Sunday, June 28, 2015

What I've Learned In The Second Half Of Pregnancy (Weeks 20-39)

I previously blogged about the things I learned in the first half of pregnancy (here), so I figured it was only fitting to share what I've learned in the second half of pregnancy! 

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Numbness + Carpal Tunnel - Because my uterus began pushing on certain nerves and other body parts, I found that my hands eventually went numb in the second half of my pregnancy, plus I developed carpal tunnel in my right hand (my dominant hand). To help cope, I wore a brace for the last couple of weeks.
Bloody Nose - Luckily, I never had any bleeding come out of my nose, but I always had dried blood inside my nose. Sorry if that's TMI! But apparently that's normal with pregnancy.

Skin Changes - I have always had very oily skin, but with my pregnancy, it seemed to clear up quite a bit. It wasn't dry and it wasn't oily - it was just perfect!

Sleep Changes - Two things that became a norm during my sleep in the second part of pregnancy: drooling and ear aches. I have no idea how these are related to pregnancy, but almost nightly I would wake up in a pile of drool on my pillow. I also found that my ears would hurt really bad, as if I was sleeping on them wrong. 

Appetite - Although you would think the opposite, I was always full during my pregnancy. I guess it's because my daughter pushed up against my stomach, making it feel smaller. I am not sure. But I could go hours upon hours without eating and be totally fine. 

Hair Changes - Before pregnancy, I had always had very thin hair. During pregnancy, I learned what it was like to have nice, thick hair. It was the best ever. Now that I'm postpartum, I hear that hair will start falling out like nobodies business. We'll see what happens. 
Stretching - When stretching, the best advice that I have is to never point your toes! It will almost always induce charlie horses (at least it did for me). Instead, I would extend the heel of my foot when I wanted a good stretch.

Swelling - Just when you think your swelling can't get any worse, it does. I had major issues with swelling and each day it seemed to get worse.

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I really miss being pregnant, despite some of the more uncomfortable parts of it. I am looking forward to the day when I'll be pregnant again. However, I am so blessed to have my little girl in my arms these days and it will be nice to get my body back! Kensie and I have lots of dates planned with our jogging stroller!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Finding Our Routine

I will definitely still be blogging as often as possible here at Mrs. Southern Mama, but as we're building our new routine having a newborn, blogging falls low on the priority list. You understand, right? Once we get our routine more set, you'll be seeing much more of me. Until then, I wanted to update everyone on what's been going on with my new life as a mommy!

HOSPITAL VISITS.
One not-so-fun thing that has happened since Kensie was born is that I've been back to Labor and Delivery twice. The first time was last week. I went in because I had the chills and my mom looked at my incision site and said that it was very very red. Eek. Turns out, I had an infection. The doctors gave me antibiotics, along with other drugs to help with blood pressure and swelling, and sent me on my way. [Happy news: the diuretic that they had me on worked wonders as far as my swelling went. No more major swelling! My feet/legs are normal once again. However, I still can't wear my wedding bands. What a bummer. The negative thing that came about from the medication is that my milk was delayed in production. Now that I'm off that medication, I am hoping my milk picks up. More on that in a minute.]

Then, this past Thursday, my temperature spiked out of nowhere to 101.4, I had chills, and was readmitted into Labor and Delivery for two infections: my incision was still having trouble healing (I suppose the antibiotic wasn't quite strong enough), and my uterus got infected as well. We ended up staying there Thursday night until Sunday morning (Father's Day). I pretty much got zero sleep while there, because the hospital beds are so uncomfortable, but I was so relived to be getting the care that I needed. By Friday morning, my fever was gone and I was on the mend. 

As I'm writing this now, I definitely don't feel great. But I don't have a fever and I can move around okay. My incision is my biggest worry at this point. It is bleeding slightly, but several doctors and nurses have confirmed that it is okay. I am continuing to trust that God will heal my body. I would also love your prayers. Throughout our journey to conceive and also through my pregnancy, I have relied on the prayers. I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer and positive words on the tongue. 
Quick side note: I just have to say that from our journey trying to conceive and through my rough laboring/healing has been extremely taxing emotionally and physically. Sometimes I just want to cry and have a pity party. Thoughts pop in my head like, "why can't it be easier?" But then I look at my baby girl and am overcome with gratitude. I have to trust that God has a plan for me. I am writing this little statement to hopefully encourage others out there to stay strong, regardless of what you're going through. I can relate... but we (me and you both) have to trust in Jesus and the divine plan that God has laid out.

NEWBORN PHOTOS.
Another fun thing that has happened since becoming a mommy is that we have gotten to take Kensington's newborn photos. My sister is a very talented photographer and co-owns a photography business in Austin. She sent me this beautiful sneak peek and we should have the rest soon. I can't wait to share even more. She also did some maternity pictures when we found out we were pregnant. Check those out here!
FEEDINGS.
Regarding Kensington's feedings, I am exclusively pumping (no breastfeeding) and supplementing with formula. This was NOT my plan. My plan was to exclusively breastfeed; no if's, and's, or but's about it. But clearly there was a different plan in store for us. This came about for a couple of reasons.

First, Kensie lost 13% of her weight after she was born. The max that doctors like to see is 10%. It was highly recommended that we supplement just until her weight increased consistently. I had an emotional breakdown over the decision to supplement, but quickly realized that whatever we needed to do to make my daughter healthy was the right decision. We have continued on with this, because she seems to be thriving and we want her to gain the appropriate amount of weight.

Second, I am pumping instead of breasfeeding. I would have loved to breastfeed instead of pump (or in addition to pumping) but during our original stay in the hospital, my nipples started to bleed pretty bad. I was in agonizing pain. Kensie hadn't been latching appropriately, which is why the bleeding occurred. I was even using a nipple shield, but it just didn't work out. The decision to pump instead of breastfeed is what my hubby and I thought was best. This way we could track the amount of milk she's getting from me. Now - all of THAT being said, my milk supply was very low (and is still kind of low) because of the diuretic that I was previously taking. Now that I'm off that, I am hoping my production will increase. The "plan" is to always give Kensie as much breastmilk as possible, but then top her off with formula. One thing rings true: my girl likes to eat. She has been taking about 3-4 oz. every 3ish hours.

FATHER'S DAY.
With yesterday being Father's Day, it was a special time to celebrate my husband's new role as daddy. My hubby is so great with Kensie. Before Kensington, he had never really interacted with babies, nor did he fully comprehend that he was going to be a daddy. That immediately changed the first time he held her! He is the diaper changer (and does a great job!), loves giving her baths, and cuddles with her all the time. Here are two of my favorite pictures from yesterday:
INSTAGRAM.
On a completely unrelated note about mommyhood, I wanted to let everyone know that I now have two Instagram accounts. One is a personal account (which is private; sorry!) and the other is my public blog account (HERE). If you previously followed my now-private personal account and you'd like to still follow along, please add my public account! I'd love to have you :-)

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Now that I will likely be regretting not sleeping right now (and choosing to blog instead), that's all I've got for you today. As I find more time, I will write more often. Plus, I have a few draft posts that I just need to add a few more things to and then publish. Thanks for sticking around, even though I have been a little MIA! XO

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kensington's Birth Story

I am so thrilled to be able to share Kensington's birth story with everyone. Her birth day was a moment in history that I will never forget.

Thursday, June 4
I woke up with excitement to head to my 39 week doctor appointment. I was looking forward to seeing if I had progressed since my 38 week appointment the week prior. At my 38 week appointment, I learned that I was 2.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced. This meant that Kensie Grace was working on her exit plans. It made me so excited!

My 39 week appointment, on June 4, was scheduled for 8am, so I left my house at 7:30 to ensure I would arrive on time. As I headed to the clinic, I received a phone call from my nurse asking me to come in at 9:30am instead since my doctor had to perform an emergency c-section on another patient. I turned the car around and went home to prop my feet up. At 39 weeks, my swelling started to get really out of control, but I had never had any issues with high blood pressure nor protein in my urine (which is a sign of preeclampsia).

After heading back to the clinic, my doctor saw me at 9:30am. At that time, I had an elevated blood pressure (compared to my routine levels) and a small amount of protein in my urine. I also learned that I was at 3 cm and 70% effaced. My doctor wanted to do a few more tests before sending me on my way. He sent me to the lab to do another urine analysis and told me that he'd call me later with the results. But before leaving, he prepped me for the possibility of induction. He wanted to make sure that I wasn't starting to develop preeclampsia, and if he felt that I was, we would induce that evening.

After I did the test with the lab, I headed to work. I was so anxious to hear the results. I kept thinking to myself, "I may be having this baby soon!" As much as I didn't want to be induced, the idea of holding Kensie in my arms soon was so exciting. Around 1:30pm, my doctor called me back and confirmed that my body was starting to develop preeclampsia and he wanted to induce for both my health and Kensie's too. Since I was 39 weeks and 2 days, plus I was already dilating, he was confident this was the best decision. My doctor said to report to Labor and Delivery at 10pm that night and we would get the ball rolling.

At 9:30pm, my husband, mom, and I headed to L & D. I couldn't believe this was happening. I was so excited and so anxious/nervous. Upon being admitted into the hospital, I quickly changed and got comfortable.
Extremely swollen legs and feet. It was so uncomfortable!

Friday, June 5
Around 12:30am, my nurse inserted a small dose of Cytotec into my lady parts. This medication, a pill form that goes into the cervix, promotes cervical ripening (softening), which is necessary for labor. Since my body was already dilating and effacing, this medication would just give it more of a jump start. After inserting that, my body would do the rest and the nurse told me to get some sleep. (Yea right... I am going to have my baby soon)!!!

After an extremely sleepless night due to uncomfortableness (swelling, having to use the restroom every 5 minutes, and softening my cervix), my nurse said I didn't need any more Cytotec and that it was time to start Pitocin. At 6:30am, they started the Pitocin and I was getting even more anxious. I kept thinking, "we are really doing this!" In case you don't know, Pitocin makes the uterus contract. Labor that is induced by Pitocin is said to start off harder and progress faster than labor that starts on its own, especially in first-time mothers. I found this to be true in the coming hours.

At 8:40am, my doctor confirmed that I was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. He also went ahead and broke my water. Once he found that my amniotic fluid was clear (a good thing), the plan was to keep going forward with dilation. After my water broke, I remember the contractions getting much strong and much more difficult to handle.

At 10am, and after swearing that this was the last baby I would ever carry and telling my family we would be selling our embryos (HAHA), I received an epidural. I could go on and on about how amazing an epidural is, but I will simply say that I was a different person before and after the epidural. Before the epidural, I was mad and thinking to myself, "why did I get myself into this?" I was in such pain and I didn't know how I would be able to manage through it all. After the epidural, I felt totally normal (just pressure down south).
I was smiling because I had my epidural. Thank you Jesus!

Around 10:45, my nurse inserted my catheter and confirmed that I was still only at 4cm, but that the contractions were getting harder and closer together.

My body continued to work on dilation and around 2:00pm, I learned that I was almost 9 cm dilated. I could feel my body contracting, but it was really just the pressure that I felt.

Finally at 4:00pm, I was fully dilated (10 cm), 100% effaced, and baby girl's head was in a +2 station. About 15 minutes later, my doctor asked family to step out (except my husband and my mom) so that he could explain how I would be pushing. We did a few test pushes and he said that I was a pro and knew exactly what I was doing. It made me feel so good. I was feeling super confident that my baby would be in my arms in no time at all!

At 4:31pm, I officially started pushing with my nurse, my husband, and mom in the room. I pushed and pushed and pushed.

Around 5:30pm, I was given oxygen to make sure Kensie was okay. I remember thinking, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done." Pushing is like running a marathon. It takes so much energy and you're left completely out of breath. 

At 6pm, my doctor came back into the room to check on me. My nurse and doctor confirmed that my pushes were great. I kept thinking, "Okay, it's been an hour and half, if my pushes are so great, where is my baby?" Pretty much from the beginning, they could see Kensie's head. She wanted to come out. She wasn't stressed out or anything, but she was right there - just in sight. At 6pm, my doctor told me to push another 30 minutes and if there was no progress, we would reevaluate that situation.

At 6:35pm, my doctor came back into the room and I was pretty much at the exact same spot after pushing with all my might. He checked on Kensie and confirmed that her head and shoulders were too big. There was no way they would fit through my pelvis; we had to do a c-section.

I felt two things: First, I felt a sense of disappointment because I had my heart set on pushing this child out. At the same time though, I felt a sense of relief. FINALLY I can stop pushing. Having to go through contractions for several hours, and then push for several hours, I was exhausted; it was easily the hardest thing I had ever done before.

Immediately after my doctor gave the nurse orders for a c-section, things really took off. They started pumping me with medication and going over all of the risks. My thought: yes, I'll sign whatever I need to sign, and come on, let's get moving.
Right before they wheeled me off for our c-section.

Around 7:15pm I was wheeled to the operating room alone, which I guess is standard practice. My husband would be joining me once I was fully prepped. One thing that I thought was interesting is that my doctor had to push Kensie back up higher and out of my pelvis. All of that hard work pushing and he was going to push her back up. I get it though - she needed to be in the right position for the c-section.

In the room, they kept "testing" my medication to ensure I was fully numbed. It took a while to get the right amount of medication. I kept feeling the coldness of them cleaning me off, and the pin pricks on my tummy. Eventually, I just passed out from so much medication.
Sound asleep.

I don't remember anything (although my hubby told me that he got into the room at 7:30pm) until my baby girl cried for the first time. I am so thankful that her cry woke me up.

Moments after I heard her cry for the first time, at 7:40pm, my daughter was born. That was easily the most joyful thing I had ever experienced before. You can see from the below picture that this was the moment my doctor introduced Kensington Grace to me. He is looking down at me on the operating table. 
For the next 20 minutes, I remember fighting the urge to go back to sleep. Like I said, I was all jacked up on medication. I remember continuing to look back at my husband holding Kensie. I could cry tears of joy. He kept telling me all about her and I kept trying to concentration, but there was so much going on. All the meanwhile, my doctor was sewing me back up and making sure I was ready to be transferred back to our room.

Next thing I know, I'm holding my baby girl as they wheel me back to our room. (Yes, as I write this, I am crying). I cannot explain the amount of joy that I was filled with. It is truly an indescribable feeling. I would give anything to relive that moment over and over again.
As we were being wheeled back, around 8-something, I remember seeing family in the hallway and I think everyone was crying at that point. It was a moment that many of us had prayed for for a very long time. And here we were, both safe from the c-section.

Eventually at 8:30pm, I nursed Kensie for the first time. Another moment I won't ever forget. It just so happens that we also had the best nurse ever the night Kensie was born. Her name was Sasha and she was totally heaven sent. Sasha was so helpful in showing me how to nurse and was just very protective over this special time for us three (Kensie, husband, and I). She wanted to make sure everything was smooth and that we got what we needed.
First family photo. Such a beautiful moment.

The most proud moment of his life. I couldn't be more in love with these two.

God's greatest creation. Utterly blessed by this little girl.

Everything else that night is a blur. I just remember thinking, "please don't let this moment end." My heart had never been more full of love. I also remember thinking, "Thank you so much God!" I truly give God all the glory for this miracle baby. From the beginning, I prayed that God would have His hand over my pregnancy and through labor/delivery and I can honestly say that He was there every step of the way. I hope that my story further reiterates what a loving Savior we have. I am not deserving of such blessings, especially one as great as Kensington, but He loves me SO MUCH that He fulfilled the desires of my heart. How could you not believe in His love?!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Introducing Kensie Grace

I plan to write up Kensie's birth story as soon as possible (hopefully this weekend!) but for the time being, I wanted to introduce my miracle baby. Her newborn photos will be taken in the coming days, but here are a few pictures that we've taken ourselves. This love is so awesome!

Born 6/5/15 [39 weeks and 3 days] via c-section
8 lbs 12 oz
19.5 inches
7:40pm

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pregnancy: Week 40

In case you missed it, my daughter made her arrival on June 5, 2015 via C-Section. She weighs 8 lbs 12 oz and is 19.5 inches long. I thought I would write my last pregnancy post today with this picture. How special! I will be writing her birth story as soon as possible and sharing our new life together. Life has never been sweeter. I am overwhelmed with BLESSINGS.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Can't Keep Calm... I'm Due This Month!

I am exhausted. Hence why I've been MIA around these parts. You'll have to forgive me. I used to be a full-time blogger and could balance everything perfectly. Now all I can think about is propping my feet up and relaxing. I wanted to stop by Mrs. Southern Mama today in order to update everyone about what's been going on! This will be short and sweet.
* Last week at my doctor appointment, I was 2.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced. So baby girl will be coming in the very near future! I am praying (and hopefully you'll join me) for a safe and healthy labor/delivery. 

* Since it's officially June, I can say that I will truly have a June baby. I wasn't sure if she was considering coming sometime in May. Kensington's due date is June 9th but I am hoping, waiting, and wishing that she would come sometime this week. My guess is June 6th, but I am actually kinda praying that I don't make it that long. Heck, if I could go into labor right about now, that'd be great.

* My next doctor appointment is this Thursday. I am positive that I will have dilated even more by then and I'm also hoping my effacement continues to rise. I can totally feel some major changes going on. 

* I'm pulling out all of the stops to get Kensie out of my womb (although I have LOVED being preggo). I am walking a lot, eating pineapple, drinking caffeine for the first time in the last 10 months, bouncing on my bouncy ball, and lots of other tricks that are said to induce labor.

* The major differences I have been feeling lately are uncomfortableness, a bit more back pain, and much much much more pressure down south. I just know that she'll be in my arms soon and it makes my heart BURST with joy.

* Looking back over our IVF journey, I am so emotional. I couldn't be more grateful that God allowed us to be parents, even if it was down a fertility route. I would do it all over again, a million times. I am praying that I'll be blessed again in the future with another pregnancy - maybe a year down the road. But lesson learned: all in God's perfect timing. 

Unless I get more energy, this will likely be the last post before I have Kensie Grace in my arms. What a miracle. I pray the same for each woman out there that desires to become a mommy. It is a true blessing, straight from the creator himself. Thank you, God!