Thursday, August 18, 2011

Liam's First Days

"When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world."
John 16:21
After Liam was born, reality set in. Especially when we got to the postpartum room at the hospital. Before I left labor and delivery, the nursery nurse took Liam back for his first bath, assessment, labwork, and whatever else they do in the nursery. I was transferred to my new room and it took them about an hour to bring Liam back. This was around 11:30pm. My mom and Daniel were with me, and our first visitor arrived. Daniel's mom, dad, and brother made it to the hospital around 1am after driving all the way from Mississippi (about a 7 hour drive). They loved on Liam and took pictures and my mom took them back to our apartment so they could rest.

I don't honestly remember much about the first night. I know it was around 4:30am before we actually got to "bed". I attempted feeding Liam and it didn't go quite as I had expected. There is so much more to breastfeeding than I ever imagined. I could only seem to get the hang of it if I had someone from the nursing staff there with me helping me. Around 4 am he finally ate some and then we were all able to close our eyes for a while. I say close our eyes because I couldn't sleep with all the new noises. Each time Liam would make any sound I'd shoot up and look at him to make sure he was okay. :) So like a new mom right? Sunday morning came very quickly and visitors started rolling through the door. It was so great to see everyone and celebrate Liam's birth with our friends! Thank you all for the sweet gifts, kind words of encouragement, and the joy that you brought into the room!

Daniel and I spent the day admiring our son, trying to figure out how to console him when he cried, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying life as a family of 3.

I had hoped to be able to go home the day after Liam was born, but the doctors weren't comfortable with that idea. I had Group B Strep prior to delivery, so Liam could have gotten very sick within the first 48 hours if the antibiotics didn't work properly. So we spent Sunday night in the hospital as well. Again, I don't remember much about the night, other than I was exhausted by about 9pm.

Monday morning came too soon and the doctors started making rounds. The first question out of my mouth was "when can we go home?" Evidently the nursing staff and doctors didn't have their communication in line so we ended up with some awkwardly funny situations. The pediatrician stopped by and said that we could leave by 6pm. My doctor, Dr. Lusby, stopped by to check on me and she said she didn't have a problem with me being discharged that night when Liam was discharged. About 15 minutes later, my nurse came in and made a comment about me staying another night because Dr. Lusby had told her that before she walked into my room. So she had to chase Dr. Lusby down to get an actual order to discharge me. Then around noon, the nursery nurse came in and was ready to discharge Liam and had all the paperwork ready to go. She said the pediatrician just told her that Liam could go "today" but didn't ever give her a time. I should have kept my mouth shut, haha. I love the lack of effective communication between hospital staff, it makes my job so much more interesting. :)

We finally left the hospital around 6:30pm on Monday night. We loaded all the stuff into our car and headed for home. It was surreal. I was sitting in the back seat with this precious baby boy that I was taking home with me. My son.

Jack was so excited to have us home and was not exactly sure what to think of the little person that we brought with us. He immediately became very protective of Liam though. Every time Liam would cry or make random noises Jack would have to get up or stop what he was doing to check on him and make sure that either Daniel or I were going to attend to his needs.

We had a long first night at home. He fell asleep sometime after dinner and I thought we were all going to be in bed by about 10pm. We were. Then Liam woke up. So Liam and I stayed up most of the night together until about 2am. He ate again and then snuggled with me in our bed from 4 till about 9am. Pretty sure he was still on my night shift schedule. He slept most of the next day in his little frog bouncy/vibrating seat. Best invention ever for babies. My mom was in and out helping with everything around the apartment. So thankful for her willingness to help!

My dad arrived on Tuesday and Daniel's mom and grandma came on Wednesday. Wednesday night we took Liam out for his first restaurant experience - Babe's in Burleson. Yum! He did so good! I fed him before we went in and he slept through the entire meal. That night Daniel's mom stayed for a while so Daniel and I could get some sleep and not have to worry about Liam. It was a wonderful 2 hours of sleep!

Liam began to have what we called his "fussy phase" that would last for about 4 hours at various times of the evening/night. It started at 12am to about 4am, then shifted to 6pm to 10pm. It's difficult trying to figure out life I guess. :) But for his one week birthday we celebrated by sleeping for 5 straight hours! I was one of those moms who swore I would never let my child sleep in my bed, and now I'm eating my words. But to get 5 straight hours of sleep, I don't mind it every so often. We're trying not to make it a habit though. He falls asleep in his bed each night, but normally ends up in ours at some point during the night.
An example of what the "fussy phase" looks like.
And another example. :)
After Liam was a week old, I ended up with a 102 fever one night. My fever plus Liam not sleeping much did not make for a great night for me, but we got through it. I went to the doctor the next day because I thought I had mastitis and they wanted to make sure there wasn't something else going on. I had a fever for 3 days and ended up being allergic to the antibiotic they gave me. That's 3 broad spectrum antibiotics that I'm now allergic to. Great.  After the first night of the fever, my mom came and spent the next 2 nights on our couch to help with Liam.

The day Liam turned 2 weeks old, we celebrated by taking him to see Captain America at the Hulen Movie Tavern for Breakfast and a Flick. He did great, even through all the loud noises that vibrated the theater. We're grateful that I went to the movies a lot during my last trimester because he seems used to the noise now. He slept through the first hour and a half and then woke up hungry.

That night he got to meet his first little friend Jacob. :) Some friends of our from the Seminary and church had a little boy 2 weeks after Liam was born.

We've had lots of visitors come to see Liam. It's amazing, no one comes to see us, but have a baby and everyone wants to be your friend. :) Kidding. Lots of friends from church and even friends from out of town and family from Mississippi. We've loved having all the visitors! Thanks to everyone who brought food and gifts and for loving us!
Some friends from Fort Worth - all reunited!
 Here are some pictures of some of Liam's firsts for your enjoyment. :)

First Bath

First game of basketball

First nap in the sunlight
First day at church!

 And some cute pictures of Liam. I mean, really? How precious!

Monday, August 8, 2011

William Micah: the birth story

Well, 2 weeks after the fact isn't such a bad time to finally update the blog about our new arrival: William "Liam" Micah Bray! He was born on July 23rd, at 8:26pm. He was 8lbs even and 21 inches long!

If you don't want to know about the labor/birthing experience (I promise, it's not gory or gross), then just skip this post and move to the next.

I worked my 12 hour shift on Friday night, got home Saturday morning, planned to sleep the day away, go to church on Sunday, and back to work for my last shift before Liam was scheduled to arrive on the following Thursday. However, things didn't go like we planned. :) I woke up sometime after noon on Saturday and Daniel fixed me some lunch and we laid down to watch our new favorite reality TV show - Expedition Impossible. At 1:30pm, right after we started the show, I started feeling contractions that weren't like any of the Braxton Hicks that I had been feeling for the past few months. These were low, and almost like menstrual cramps. I started timing them and immediately they were already 3-5 minutes apart. After 30 minutes of these contractions I told Daniel I was going to get in the shower and see if they continued when I was up and moving. They did. After my shower I told Daniel that they were still occurring so he might want to make sure all of our stuff is together and get the bags packed. (Yes, we are terrible expectant parents for not packing our bags sooner. In our defense, I'm a first time mom, we had a day on the schedule so I assumed I wouldn't have my baby at 38 weeks and 4 days. Wrong.) As Daniel was running all over the house, slightly freaking out, I'm trying to do what I can in the 2-4 minutes between contractions to finish my bag. I tried calling my mom around 2:30 (who was here in Fort Worth already) and she didn't answer. Tried calling again around 3. Still no answer. Called Daniel's mom told them to make sure their bags are ready, that we were planning to head to the hospital and we'd let them know if they admitted me or not.

At 3:30 pm, my water broke. I couldn't believe it. We were told that only 10% of women naturally have their water break, all others have it done by the doctor in the hospital. It was go time. I told Daniel to hurry that we needed to leave. Finally Daniel went out to the pool to see if my mom was there - she was - and she was in the process of calling me back at that exact moment. I told her that she was going to miss the birth of her first grandchild if she didn't get out of the pool this minute. Haha. We got to the hospital at 4pm, and I was an absolute wreck. I was balling my eyes out as I walked into triage. I think it was more the anxiety and anticipation that I don't think I'm truly prepared for this - in addition to the pain, but that actually wasn't that bad. They hooked me up to the monitors to watch mine and the baby's vitals and immediately they pointed out that there was some sort of problem. I heard one nurse say "what about that?" and then the other nurse said "that's something to watch closely." I looked at them and said something to the effect of "I'm a nurse, just tell me what's going on with him." With each contraction his heart rate was slowing down somewhere between 10 and 20 beats per minute - not bad, but not what we want either. They checked me and I was 4cm dilated and completely effaced (thinned) and baby was at a station -2. The Wednesday before at the doctor's office I was 2 cm and 50% effaced.

They immediately moved me to Labor and Delivery when they saw that so we could be monitored better, this was around 4:45 or so. This is where my plans for how my delivery would go went out the window. I wanted to labor naturally, no pain meds. But they wouldn't let me get out of the bed because they needed to monitor the baby. So I decided I wanted some IV pain medicine because I figured I was only 4cm when I came in, so it would be a while before I actually had the baby. They called the on call doctor, and she wouldn't let me have any because she was afraid it would affect the baby's heart rate even more. (About this time, my friend Erica who was coming to help be a doula/labor coach/support person arrived. She's had 4 children and used to be a labor and delivery nurse, so I was very thankful to have her around to explain everything to me!) When they told me that I couldn't have any IV pain meds and I had to stay laying in the bed on my side I decided that was torture since I was only 4cm dilated and it could take HOURS for me to progress. So I decided to take an epidural. Best decision of my life. Haha. Epidural was in by 6:45pm. They checked me again and I was already 6.5cm and the baby was at a station 0. One of the nurses suggested stopping the pitocin (an IV medicine that makes contractions happen), but the other nurse said "she's not on it, this is all her."  Baby's heart rate was still going down with contractions most of the time. Doctor wanted an IUPC put on the baby's head to more closely monitor his vitals, so about 7:30pm or so they tried to put that in but it came right back out because the baby was down even further (at a station -2) and I was 8cm dilated. This is when the nurses started hopping. :) One went to call the doctor, another went to get all the supplies needed for delivery and set up the room, and another went to notify the nursery staff. Dr. Motley arrived around 8pm and we were ready to push.

I only pushed through 5 sets of contractions. During the 5th set, the baby's heart rate dropped to about 60 (that's super low if you don't know anything about baby's heart rates - should be about 120-160) and Dr. Motley knew we needed to get him out immediately. (On a side note, if I had not been progressing as quickly as I was, I would have ended up with a C-section because of his heart rate problems.) So Dr. Motley did what she had to and she gave me a second degree episotomy (you can look that one up yourself, I'm not going to explain) and when he came out he tore me to a 4th degree. (Yes, ouch. Thank goodness for the epidural.) Daniel actually was the one to deliver Liam with Dr. Motley's assistance. Probably one of the coolest experiences of his life - delivering his son! Dr. Motley figured Liam had his cord around his neck so she was prepared with scissors and clamps to cut his cord immediately. She was right, he had the cord around his neck twice and he was as blue as he could possibly be. I had wanted him to be placed on me for the drying off process but Dr. Motley was too concerned about him, so she immediately gave him to the nursery/NICU nurses. Longest 30 seconds of my life waiting to hear his cry. I feel like it was 5 minutes. Then I heard it. Joy flooded my heart. I couldn't believe that I just gave birth to a little boy! Not just any little boy though, MY little boy! OUR little boy! Praise God from whom all blessing flow. :)
Finally getting to see and hold my little boy!

And that's Liam's Birthday Story. :)

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. "
Psalm 139: 13-16