle of the Night....

A week ago at my doctor appointment, I found out I was STILL not dilated.  For the past week, I've been going on LOTS of walks, trying to help myself along.  On Thursday night I was having lots of contractions, and didn't sleep well.  The whole weekend I wasn't feeling well at all, and spent lots of time just resting.  Last night, I went to bed around 11:30, and at midnight I started having regular contractions.  My doctor had told me that if i had contractions 3-5 minutes apart for an hour, I should go to the hospital.  I started timing them, and I was REALLY hoping they would continue.  Seriously, in between each contraction I was praying that they would keep going and not taper off.  After about an hour and 15 minutes, the contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart.  I kept putting off going to the hospital because I didn't want them to send me home.  DJ asked how close together they were, and suggested we go.  We headed up to the hospital, and as I was checking in, I suddenly had a moment of panic, thinking that I could actually have a baby!  They brought me into a room and had me put on a gown, then the nurse came in and put a monitor on the baby's heart rate and another to monitor my contractions.  She checked my cervix, and I was dilated to a 2.  She left me in the room for an hour to see if I progressed at all.  After she left I told DJ I had kind of changed my mind-- maybe I didn't want a baby after all?  The fact that I was in the hospital, in a hospital bed, monitors strapped to me... was just a bit much.  For the first time since I've been pregnant, I freaked out.  It passed quickly, though, and then I was good again :)  We spent the hour watching the monitor with my contractions, and when the nurse came back in to check me, I hadn't progressed.  SO-- now that it was nearing 3 AM, we headed back home.  She offered to give me a shot that would help me sleep through the contractions, but since I had an appointment with my doctor just 6 hours later I decided not to take the shot-- my body doesn't react super well to sedatives... If I take a Tylenol PM, it knocks me out for at least 10 hours.  I figured since it was 3 AM I wouldn't have any issue falling asleep-- FALSE.  The whole rest of the night I was cursing myself for not taking the blasted shot.  Stinkin contractions!  At 9:15 AM DJ and I headed to the doctor.  He checked my cervix again, and I was still at a 2.  He said that since I was having all the contractions, he wanted to induce me on Wednesday!  I'm scheduled to go in at 5 AM Wednesday morning, unless of course she comes before that.  I don't expect that she will, since she's been so stubborn this far!  It's soooo nice to have a date, though!  We're SUPER excited to have our little girl here!!!