Life Lately: Holiday Edition

Well, of course I have not been able to blog as often as I would like because 1. Its the Holiday Season and I am taking advantage of the last few days that my parents are in town and 2. I am getting used to this little wonderful bundle of joy.. 
Vashti-Gracia is just a little bit over two weeks old: 
  • She doesn’t fuss unless one of her major needs have to be met (feeding, changing, etc.)
  • Her favorite thing to do so far is : Sleep
  • She is doing well with breastfeeding although I am struggling with getting a good supply, but I am determined to stick with it and its getting better each day – less supplementation with bottles of similac.
  • She initially lost some of her weight but at her last visit she started gaining again and we can tell that she is still growing so we are happy that her weight is moving in the right direction. 
  • She is still growing into the Newborn size – she can only fit Carter’s brand Newborn clothes – Target newborn sizes and other brands are huge on her little body. 
  • She can lift her head and can scoot on her stomach using her legs.
It truly has been amazing to see this little being grow each day. I remember when she was born she didn’t have eyelashes and swollen eyes. Now I marvel how at slowly but surely her eyelashes have grown in. 
She laughs in her sleep and smiles all the time and makes the most cutest curious faces. She stares at the ceiling often and laughs – thats how we know the angels are here watching over us. 
So – what is life like lately?? Its an adjustment to say the least, to my post pregnancy body. But I am recovering fairly quick.
This was me, one week post baby. Today my stomach is almost completely flat. I haven’t been to my own OB yet, and I don’t have a scale in my home so I do not know how much weight I have lost post baby just yet.
This is Gracie at one week old. We took her to her father’s office to record a video announcing her arrival for the church. 
I sleep when baby sleeps. I eat when baby eats. 
Thats about it. 
I am still dealing with swollen feet – and although the painful swelling has now gone down, my normal shoe size has not yet returned. I am praying that it does. 
She has been out of the house – I had to return all the things that didn’t work for us. 
She hated being swaddled so all those “woombie” things that I thought would be good ideas were returned. She hated any other Similac that I tried and only like the kind that the hospital got her. 
She had a moment where she hated her bassinet but she got more accustomed to it and sleeps in it probably every other night. The rest of the nights she is with us in our Cali King bed with plenty of space. 
She also loves her Boppy’s and her Soothie’s. 

At first she loved to lay just like she did when she was in the womb but she is learning other favorite positions now that she has learned to stretch out her body. 
Only problem is that she is a getting a bit TOO comfortable. LOL. She has learned to move around in her sleep so much that when I am awake I watch her like a hawk! She scoots her little body down and around that little sleeper. Nothing more hilarious then to watch her cracking up in her sleep – I totally wish that I could see what she sees in her dreams that makes her laugh so hard. 
One day she will learn how to laugh while she is awake too. 
We also had her first doctors appointment. I love her pediatrician. She lost some weight since birth and dropped from 6 lbs. 11oz. to 6 lbs. 3oz. We had to increase her feeds. I had been supplementing because my supply wasn’t keeping up with her demand and neither was my energy. We committed to feeding her every two hours to get her weight up and we can tell that she is definitely getting her weight back. 
So what else can I do while on Maternity Leave from work? 
Watch Football of course!
Amos had to continue to work from the first day that we brought her home. This is a busy time for a Minister of Music. Every winter of course there is the huge Christmas play, in addition to Christmas and New Years Service.
Every time he had to leave her he seemed so sad. I couldn’t imagine – but he definitely made sure to have Daddy/Daughter time as soon as he got home and would sneak away from work when he can. 
I don’t blame him for missing her, she is most certainly a character and a half! I love her little personality. I swear she has been here before. 
I wonder where she gets it from? LOL
But she most certainly enjoys watching the game with her daddy. She is always so calm with him.
For Christmas, we did newborn photos with the family. She did such a good job seeing as though the day didn’t go off without a hitch!
The photographer that I booked, whom I know and love was doing us a favor to do our portraits and she also has a young son, unfortunately the morning of the shoot neither of us had sleep so she pushed the shoot back until noon which is the time that Gracia usually is up when ideally you want newborns to be sleep. Then she texted about 15 mins before the shoot and said she had a flat tire and had to have her car towed. 
Man, talk about being in a crunch since we were already dressed and getting the baby dressed. 
Thank the Lord, my neighbor had just launched her photography business not too long ago and she was able to come through in a bind and took some awesome photos for us. 
Of course for Christmas we had my family come over so that we didn’t have to take her out of the house too much. Being only 2 weeks old, we expected that she would sleep through her first Christmas and she did not disappoint.

We had a wonderful Christmas despite me never being able to finish decorating the tree. 

Grandma just enjoyed her time with the grand baby! I loved seeing them interact. Gracie hears her voice and lights all the way up. She is so used to hearing her and gets so animated. I am not surprised that she woke up while my mom was on the phone and was trying to talk to her as well. 

In other news, during these first almost 3 weeks, we have started tummy time. 
Her pediatrician from day one has said that Gracia was strong!  And she really is. The girl can hold her head up and do so for a while and look from right to left. 
I asked daddy to put together the tummy time mat so she could get used to it. I laid her on her back to get her used to it and she started to roll over.. 
Then I laid her on her stomach and she goes pushing her little legs, scooting her body forward like she is trying to crawl. 
What are we doing today?
Enjoying how alert she is – 

And at the same time enjoying how spoiled she is because she has her moments where she wants to lay down on her own and has her moments where she wants to be held. It just means that it takes a bit longer for me to actually get things done. 

Thats ok though, because there will come a time where she won’t want to snuggle with mommy and daddy – she gets a pass at under a month old. 

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The Princess Has Arrived! Birth Story

When I last left off, I had just been in a minor car accident on the way to the Specialist’s office at the Fetal and Maternal Office in order to get a biophysical of Baby Girl due to having pregnancy hypertension the last month of my pregnancy. 
We were eventually scheduled to be induced on Monday December 9, 2013 and we were told to report at 11:45pm in order to begin the process around midnight. 
There was a winter storm on the way, so we called my parents and suggested that they get a hotel near the hospital versus trying to make the 45 min trip once I was ready to have the baby (best idea ever!). Although there wasn’t a lot of accumulation, there was enough for it to be slippery and to get stuck in holiday traffic since my hospital is right next to one of the largest malls in the area. 
We repacked our bags and headed out Monday Night around 6pm to meet my parents for an early dinner. 
This is my last pregnancy bump picture – 39 weeks 3 days. 
Gained a total of 17 lbs. 
(Aww just looking at this picture, I miss being pregnant just a little bit – but looking at my princess – I love her more)
On the way to the hospital, my husband told me to check my online medical chart because he saw an email pop up in our joint account that I had a message from my doctor. It’s exactly why I send my medical information to our joint account because two eyes are better than one – the message was that our induction had been pushed to 8pm and not 12am. We would have to rush through dinner and then go straight to the hospital. 
We get there and they tell me that they just had a huge rush of persons in labor and that I would have to wait about an hour before I would be seen to get started. Fine by me! Took that hour to get settled in my labor room and really just calm my nerves and prepare myself for what was about to happen and how it would change my life. 

They came in and hooked me up to the IV and pumped me full of electrolytes. My doctor called me about two times with two different directives to kind of talk through what she wanted to do to induce since she wasn’t the on-call doctor at the time (but she REALLY wanted to be my delivery doctor) and called the charge nurses about 4 times. I got the impression that they were about over her calling so much especially since it was really busy. 
I am not sure what it was, but maybe it was that I was in the hospital finally that my body said “oh we SHOULD have this baby now”. My doctor first said that I would be given something to ripen the cervix to take in pill form before I would be given pitocin because I hadn’t progressed much since my last visit. I was about 1cm dilated and still about 75% effaced. However, when they left to get all the medications and came back to take my blood pressure and had me connected to the monitors to get a baseline of baby girl’s heart rate, they noticed that I was actually contracting way too much on my own at the time to even begin induction. 
Then my little girl’s heart rate was measuring so much all over the place that they couldn’t get a good baseline for her heart rate and I needed to be monitored a bit longer before induction. 
So . We. Waited. 
Contractions started becoming uncomfortable enough that I had to ask for some kind of pain medicine in order to be able to sleep. I think my husband was having sympathy pains. I had to ask him was he the one in labor. LOL. He said his stomach hurt really badly. Honestly, the whole time he made me laugh while in the hospital because of his dramatics. 
To regulate the contractions I was having, they decided to put me on a low dose of Pitocin and gave me some pain meds via IV – I can’t remember the name of it but the nurse said as she gave it to me, “This will make you feel like you are drunk almost immediately” In my mind, I was thinking “yeah right!”.. umm she was right. Got loopy immediately but it was just enough for me to want to roll over and close my eyes. 
During the night, baby’s heart rate was not doing so good. It was dipping really low but not enough to be considered critical just yet. From what I remember even though I was some of the good stuff – my nurse came to check on me so much through the night. So much so that she even called to check on me once her shift was over. She would have me roll from my right side, to my left side, to my back and just try to keep moving to get baby’s heart rate back up while I was sleeping. 
About 7 am, I woke up and noticed that in the middle of the night, they had actually turned off the Pitocin, probably worried about how it was affecting the baby while I was on the pain meds – baby didn’t like them too much apparently, however, I LOVED THEM! LOL. 
Either way, around 7am we got started on the second attempt at inducing. I was checked and still at a 1 -2cm dilated and was started on a low dose of Pitocin. My blood pressure was checked almost every 15 min and each “high” reading, the nurses would run in and check – as well as when the baby would move from the monitor. 
Around 10 am is when they started increasing the dosage of Pitocin to get the party started. Contractions started but were not really progressing just yet. Doctor came in and broke my water – something that I was afraid was going to hurt tremendously from hearing crazy stories – yeah it wasn’t that bad. 
Well, the morning nurse told me that it may take me about 16 hours to get ready to push and was basically saying get comfortable because thats the average time that it takes, which is pretty close to how long my mother was in labor with me. 
My family went and got breakfast, we sat around just talking and eventually was checked on the hour.  Surprisingly, I went from 1-2cm to 6 cm within 2 hours. I got my epidural somewhere around 4 cm and the contractions really weren’t hurting when I asked for it, but I knew I would want one to push so I just asked for it since the anesthesiologist was available. Another myth busted: getting an epidural does not hurt as bad as people make it seem – either that or I had some really good doctors. I told him to be gentle. He had me sit on the edge of the bed, put everyone out of the room except my husband and told me to be still. He talked me through each step so that I would not be startled. He prepped my back and said that it would feel like a bee sting, which it did. Once pricked, I didn’t feel the other part of the process. He taped my back up and I was given a button to push when I needed it and was done. 
Two more hours pass, and my OB came in to check me yet again. I was saying, it would probably be a while because its only been about 3 1/2 hours at this point. But she reminded me that I was already at 6cm last she checked. This time I was at a 9 1/2 and 100% effaced. So this is about 12:30pm. She said to me that there was a little more to go and didn’t want to rush it although she had me practice push just to see if maybe it would go ahead and be a good time to deliver. 
She had a 1pm scheduled c-section and said that she would be back afterwards and by that time, it should be time to have this baby! 
Talk about fast – I thought I was going to deliver that night and here it is barely afternoon and we are talking about delivering the baby. 
So, eventually my nurse came in at 2pm and checked me, she said I was at 10cm finally and began to prep my room for labor. I could feel contractions but they didn’t hurt. They felt more like when you have to go to the bathroom after eating a really heavy meal. 
She called my OB and she was still in surgery. 
We spent the next few minutes, calling my sister and telling her that the baby was on the way and we all made prediction about size, weight and height before the baby arrived. 
She checked me again and had me practice push to get her head to come down. 
Well by 2:30, this baby was ready to come and doctor still was not back – she called her and had her paged and told her to run! 
I was clueless that the baby was THAT ready to come. 
So, the doctor comes in and they take a look – remember baby girl was in a occiput posterior position and they were not sure if I would be able to push her past the bone. Combine that with her heart rate dips during contractions and my blood pressure, they prepared for everything all at once. They even brought in scrubs in case we had to be rushed for a c-section. I never made a birth plan because I thought it was laughable that I would have any control, clearly I could not have planned for any part of this labor. 
She started me pushing at 2:45pm. Baby was born at 3:35pm. 
I was able to deliver her vaginally. 
My husband was on one leg and my mother was on the other. 
I told my husband he may want to not look and to stay up by my head in order to not pass out or be traumatized. He got so curious that he eventually watched the whole thing. 
It was funny because they said my baby would have no hair based on the sonogram – well she had hair and that was the first thing I heard about as she came out. 
The doctor had come in once the nurse had gotten me started to push. I didn’t think that I was being successful because I was not grasping where I needed to push from. Basically its as if you are constipated and you push from that muscle, not like you have to pee really hard (as I had to ask what am I supposed to be doing?!)
My doctor put up these hand rails for me because I was having some really bad back pain at the last minute and we couldn’t figure out where it came from. Told me to push throughout the contractions. Two to Three Contractions later and she came out faced sideways and I was able to push her head out. My doctor said “Don’t push, Don’t Push!” as I felt the worse part of the pressure. I screamed back “I’m not!” I had no idea what she was doing but it sounded like she was running around… 
Little did I know that she didn’t have the chance to glove up when she came in because she came in at the middle of me starting to push. There I was saying “I am not pushing” and in pain with pressure and she said to me “I am going to have to cut you.” My mother surprisingly said to her, “will you be able to sew her back up?!” I am laughing at the thoughts in my head as it played out – but I couldn’t speak – I wasn’t pushing but baby girl came sliding right on out anyways. And I heard my OB laugh like “oh well” – it was sweet relief. It was literally about 45 secs from her saying don’t push to when she came rushing into this world. 
My OB said “This is the first birth in a LONG time that I didn’t get the chance to glove up for.” 
She gave her to me immediately and even I was surprised that I was now holding a baby. In my mind, I was like “its over?!” and at the same time looking at her like “wow you are finally here”  of course with my mom and her iPad camera in my face asking me how I felt. I was in shock. 
It was NOTHING like what I have heard or what I have seen on TV. No dramatic screaming pain fits where I would curse my husband out and turn into a witch. It was mostly normal, we had conversations, laughed and then I would have to tell them when I felt a contraction coming and I only knew because it felt like my stomach was being filled like a helium balloon with pressure in my booty.
Either way, I am very happy with the experience that I had and despite the scares in the beginning with all the unknowns with why her heart rate was dropping (at one point they thought the umbilical cord was around her neck and even asked if maybe she would have to go to the NICU. I was even told that it appeared like the placenta was dying prematurely – I took it in stride and said “well I am already in the right place if any of those things happen and was ok with it”) but once she arrived, she was perfect! No cord issues and now knowing her love for her hands and holding things, I am convinced that she was either laying on it or squeezing it with her hands for dear life!)

The only downside to my labor experience was post-labor. 
She was such in a rush to get here that she ripped me up on the way out. 
I had a second degree tear which isn’t bad but she also shredded a vein as well. I was being stitched up for two hours – honestly while it was happening, I didn’t realize that it was that long. It was that long before I was able to hold her again and it took less time to get her to come out. 
My doctor basically told me that she had never had to do so much surgery on a vaginal delivery – it was more like a c-section with as much sutras and what not that I had to get. 
I am just glad that I hit the epidural button right before pushing, so I didn’t feel any of it.
They were worried about hemorrhaging and was even concerned because I had lost a lot of blood and said that I may have to have a blood transfusion – but you know I that I was prayed up. None of those things happened and actually in recovery they were surprised that I was actually bleeding less than normal than a regular vaginally deliver in spire of the fact that I had a pretty severe one. 
The other part of the post labor that was horrific was that I basically threw my back out! I slept in the weirdest ways the night before and then I when I started pushing, I think I had so much tension built up in my neck and shoulders that I could not move. They wanted to move me back on the bed now that delivery was over. The surgical nurse had the bright idea to lay me back to pull me up on the bed. I told her, that was not a good idea because it hurts too bad to lay flat. I needed to be sat straight up and my husband can lift me back to where I needed to be. She ignored me and started laying that bed back and I let her have it. I was in so much pain that I cried so hard and screamed and they thought they did something wrong. They first thought it was epidural related, they thought it may have been accident related but I think it could’ve also been from the baby being in a posterior position. 
I am thankful that all is well – I am no longer in pain and that recovery is going great. 
She was worth it!
My Princess, my first born (because we do want more) is the apple of my eye. 
Vashti-Gracia
Born December 10, 2013
3:35pm
6lbs 11oz
19″ long

My Dad won the guess of time being born  (he couldn’t handle being in the room and was waiting outside for it to be over)
My sister won the guess of her length
Nobody won the weight guess – we were all over but Hubby was the closest. 
She looked just like she did on her 3D sonogram

From birth she was with us the whole time in the hospital except for when she had her tests done for Jaundice, etc and her shots. The swelling is coming down and the Pediatrician came to check on her twice while in the hospital and said she was doing great. We get to see her on Monday. 

Gracia already has the most hilarious personality. We are still learning each other and she has to figure out a better schedule for mommy and daddy to get sleep. 
If she eats well she will sleep at least 3 hours. Our bassinet was a little too big for her comfort and she sleeps so silently that I can’t really get a deep sleep. Also swaddling is great and all, but does not work for my baby – she LOVES her hands. She WILL find a way to get those hands out and will actually cry more to get to them, then it is for me to just leave her hands out. 
She got the chance to meet her Godfather at the hospital. 

and has already melted Daddy’s heart – 

and has her grandparents wrapped around her fingers. 

We love HER!

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Too Much Like Right

So went to my Week 39 (being 38 Weeks and 4 days) yesterday and of course, my blood pressure was up yet again – although, I knew it would be because we were up early trying to prepare our house for the cleaners to come and do a deep clean – and of course when you leave things to the last minute you get stressed out, so that may not have been smart on my part. Not to mention, I think we are both so READY for her to come that we are literally irritated with each other so much quicker over the dumbest things. 
Either who, due to my blood pressure, my doctor had me lay down to get it down to normal before I left her office, which has been happening each visit lately, so no biggie. She decided that she may want to go ahead and induce labor just because at this point, bed rest is not going to work and not working is not seeming to keep other stresses from effecting me. 
She sent me to a specialist right away and wanted me to get a non-stress test done and another sonogram to check the babies full biophysical well being. Well, we got there a little late and the doctor had to do rounds at the hospital so we had to come back at 1pm for our appt. We decided to waste time in Target of course. On the way back to the specialist, we got rear-ended. UGH!
You should’ve seen my husbands face! It was minor but boy you couldn’t tell us that. He stepped out the car and the young girls who hit us were so terrified and shaking that I actually felt bad for them. I did step out the car, so now they are looking at me WIDE EYED like Oh My Goodness You’re Pregnant! I said to her that I was fine – because I was. The worst she did was make me spill my coffee and give me a headache. I told her to calm down and just give her insurance information to my husband and that we would just deal with it later because we were on our way to the hospital. I totally  wish I could have been a fly on the wall when she told her daddy what happened.
Well we get there, get hooked up to the sonogram machine immediately and Baby Gracia could not be happier in there!
She was moving all around, had a bit of the hiccups – but she is still head down, yet looking towards my right hip and in a C shape with her feet towards her head.. a little long gymnast. She is measuring about 7 lbs and 3 ozs.
So after the sonogram, I have to get hooked up to machines to make sure that she is ok when I am having contractions. Funny enough, I wasn’t really having regular contractions until I got hooked up to the machines – then out of no where, I was having contractions every 5 mins. I guess it was nothing to be worried about because the baby’s heart rate was fine and they let me go home after they laid me back down to take my blood pressure, which was excellent. 

So now, my next appointment is Thursday to do the same thing.Then my OB has scheduled me to be induced on Tuesday if she doesn’t come on her own this week like she is supposed to. 
So of course you know I am trying to do everything to get her to come out right!?!Poor thing is just way to comfortable and I am only 1cm dilated and she is WAYYYYYY up there the doctor said.. just great!
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I’ve Got a Testimony!

I guess it just wouldn’t be my life if God didn’t give us one last testimony before Baby Gracia’s arrival. So I MUST share this with you –
SO, despite being in the last days of my pregnancy, I can’t help but to always reflect on how much we went through in trying to have have a baby. If you are new to my blog, here are just a few posts about that process. 
But, in the midst of being so thankful in the abundance of love that has been shown to us through people buying us gifts and showering us with money and gift cards where we are in want of nothing (talk about God opening up a window and pouring out blessings) when we thought we would not have any funds to even care for her due to Furloughs, already living check to check, etc. 
Well, yesterday my husband comes running up the stairs and said “if this is not a sign that we are blessed than I don’t know what is…” I looked at him and told him he was scaring me. I had no idea what he was about to say or what just happened for that matter… 
He hands me a stack of mail, and within the stack was an envelope from a company we had never heard of and it looked like a check. I open the envelope and inside of it was indeed a check!
It was a refund check!
We got refunded all of the money from the failed IUI procedure that we had last August. Without a letter or a phone call, the check just came. I am so surprised. Neither one of us expected it. Its customary that fertility treatments are not covered by your insurance company and therefore you have to come out of pocket. We spent extra money that we had just worked for and watched it just go away with that negative test. It was an investment into our family – one that many people have to decide to make and even take out loans for. 
Well, we are so thankful – right before our daughter comes into this world, we are given back the funds almost in full and now we can sow this money into the life of the child that we conceived on our own. 
Still “patiently” awaiting her arrival. 
Tomorrow is my Week 39 Doctor’s appointment. I have been on maternity leave the whole week from work per Doctor’s orders. She thought that the rise in my blood pressure was stress related and possibly due to work. Unfortunately, I do not believe that it has not gone back down. I had additional symptoms of high blood pressure that made me break out the at home blood pressure cuff and it was high and only came down to borderline after a nap. I am not sure if she will send me straight to the hospital tomorrow or if she will wait another week – so I am going to be prepared for whatever she decides. I just want Baby Girl to be healthy. 
I’ll keep you posted!

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