Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gracie’s Birth Story

Our daughter, Grace Elizabeth Roybal was born on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.  In one instance this little person weighing all of 6lbs 7.2 oz and 18 ½ inches long, changed our lives forever.  

Gracie’s birth story in Georgia’s words ~ 
So much took place on Monday, March 5, 2012 that should have told us Gracie was about to join our family.  For some reason that day at work, Kristin’s “nesting” carried over into our workplace and she proceeded to clean her desk, drawers, find a temporary home for her plants, hand over work items that would need to be taken care of while she was out and she encouraged me to do the same.  When we got home that night, I told Kristin that I felt different (as if baby was in a lower position and as if she was lower in my abdomen) and that I thought that Grace was definitely going to make her appearance some time that week.  I didn’t feel pain, I just felt different.  With this thought in mind, we started the task that we literally put off until the last moment and we packed our bags for the hospital.  Later that night after being asleep for about an hour, Gracie sent us the first message that she was ready to come into this world at 11:50pm.

I awoke to a gush of water as my half asleep wife reached her hand over, placed it on my back and asked if everything was ok.  I replied, “I think my water just broke.”  With that Kristin jumped out of bed in a panic… Was this really happening?! Did my water really break?  We called my OB to let him know that we thought my water had broken and his recommendation was to go back to bed.  He said that active labor may take a while and that as the contractions get stronger they would wake me up.  He told us to head to the hospital by 7am the next morning if the contractions didn’t get me there sooner.  I awoke again at 5am to more water but still no contractions so we got up, called our parents and siblings and starting preparing to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at about 8am the morning of March 6th and spent several hours in triage waiting to be admitted.  First I was checked to see if I had dilated, which I wasn’t at all but I was 50% efface. I was also unaware of any contractions but the triage nurses and midwife said that I was having them; they were just really far apart.  They then sent us to walk around the hospital for a few hours to see if we could get the contractions to increase.  I was finally admitted at 12:45pm and for the next 3 hours we spent our time walking around the hospital, I stretched on the yoga ball and got some great massages from my lady, all while listening to the Beatles.      

Unfortunately by 4pm my contractions were still pretty much the same (I could now feel them but the time between them was not increasing) and I had only dilated to 1cm.  Because I really wanted to deliver Gracie as naturally as possible the midwife suggested the option to use a cook catheter to assist with dilation since my contractions were still just 8 minutes apart.  All I can say is “ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!”  This was the most painful part of the two days of labor.  A cook catheter is a catheter with two balloons that is inserted into the cervix and then each balloon is filled with saline (one on one side of the cervix wall and one on the other).  The cook catheter is supposed to assist in expanding the cervix and the hope was that it would help me dilate to 4 centimeters within a few hours.  Apparently the midwife said that the pain I was going to experience would be a 10 but I did not hear this so I was not prepared for the pain.  I didn’t feel them filling the balloons with saline and I can’t really describe exactly what took place, but I was told after all of the misery that the midwife had to pull my cervix forward to get a good position to insert the catheter and that she “mixed things up in there” to hopefully assist the cervix in dilating.

Five hours later at 9pm, nothing had changed.  I could definitely feel my contractions as they hit but they had not gotten closer together and I still had not reached 4cm.  The midwife decided it was time to start pitocin to hopefully jump start the contractions.  This kicked the pain up on the contractions and after a few hours I elected to start fenteral to dull the pain and allow me to get some sleep.  Of course this couldn’t go smoothly either.  I ended up getting too large of a dose of fenteral and within a small amount of time I felt like I was wasted – the room was spinning out of control and I felt nauseas.  By 3am I was officially worn down and I opted for the epidural.  Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long for the epidural because it was a slow night at the hospital.

From this point, I was actually able to get a few hours of sleep.  At 5am the doctor that was on shift came in to check me out.  He recommend that the cook catheter be removed and checked to see where I was… I had reached 5cm which was exciting and disappointing at the same time considering I had been in “labor” now for 29 hours.

Day 2 (Gracie’s birthday!) started as a very non-eventful day.  My progress was extremely slow through most of the morning and early afternoon.  The midwife and nurse that came on at 7am were great and very encouraging because they knew that I didn’t want to have a c-section so they continued to tell me that we could wait and see how things progressed throughout the day.  In early afternoon, I began to develop symptoms of an infection.  I was so cold but had a fever and baby’s heartbeat jumped from the 150’s to the 180’s and by 3:30pm I hit my limit. I was extremely tired and frustrated because I was still only 7cm.  I felt as though nothing was changing and I needed to have some sort of goal or time that I was working towards because I was beginning to worry about Grace even though the midwife still did not feel that we needed to rush to get her out.  I told the midwife and K that I would continue like this until 6pm and then if things didn’t progress I wanted to talk about other options.  For the next hour and a half I zoned out.  I began doing mini pushing exercises in my bed, I positioned my legs in a way that I thought would open my pelvis and I just went over and over in my head that at 6pm I was going to give birth to Grace.  

It was the most surreal hour and a half and when 6pm came around the midwife checked me and told us that I was 10cm and I was ready to give birth!  It was unbelievable!  K and I screamed with excitement and our parents came rushing in the room to hear the news.  We were all so excited especially K and our parents because everyone had started to think that I was going to have the dreaded c-section.  I was ready to push right away and told the midwife that I wanted to start as soon as possible. The nurse and midwife rushed to start getting the room ready for me to give birth.  I started pushing at almost 6:30pm and I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing when it came to pushing.  I could feel the pressure moving down which really helped with the pushing and of course I had the best coaches, Kristin and the midwife.

Little Grace entered the world about 20 minutes later and I know everyone says this but this was the most beautiful, surreal moment of my life.  One minute I’m pushing and the next minute I see her little face coming towards mine.  She was so beautiful and we just looked at each other.  Everyone says that the love you have for your kids is stronger than any other you have ever experienced but you don’t truly understand what that means until the moment you meet your first child.  The love that you feel is so overwhelming that it is truly unexplainable.  I want to cry just thinking about how much I love her.

After Grace and I spent about 15 minutes of skin-to-skin time, I passed her over to Kristin so that she and baby girl could also get some skin-to-skin time before Grace would have to be taken to the NICU.  It was so beautiful to see the two of them just cuddling and bonding and I was so glad that the nurses gave them a little extra time together. This moment and every other part of Gracie’s birthday will forever hold a place in my heart.

Here are just a few more pictures of our little bean the day she was born and the days she spent in the NICU ~ 

And then there were 3!  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2 Week Check-Up

Wednesday was Gracie’s 2 week check-up and she is doing great!  Since our last pediatrician appointment on 3/12 she has grown an inch and her weight jumped from 6.42lbs to 7.2lbs.  Our pediatrician is amazing and spent nearly an hour with us getting to know as much as possible about Gracie and answering our 20+ questions about belly button care.  We had a bit of a scare on Monday while changing baby girl’s diaper.  Her belly button looked a little inflamed and like it may have been infected.  At the appointment our doc took a closer look and assured us that her belly was just fine and that her umbilical cord was getting ready to fall off.  She was right – it fell off that night and scared the hell out of me!  I was changing her diaper in our room and when I opened the diaper I saw a little black thing roll down on to her leg and I didn’t know what the heck it was.  I let out a shriek and yelled for Georgia.  When I realized that it was just her umbilical cord I got emotional because I couldn’t believe that she had already reached this milestone.

Gracie got her first shot at this appointment and I think it was harder on us than it was on her.  One of the nurses administered the shot and you could clearly see when our little stinker felt the sting of the needle.  She let out the biggest scream and cried for a few minutes.  Both G and me held her and gave her a ton of kisses but all she really needed was some time to calm down.  We had prepared a bottle and fed her an ounce.  The feeding did the trick and she was just fine. 

We won’t have another pediatrician appointment for several weeks but we will have plenty of other appointments in the meantime.  We meet with our plastic surgeon again in April to go over the details of the surgery and what to expect with recovery.  Following our last appointment with our surgeon we were given Gracie’s surgery date, July 18th!  With her steady weight gain and good health our doctor decided that 4.5 months is the best time to operate.  
The countdown has officially begun.   

On a side note, I find myself dressing baby girl in more and more pink these days and I’m not even doing it on purpose.  We received (and continue to receive) a ton of cute pink baby clothes and we can’t resist dressing her in all of it.  She is just so pretty in pink!  Here are a few more pictures of our little one the day of her check up. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite Things!

In the spirit of Oprah, I feel the need to share a few of my favorite things in this our 2nd week with baby.  If it weren’t for these products, life with a newborn would be much more difficult!  If there is anything you swear by as a mama please share!  I am a NEW mom and I know I still have a lot to learn.

:: Slumber Buddies ::    
This little butterfly is a nightlight and soother.  It helps calm baby with lullabies, sounds of the womb and projects stars on the ceiling.  We’ve had about 3 hard nights with Gracie thus far and our slumber buddy is what got us through it.  It really helps to calm Grace and helps her to stay asleep even when she’s gassy.

:: All Natural Boudreaux’s Butt Paste ::
When we first came home and were using disposable diapers we used Desitin ointment.  Gracie got a bad rash a few days in right around the time we switched to cloth diapers and Butt Paste.  Once we started using the Butt Paste her rash was gone in one day and it hasn’t returned!

:: WubbaNubs ::
I never thought that I would plug a pacifier because we didn’t plan to use pacifiers with baby girl – but never say never… When Gracie was in the NICU the nurses used a pacifier to sooth her whenever they needed to do anything unpleasant.  Well, our little lady grew to need a paci and we actually found one that works with her lip.  One of our friends introduced us to WubbaNubs and they are AWESOME!  These pacifiers are made to allow babies to easily grab on to the stuffed toy and keep the paci in their mouth.  They are also safety tested and BPA free!

:: SwaddleMe Infant Wrap ::
Ok, let me start by saying that the first time I saw these wraps I thought they totally looked like straight jackets for babies so I was a bit turned off.  Luckily we received a few at the baby shower and as it turns out, Gracie LOVES them!!  Unless she is swaddled in a SwaddleMe she won’t go to sleep at night.  The wraps are supposed to simulate the feeling of being bundled in the womb.

:: Lansinoh HPA Lanolin ::
This amazing stuff is used by nursing mothers to heal sore and cracked nipples but we use it for Gracie’s upper lip.  With Gracie’s cleft she has more saliva and spit up than most, which really chaps her sensitive little baby lips.  At the hospital they gave us a prescription moisturizer but it seemed to make her lip worse so we stopped using it.  My friend Deanna suggested we use Lanolin and it worked great!  Thanks Deanna :)

:: Boppy Pillow ::
And last but not least, may I introduce the Boppy.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, I’m sure you have all heard of the Boppy.  It’s awesome!  If you have a baby and you don’t have a Boppy – get one immediately.

How's that for free advertising ;)    

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bringing home baby ~ part II

When I read that newborns sleep an average of 17 hours a day I didn’t believe it at first.  I do now!  This little girl of ours can sleep and that’s pretty much what she did the second half of her first week home and every day since.  We stayed home the entire week but had several visitors who provided us with tons of food!  We didn’t actually have to cook a thing until our second week at home thanks to all the meals our family and friends brought us.  You all are seriously awesome!  Here’s a bit more on what we did during our first week as a family of 3!  

Gracie had her first bath at home and as you can see she was not a fan, hehe!

Grandpa and Grandma came over for lunch and some cuddly time :)

We went to Gracie’s first ped appointment.  With it being RSV season we were both super paranoid to take baby girl to a place crawling with sick kiddos… thankfully auntie Missy gave us a car seat cover and we basically used anti-bacterial gel like 10 times from the moment we arrived until we left!  When it comes to RSV you can’t be too safe.

Gracie also had her first appointment with our plastic surgeon and a follow-up appointment at the hospital.  We’ve actually enjoyed all the appointments she had during week one because it gave us an excuse to play dress-up :)

Following our appointments we stopped by Nani’s house to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.  I have a feeling that Gracie is going to love playing in Nani’s backyard!

Lastly, our adventures in cloth diapering went off without a hitch!  We didn’t start using the cloth diapers until the end of the week because the hospital sent us home with a few bags of newborn disposables and we didn’t want them to go to waste.  I was nervous to start using cloth at first because I didn’t know what to expect but it has been such an easy transition!  We have 13 extra small/small that we’re using right now so we only have to wash a load a day.  The sprayer that G installed on the guest toilet is working like a charm and more than anything Gracie just looks so darn cute in her colorful diapers!

Well, that about wraps it up.  I hope you enjoyed reading about our first week as a family.  I’ll leave you with this adorable picture of our little lady in her birthday suit.  Until next time :)

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