Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sahara Julie Pettet: A Birth Story

Before we begin, I am fully aware that our sweet girl was born two and a half months ago, thanks for letting me take a much-needed break!  I am also fully aware that I look like death in the following pictures...10 days of early labor and 19 hours of active labor will do that to ya...forgive me!  I promise I try to take care of myself ;)

There are a few days in my life that I will never forget, this, being one of them, I felt like I should write it down.  I didn't do all those weekly posts for nothing ;)

 On October 15th, I had my first round of consistent contractions, about 5 minutes apart for 45 minutes, then they completely stopped.  An hour  and a half later, same story.  This was pretty much how things happened for the next 10 days.  Contractions would come, get regular, then stop with no warning.  This was definitely the worst 10 days of pregnancy, just waiting for my body to stay in labor. At my last doctor's appointment on October 22nd, I was dilated 2.5cm and we scheduled to induce on October 28th if nothing had happened by then.  I never thought I would want to be induced, but I was so ready to be done with the contractions.

On Thursday, October 25th, around noon I noticed yet another round of contractions that were fairly consistent, about 5-7 minutes apart.  My mom texted me to check up and see how I was doing.  As 1 and 2 o' clock rolled around and I was still having contractions, my mom convinced me that we should at least go to the hospital and be checked.  I texted Josh and told him what was going on but told him to finish up work for the day, I was still convinced this was a false alarm.  At 3, my mom came and picked me up and off we went.

The whole way to the hospital I was a nervous wreck, not because I was nervous to have a baby, but because I was nervous they would send me home.  My contractions weren't hurting and I knew for sure they would take one look at me and say "lady, you are crazy! GO HOME!"

I was now at 3.5cm and got hooked up to the monitors. Indeed, my contractions were quite regular, 5 minutes apart, and my blood pressure was really high...turns out that was all my fault because I was so freaked out... whoops...  They told me I could walk around and they would keep me for an hour to monitor the contractions, I told my nurse if they would keep me I would consider naming our little girl after her.  I'm really glad she had a good sense of humor!  So my mom and I started walking.   Around 4:30 pm my nurse told me that because I was scheduled to be induced three days later, my doctor told them to keep me overnight, I could have an epidural whenever I wanted, and they would start pitocin at 5am the next morning.  I could have kissed them all!  Contractions still weren't hurting so I was happy as a clam, called Josh and told him to come over after he rounded up last minute items for the hospital bag.  At this point, my mom took my last pregnant picture:

That was kind of a bittersweet moment:) Then more walking and waiting for Josh:)

They brought in some delicious looking dinner for me and just as I was getting ready to dig in and enjoy my last meal not caring how much I ate, the nurse said "don't eat much, we don't want you to puke everything back up!"  Thanks :(

My sweet little sister Abi stopped by and made us laugh with clips from "Father of the Bride II," what would I do without her ;)  At this point, I was starting to feel the contractions and they were getting to the "uncomfortable" stage.  Walking helped so when Josh got to the hospital around 6pm, off we went.

By 7:30pm I was finally at 4cm, and contractions were starting to be more painful.  I asked for an epidural so they called the anesthesiologist, Mike.  About 15 minutes before he come, the nurse came into my room and started by saying "Now Mike has medication," my first thought was "well, ok did he take it today?"  but what she really meant was if I started feeling nauseous, he had medication that would help me.  Much better than telling me that the man who was going to be messing around with my spinal chord may or may not have taken his perscriptions that day!

When he finally got to me around 8:30pm I was shaking like a leaf.  Josh held my hands as I laid on my side and cried like a baby.  I was scared out of my mind.  As I was laying there, I was so thankful that I had Josh there with me, to tell me it was going to be ok.  I knew as long as he was there squeezing my hands, it would be alright.  

The epidural was much weirder than I imagined it would be.  Mike said "ok, you are going to feel some crunching..." and just as I was wondering about the "crunching," I felt it!  He had described it perfectly.  Weirdest feeling ever!  After some sharp pains and nausea, he adjusted everything just right and explained that whenever I wanted, I could push the button to get more juice flowing to numb things up better, then off he went.

Five minutes later, I was ready to sleep.

Things settled down for a while, the nurses would come in and check periodically.  At 3am the nurse came in, checked me, and at this point I was at 4.5cm.  She told me they were going to start the pitocin early and try to jump start things.  I was thrilled!  In went another IV and I drifted off to sleep again.

The nurses would come in every 30 minutes, make me drink some apple juice and roll me from side to side, Sahara's heartbeat was staying just a little too consistent and they wanted to see more variation, so I felt like a whale as they would roll me around...those poor ladies.

At 4:30am I woke up because I couldn't hear the quick little flutter of her heartbeat.  My mom was running out of the room and I started bawling and moving the monitors around on my belly hoping that they had just moved around too much.  The nurses ran in just as my mom was getting to the door and laid me on my side, gave me some oxygen, and moved the monitors and were able to find her heartbeat.  They checked me, and found I was at 7cm and accidentally broke my water.  The nurse explained to me that the pitocin had worked almost too well, causing me to dilate quickly and baby girl's head dropped into my pelvis even faster and probably scared her.  So off the pitocin I went.

Now it was just time to wait.  Wait and fight that stinkin' oxygen mask...

A little after 6am I was feeling a lot of pressure, so I called my nurse and asked to be checked again.  At this point, I was at 9.5cm.  They told me we would do some practice pushes and see how those went.  They went really well, too well in fact so my nurse said "Oh!  Ok, we are just going to keep your legs together and lay you on your side, I will go call your doctor!"  Like it would be the easiest thing I ever did.  Not true.  I cannot believe the pressure I was feeling and I was sure that in those 45 minutes that we waited for my doctor, my pelvis was going to split in half. 

He arrived at about 7:15, and four pushes later, she was here!
I had no idea until Dr. Hall started unwrapping the umbilical cord from around her neck, "one, two, three, four times around!"  he said.  Baby girl loves necklaces the nurses concluded:)  I am so thankful that the cord didn't cause more problems from being around her neck so many times.  Josh cut the cord, and they laid our sweet baby girl on my chest, I will never forget how she was so quiet, and just looked at me, giving me the look that she was so thankful to be here and she would trust me with anything.  Josh and I were both crying, and I lost it when they called for respiratory because of the darn cord.  They took her from me, and all I could think was how beautiful she was. 

That feeling, right then, when you realize what a beautiful person you have created, is the best feeling I have ever felt in my life.  Almost as if I could explode with love right in that moment.

She was born at 7:17am, weighing 7lbs. 7oz., 21.5 inches long, and perfect in every way.

 I couldn't wait to have her in my arms again as they sucked out her tummy from the stressful labor and gave her shots, weighed and measured her. Having her here and Josh holding my hand, nothing else mattered.

It was such a precious time, becoming a family of three and spending a few days of precious time in the hospital.  A time I will never forget. By the time our three days were up, it was a bittersweet moment going home, we couldn't wait!

Little bug was so mad to be unswaddled:)

Sister and daddy ready to go!

Now, two and a half months later, we still can't imagine what life would be like without her.
We love you Sahara Julie and feel like the luckiest people alive to finally have you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dear Little S...

Little S,

Your Dad and I are so excited to meet you!  Your due date was two days ago, but I guess you are way too cozy in there:)  I will have to lay off the treats I guess.  My body hasn't quite figured out the labor thing yet, but this Sunday, October 28th, we will go in and help it along.  Momma doesn't know if she can handle these on-off contractions much longer:(  The Dr. says you sound healthy and strong and you are growing like a weed! 
These last nine months have been incredibly for our little family.  You will never know how much we already love you and how we have hoped, wished, dreamed, and prayed about you.  Maybe someday when you have a little one of your own, (if we ever let you date that is) you will understand what our love for you is like.  You have already changed our lives for the better and you aren't even here yet!
We can't wait to see your chubby cheeks, feel your spirit, learn your personality, kiss your toes and most of all, have you in our arms where we know you are okay.
So sweet girl, soak up these last 2.5 days, because I know I am.

Love, Momma

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

36 & 37 Weeks!

How far along?: 37 Weeks, FULL TERM!
Weight gain/loss: Up 21 lbs. again...go figure
Symptoms:  Still feeling really good...I might regret saying this soon, but I haven't hit the "uncomfortable" stage yet...Excited stage? YES.
Maternity clothes?:  Tops and tummy sleeve...
How is the sleep?: Still great!  Occasionally I have to wake up for a midnight snack, but sleep is good!  Soak in the last few nights to myself for a while;)
Best moment this week?: Baby shower was wonderful, thank you to all who came or participated!
Told family and friends?: Yes
Miss anything?: Think of a verb and put normally behind it;)
Movement?: Good grief she is a wiggle worm:)  Love every minute!
Cravings?: Lots of fruit!
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Still weird smells...
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Nothing promising yet...
Belly button in or out?: Out!
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  Packing the hospital bag like a madwoman this week...
Looking forward to: MEETING OUR LITTLE GIRL!  We are so ready!

How far along?: 36 Weeks!
Weight gain/loss: Up 19lbs., lost a couple pounds since last weird...
Symptoms:  I honestly feel fabulous!  Can't complain a bit:)
Maternity clothes?:  Tummy sleeve and all the loose tops I can find
How is the sleep?:  Pretty good, as long as I can keep my mind from running away with itself...
Best moment this week?:  Celebrating Josh's 25th birthday!  So lucky to have him:)
Told family and friends?: Yes
Miss anything?: Rolling out of bed or getting off the couch normally;)
Movement?:  Lots and lots still...she is a pro at hiccups by now
Cravings?:  Strawberries and Cantelope, YES PLEASE!
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Weird smells...
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Nothing exciting...she must be pretty comfy...more spicy food? ;)
Belly button in or out?: Out!
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  Insisting to Josh that we eat dinner NOW.  When I tell him that, he knows I mean business;)
Looking forward to: Meeting our Little S! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

35 Weeks!

How far along?: 35 Weeks! Now, less than 35 days to go!
Weight gain/loss: Up 21 lbs. as of last Monday.
Symptoms:  Backache? GONE! My chiropractor is a miracle worker!  That was such a blessing to go to him!  Whatever he did, it worked!  Now just achy ribs when baby girl pushes up on them...maybe she is trying to break out of there? ;) Heartburn that comes and goes but nothing bad.
Maternity clothes?:  Tops and tummy sleeve! Still in my pre-pregnancy jeans and I have decided against maternity jeans this late in the game...that being said: I can't wait to do up my pants again! 
How is the sleep?:  It is WONDERFUL.  Thank you Mr. Chiropractor:)
Best moment this week?:  Feeling really prepared for baby girl's arrival!  The biggest thing on our list of "to do's" is probably make freezer meals for after her arrival...
Told family and friends?: Yes
Miss anything?: Moving/walking/laying/sitting normally...
Movement?:  Lots and lots of movement!  Hiccups several times/day and we love it!  Poor thing is probably getting really ready to stretch those legs of hers!
Cravings?: Fruit, hot cocoa, and tacos again...
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Still just being hungry
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Braxton Hicks that come more frequently but nothing serious
Belly button in or out?: Out!
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  Laying in bed for a couple hours the other night just thinking about life with our Little S:)  I can't believe how much we love her already!
Looking forward to: Meeting our little girl!  Beyond ready to hold her!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weeks 33 & 34

(I'm a slacker, almost 35 weeks and now just posting for the last two weeks...)

How far along?: 34 Weeks!
Weight gain/loss: No more weight gain as of yesterday, still up 19lbs...maybe pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are healthy?!
Symptoms:  If you knew me in High School, you would know that I hurt my back pretty good and I had to sit out most of my Junior year.  I always knew that my back would be weakened once I got pregnant, and that weak back came back to haunt me in full force this week:(  I have had 3 nights in a row of no sleep (Josh too:( ) and quite frankly, I cannot wait to meet with my chiropractor tomorrow morning.  Hopefully he can fix me up because I definitely cannot function the last 5 weeks of this pregnancy like this...The doc said yesterday that Little S is breech again which means it would probably be uncomfortable for her to be head down and her being breech just puts more pressure on my back, so I am willing to try almost anything to get myself put back together so the sweet babe will go head down again.  So, to make a long story longer, the reason why I look like a trainwreck in the above picture is because I am functioning on just a couple hours of sleep...anybody want to hang out at 3am? ;)
Maternity clothes?:  Tops and tummy sleeve!
How is the sleep?:  Nonexistent...more nonexistent than if Little S herself were here:(  At least in a few weeks she can keep me company right?!
Best moment this week?:  Going to our birthing class, registering at our hospital and finding out that they do, in fact, have a really good NICU...whoever started the rumor that they didn't is clearly mistaken:(
Told family and friends?: Yes
Miss anything?: Sleep. In any form...
Movement?:  Still lots, she is probably getting so squished though:(
Cravings?: Pumpkin chocolate chip goodness...
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Being hungry!
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Braxton Hicks, they are so much fun...
Belly button in or out?: Out, in every sense of the word!
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  Nesting and organizing the nursery like CRAZY!
Looking forward to: My date with the chiropractor tomorrow morning!  Baby shower in a couple weeks, and meeting our Little S!

How far along?: 33 Weeks!
Weight gain/loss: Up 19lbs. total as of a week ago
Symptoms: Achy back, ribs and hips, heartburn that comes and goes
Maternity clothes?:  Still no pants and I really don't want to buy any at this point...
How is the sleep?: Sleep is good!
Best moment this week?: Crafting for the nursery, I'll post more about that later this week!
Told family and friends?:  Yes
Miss anything?: Breathing and moving normally:)
Movement?:  Lots and lots!  Still hiccups several times a day, this girl is going to have some strong lungs!
Cravings?: Fruit, chocolate milk, pretty much anything these days;)
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Not really, feeling pretty good!
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Nothing serious:)
Belly button in or out?: Out and I am convinced if it had seams, it would split there!
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  Researching which kind of laundry detergent to use for Little S.  Who knew it was such a big deal?
Looking forward to:  Our birthing class this weekend! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Feeling so BLESSED.

There aren't any words right now to express how blessed our little family feels.

At our 17 week ultrasound, there were a couple things our Little S was in a bad position for the techs to see like a couple views of her heart, gender, and her sweet top lip to rule out cleft lip and heart defects.  So, they scheduled us to come back at 28 weeks, four weeks ago.

I went to that ultrasound alone, not really worried about the things they needed to rule out and saw her beautiful heartbeat, found out that she was, in fact, still a girl, and saw her sweet top lip.  I went home on cloud nine:)

Then the next day, I missed a call from my Dr.'s office, called them back and expected to hear from the wonderful nurses that everything looked great.  My heart sank when a nurse answered and said "Dr. Hall will be just a minute, can you hold?"  I squeaked out a "yes" and couldn't help but start to panic.  I didn't know what he would say, but I knew that if everything had looked good, I wouldn't need to talk to him.  When he came on the line he explained that our little girl looked great and measured right on track, but that my amniotic fluid levels were on the low end.  Low meaning 0.3 cm away from bedrest...He told me to take it easy, relax, everything would probably be just fine, drink lots of water and he would get us in for another ultrasound after my next appointment.  Not exactly what this hormonal Momma needed to hear...

I called my Mom after I got off the phone. She has had her share of phone calls with that very same Dr. and knows what that feels like. She assured me that everything would be okay, that Little S would be just fine and suggested that Josh and my Dad give me a blessing.

We went over that night and I have never felt such overwhelming comfort wash over me as I did after my Dad and Josh laid their hands on my head.  I knew that things were going to be okay, that no matter what, our little girl was going to be okay.  What a blessing it is to have the priesthood in our lives.

So the last four weeks, I have been making an extra effort to hydrate myself and take things slow.  There have been a few nights that I would just cry like a crazy woman to my sweet husband that life was hard enough as is and as a mother, I should be able to provide a healthy body for our little girl so she wouldn't have to struggle the first days and weeks of life.  I felt my first dose of "Momma guilt."  I was worried that with low fluid levels, her lungs wouldn't develop properly, or she wouldn't be strong and healthy at birth.  I felt like I was already failing at motherhood.  Sounds silly doesn't it?  But I was so hormonal yes, but so so worried.

Then, Tuesday arrived and once again, I felt that calm comforting feeling come over me.

I got the nicest ultrasound tech, the same one that did our first ultrasound at 11 weeks and our last ultrasound at 28.  She was so sweet and helpful the whole time, explaining things, calming my nerves and telling me that from what she could tell, my fluid levels were higher, YAY!

Little S was doing lots and lots of tricks for us.  Putting her whole hand in her mouth, sticking out her tongue, taking practice breaths so we could see her little lungs filling up and then "breathing out."  The tech said that was a really good sign to see those breaths, and my Momma guilt turned into Momma pride:)  I was so proud of our little girl for taking those breaths and showing me that she was, in fact, going to be okay!

She now weighs a whopping 4lbs. 1oz., is FINALLY head down (let's keep it that way!) and measures exactly on with her due date!

My wonderful Dr. called Tuesday night to tell me that everything looked good, my fluid levels were up and in the safe zone.

What. A. Blessing.

This means we still have options as to where we will deliver our sweet little girl.  The hospital I would love to deliver at doesn't have a NICU, so as long as we go to term (5 1/2 weeks away!), and my fluid levels stay up, we still feel comfortable delivering there!  Another blessing.  This also means that we have a higher chance of taking our baby girl home with us when we leave the hospital, and in turn, no NICU stays.  Another blessing.

So the plan now is to keep myself good and hydrated and let our sweet Little S cook as long as she can.  Josh and I feel so blessed and thankful that our little girl is doing well and that she is healthy.  I know throughout life she will struggle, struggling is good.  I also know that those struggling moments in her life are what will make her a strong woman someday.  If I can give her a strong and healthy body so she doesn't have to struggle to survive after birth, then I would like to think I am already doing okay as a Momma.  I couldn't ask for more.

Our hearts are so full of gratitude that Tuesday's ultrasound went well and we are still in awe that we have been chosen to raise our sweet little girl.  She is truly a miracle and a blessing in our lives!  The time is flying, and before we know it, she will be here!

Now for some pictures:

Her sweet profile:)

In this next one, we saw her moving around and the tech said: "oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH!"
I asked what she was doing and she rewound the video and explained that she is putting her whole hand in her mouth!  Gah!  I asked if that was normal (because that was my first reaction...) and she said "well, I guess it's not going to hurt anything, but I haven't seen a baby do that I don't think!"  Way to go Little S!  Show us your tricks;)  She then proceeded to do it 4 more times for us!

And my "paint" version of what she was make it comprehensive :)

And her sweet profile in 3D

Those lips need some kissin' ;)
And my very favorite:

Her hand is up by her face, and her big chubby cheeks are squishing her eyes closed:)  
Josh and I are biased, but we think that our little girl is the absolute cutest there is!
We love her so much!

When we were getting the 3D pictures, the tech said "Good grief, you are going to have one cute baby!  I don't say that to just anybody!"  My Momma pride swelled all over again:)

It is still incredible to me how much you can love someone you haven't even met, but as the weeks go on, Josh and I fall in love with her even more!
 So today, we feel so blessed, blessed to see her lungs working, blessed to see her chubby cheeks and big lips we can't wait to kiss. Blessed to know that she is gaining lots of weight, blessed to know my fluids are up. Blessed to know she is doing well, blessed to know she is healthy.  Blessed beyond belief to have her!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

31 AND 32 Weeks!

How far along?: 32 Weeks!
Weight gain/loss: Up 19lbs. total as of Monday...feels more like 91!
Symptoms: Heartburn in full force in the mornings, achy back, tired all the time...
Maternity clothes?:  I am proud to say that even though there is absolutely NO hope of doing them up, I am still in my pre-pregnancy pants!  Ha...let's see how much longer that lasts!  Still just wearing a few maternity tops and trying to get creative with my wardrobe!
How is the sleep?:  After a few restless nights, Josh and I decided we needed to invest in some better pillows and now, the sleep is better than ever!  Still loving the body pillow!  It is a lifesaver!
Best moment this week?: Our ultrasound yesterday!  More on that tomorrow...
Told family and friends?:  Yes
Miss anything?: Ok, I could put about a dozen things right here, but they all have no comparison of how excited we are to meet our Little S!  In 9 weeks (or hopefully less) I am SO going to miss being pregnant.  What a miracle!
Movement?:  She is a mover and a shaker, kicking my right hip bone as we speak;)
Cravings?: Tacos...and a milkshake for the heartburn...
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Still just nasty (or strange) smells
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Nothing more than some Braxton Hicks thank heaven!
Belly button in or out?: Out, the poor thing...
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  "Ohhing" and "ahhing" at the ultrasound yesterday, when the tech said "Good GRIEF! You are going to have a cute baby, and I don't say that to just anybody!" I felt like the proudest momma there is!  Can't wait to meet our little girl!
Looking forward to: Maternity pictures, our last trip as a family of two this weekend!


How far along?: 31 Weeks!
Weight gain/loss: Up 14 lbs. 3 weeks ago
Symptoms: Lovely heartburn, rib/back/tailbone pain...Does feeling like a hippo count?
Maternity clothes?:  Just a few tops...I am starting to really appreciate my looser-fitting tops...
How is the sleep?: Pretty good!  Can't complain!
Best moment this week?:  Feeling lots of movement, my birthday, hearing her sweet heartbeat:)
Told family and friends?:  Yes
Miss anything?: The comfort of having my own body to myself...but she is so worth it!
Movement?:  Lots and lots!  Still hiccups 3ish times a day!
Cravings?: Tacos...I think that may be the winner this pregnancy...
Anything make you queasy or sick?:  Starting to get more sensitive to smells...I need to stock up on air freshener to keep under the counter at work!
Have you started to show yet?:  Yes
Gender:  Sweet baby GIRL!
Any labor signs?: Nothing too exciting, just Braxton Hicks...
Belly button in or out?: Out, out, out!
Any "pregnancy" moments?:  Huffing and puffing going up the stairs the other night and realizing that it might be better for my health to start sleeping on the mail level of our home;) Not really, but those stairs are a killer...
Looking forward to:  Our ultrasound next week and cooler weather!