Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Avery's Debut

She's here!! And our hearts couldn't be more filled with love and gratefulness for our sweet angel!

It was two weeks ago yesterday when David and I eagerly waited in that little exam room for our OB to check my "progress." We were a day past her due date and the "false" labor was still coming and going - it even sent us to L&D a little over a week before - only to be sent home a couple hours later.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd go past a due date. On Labor Day (her due date) I told David and my mom, "I feel like my body just doesn't want to go through labor." And in a way, I was right. My uterus had been cooperating with all those "false" contractions, but my cervix, well, it was behaving "unfavorably." No progress in 5 weeks led my very conservative doctor to suggest going ahead and inducing. So, Tuesday night, we checked into L&D.

The actual "inducement" was the most painful part of my labor and delivery! I was grateful my doctor chose to go with the foley catheter inducement method (google it if you want to know what that entails) because I wanted to avoid taking as many medications as possible, but aye yai yai --- let's just say, having that thing put in is not a pleasant experience! But, it worked. 7 hours later, my nurse checked me (dilated to 4ish cm at this point) and told me she was getting ready to hang my pitocin. The pain was escalating to more than I could handle, and I remembered enough from my OB rotation in nursing school to have a good idea of how things were going to progress once she hung that pitocin - the speed of my already slow labor would slow down even more while the contractions would get stronger.

I had my mind made up at our first maternity appointment, and it was one of the first things I told my doctor when we discussed my "birth plan." Absolutely no narcotics. And no epidural. My reasons for each were my personal reasons; he respected them, and David respected them. Nevertheless, with tears in my eyes, at about 6am, I told my nurse I was ready for an epidural, and bless her sweet heart, she pulled that CNA out of another room to come bring me relief as soon as possible. When I saw his face, I was immediately relieved. I'd worked with him when I worked a couple floors down on pre-op, and he was one of the "good ones." I felt the Lord's quiet whisper reminding me of His sovereignty.

The epidural definitely didn't take away all of the pain. In fact, I required a couple bumps of extra fancy medicine through it during the next 12 hours to keep it manageable. That's right - 12 more hours. That "unfavorable" cervix of mine continued to take it's sweet time dilating. Sometime during the 6pm hour, I finally made it to 10 cm, and it was time to start pushing. That was by far the most memorable and sweetest part of the entire labor. Having David at my head helping me lift up into a crunch position, my mom supporting a leg/foot counting out my pushes, and a sweet sister in Christ (who'd been my stellar nurse all day) staying late to support me... It was beautiful.

Then, at 7:33pm, Avery made her debut into the world. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw her head full of dark hair - I had secretly hoped she would be born with a head full of dark hair. And there she was, my little brunette, perfect in every way.

After everything got cleaned up, and it was just the three of us plus our night nurse, real life began real fast. After Avery's bath, our night nurse left the room and brought another nurse back with her to assess Avery in her bassinet. I knew that look they had on their faces - it was the look a nurse gets when the patient looks ok but the monitor doesn't. Avery's heart rate was low, a whole lot lower than normal range for a newborn. Thankfully, she was neurologically responsive and maintaining her blood oxygen saturation at normal levels. The nurses called NICU, and one of their nurses came over to assess her. The NICU nurse gave her "ok" for Avery to head over to mother-baby with us, so across the hall we went.

The next morning, Avery had an EKG which reflected an irregularity in her heart's rhythm. Both the pediatrician and NICU's cardiologist agreed on a plan to monitor Avery's heart for 48 hours. We had an awesome nurse that first morning on mother-baby who made a plan with me for monitoring Avery in our room. Being a nurse definitely came in handy when it came to ensuring the monitoring process was adhered to exactly as we had originally established it. So, during the following 48 hours, in between receiving visitors, cordially greeting hospital staff who came in and out of our room, David having to leave to spend a little pre-orientation time at his new job (which he would be starting on Monday) we checked her heart rate and oxygen level every 4 hours... and prayed.

Saturday morning, the doctors came in early, probably because there was a Razorback game here in Little Rock that afternoon that they wanted to get to or at least home for. Avery was taken for her EKG, and the pediatrician came to deliver the good news- the irregularity in her rhythm was gone. She was cleared to go home. (Praise the Lord!) Still, 11 days later, it brings tears to my eyes - God is so good.

We were beyond blessed to get to have my mom stay with us until Wednesday. I don't think David or I have words to adequately express how grateful we were for her and the many ways she served and blessed the three of us in that first week of Avery's life.

Now, we're falling into a rhythm - it is far from a "schedule," but we'll take it! We appreciate all of the texts/voicemails/FB messages/emails. I know David has done a much better job at returning them then I have. It means so much knowing that we have so many people, near and far, thinking about and praying for our little family. We also want to thank everyone who got their TDAP and flu shots before Avery was born. Thank you for helping us keep her healthy! Doctor's orders are to keep Avery away from crowds until her 2 month check up (standard protocol for our pediatrician's office), so we'll be keeping things quiet at mostly at home until then.

Honestly, I'm grateful for the extra rules we have to follow right now - I've been on driving restrictions since we left the hospital (they end today) - because they (and my sweet mom) remind me, the go-go-go girl, that now isn't the time to try to jump back into my busy life even when most of today's society thinks otherwise. That it's ok to only get one thing done in a day. Because seriously, taking care of a newborn involves getting LOTS of things done when you're nursing, changing diapers, rocking, bathing, wiping eyes with clogged tear ducts, starting tummy time, keeping up with mittens, feeding yourself, etc. Now, and for several more weeks, it's time to let my body heal, time to enjoy this fleeting chapter of my daughter's life called "the newborn phase," time to rock and cuddle and enjoy every baby sound, even the cries that turn into screams at 1am.

What a precious two weeks it's been - the most precious two weeks of our life thus far.

Praise be to the Lord who has blessed us so abundantly.

"One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts." Psalm 145:4