Thursday, July 31, 2014

Love Letter to Everly: One Year

… I love when you giggle uncontrollably, the sound is intoxicatingly beautiful
… I love that you made it to one year and are still breastfeeding (this really was my biggest goal for the first year of your life!)
… I love that you were born with a head full of brown hair (and never really lost it)
… I love the way we call you Eberleah more often than Everly
… I love the way you smile at me and come running for me when I get home from work (arms outstretched), you are always happy to see your mamma
… I love watching you hold your own against Emma, grunting and squealing when you don’t like how she is treating you
… I love watching you shake your head back in forth at the dinner table
… I love that you are shy and timid around others, almost always preferring your mommy and daddy
… I love to watch you get so excited when you spot a ball, loudly squealing “bahh bahh”
… I love your bright, brown eyes- they shine with curiosity
… I love watching you read books with your daddy, you love to sit in his lap
… I love that you have barely one tooth by your first birthday (bonus- you cannot bite me while nursing!)
… I love that you made it to one year with no sick doctor visits (and no antibiotics!)
… I love that you love to take naps all snuggled up with me
… I love squeezing your baby thighs, they are deliciously chunky
… I love watching you eat; it is a beautiful, messy adventure
… I love finding your ticklish spot! Right under your chin!!
… I love that you are a snuggle bug through and through
… I love that you have proven to be a water baby both in the bathtub and the swimming pool
… I love to watch you reach all your first milestones (sitting, eating, crawling, walking), they are such special moments
… I love to watch you smile- your smile lights up the room
… I love that you are my mini-me; it never gets old when someone tells me that we look like twins!
… I love when you and Emma play together (even if you seem to get along best when playing in the dog food!)
… I love that you love the outdoors- every time you hear the front yard or back yard door open, you take off for it as quick as your legs will take you
… I love that you love Bailey, you always get excited when you spot him first thing in the morning
… I love that you love baby wearing and that you sleep so peacefully in the Ergo during Mass each week
… I love getting you dressed every morning (I know this sounds superficial, but you have the cutest clothes and moccs!)
… I love watching the process of your milk drunk smiles turned into real smiles
… I love getting to hear you say mama and bye bye- those are my two favorite things that you say!
... I especially love when you give me unprompted bye bye's when I leave for work
... I love to listen to you babble, I know that what you are saying makes perfect sense to you
… I love when you give open mouthed kisses- they are rare to date, but the sweetest when they happen
… I love watching you splash in the bathtub- I just want to bottle up the pure joy that can be found in your squeals
… I love that you still have your milky breath long after the newborn smell is gone
… I love that you are mine and I get to love you every day of my life

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Girl Almost Named Nella

Obviously, you know that Everly was not named Nella- but there is a sweet story with her name Everly that I don't want to forget (sorry in advance for all of the red highlighting that you will see below, I wanted to protect the identity of email addresses, but I know it's not very pretty to look at :)).  In my mind, she was named Nella for close to 16 weeks of my pregnancy (weeks 20 - 36).  Once I found out that Everly was a girl, I instantly knew I loved the name Nella.  As you saw in one of my previous pregnancy posts, I even thought my husband loved Nella- but now, I realize that he was probably just being nice ;).  

I told my family (big mistake!) that we were thinking of naming our second daughter Nella and they made fun of me relentlessly.  They called her Nutella, Nella Wafer and Wafer for short.  They teased me constantly.  I still loved the name Nella, but I was still shopping around to see if there was another name I loved as seen in this sweet email from my friend Kelli on May 22nd (two months before Everly was born). 

I wrote the following email back.

I was still thinking about the name and wrote the following email back to Kelli within 6 hours from my email earlier that morning.  

While waiting on Kelli's response, I sent an email over to Wes to tell him (don't have that email :()- as you can tell in my communication to Kelli, it was not love at first sight. 

The next day Kelli confirmed that she loved it (important in the decision making process :)). 

Fast forward a month later and I was still trying to figure out our second daughter's name- Nella was still a strong contender in my mind :).  My list to Wes was not in any particular order.

Wes's response :).

Within a few weeks over dinner at Cantina Laredo, we decided our sweet, second daughter would be named Everly Grace :) which all started from an email from our friend Kelli.  I am still in love with her name!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Everly Grace: A Birth Story

I don't know why it has taken me so long to write Everly's birth story.  It was nothing traumatic, not abnormally intense; ultimately, it was nothing short of beautiful even if there were a few bumps along the way.  If you know me very well, you know that I loved being pregnant.  Loved love loved it (although I could do without the constant vomiting :)).  I think part of loving pregnancy is the anticipation of meeting your child.  Wes and I always talked at length about what we thought our baby would look like, him believe that she would have blonde hair and blue eyes again, me hoping for a brunette that looked like me :).  The anticipation of meeting her and when her birthday would be was driving me crazy!

Her one year old birthday seems like a poignant time to share her birth story.

July 25th, 10am:  Everly's birth story starts at my 40 week OB appointment.  40 weeks pregnant and no baby.  I cannot describe the disappointment accurately in words.  The whole time, I thought I would have sweet Ev's before her due date.  On July 25th, we scheduled her induction for July 29th at 7 am.  I felt like I was settling.  The whole pregnancy, I told myself I would be strong and not let my OB talk me into an induction (in all fairness to him, he would have let me hold out another 3 days, but then I would have had a different doctor deliver my sweet baby).  But there I was in the doctor's office scheduling yet another induction. I left defeated and determined to walk that baby out on my own :).

July 28th, 5pm: We went out to dinner for the last time as a family of three.  I chose Johnny Carino's.  Something about all of the bread and the (caffeine free cream soda) just really called my name :).  It was the worst dinner out that we have ever eaten out with Emma.  So bad that we told them to box up our meal before it even came.  I remember thinking, come on Emma, I just want one last, nice meal out before your baby sister comes and we rock your world.  She was not having it and who could blame her.  She was just 17 months old.  I only added this part to the birth story, because when we got home from dinner this is the only point in my pregnancy that I had real contractions on my own.  They started coming in every 10 minutes apart, not that intense and definitely doable.  I texted my mom to let her know just in case she would need to come stay with Emma during the night.  I was hopeful that this was the start of labor.  I walked all over the house, bounced on a ball and tried to get this baby to come on their own.  However, after about 2 hours, the contractions just dissipated.  It was like they never even happened and I took a shower and went to bed.

July 29th, 5am.  I walked into Emma's room.  I took the video camera with me and had Wes film it (unfortunately my phone deleted the video before I posted it to YouTube and I had not backed it up :().  The moment I said to the video camera, "Hi Everly- I am going into wake your sister up for the last time as an only child", I burst into big fat tears.  The ugly kind.  I could not handle the emotions of waking Emma up for the very last time as my baby.  I somehow put myself back together and we loaded Emma up to take her to my in-laws.  While we were driving over there, I felt very queasy and told Wes I thought I was going to throw up.  Sure enough, before Wes could pull over on the side of the road, I vomited everywhere (half in the car/half outside the car).  We did the only thing we could do and laughed about the situation- it now seemed like for the second time I would start off the day I gave birth by throwing my guts up.  I am not sure whether it is nervous energy or the baby or what.  We got Emma to my in-laws house and somehow I was able to hold it together.  Daddy and his girl (ps. Emma was super tired and confused why she was going to Grandma and Papa's house so early in the morning)!

Here we are the morning of the induction- our last picture as just a family of three.

July 29th, 7am. After we dropped Emma off, we made our way to the hospital.  We were early, which is no surprise if you know my husband :).  I started off the day with a super positive attitude.  I was making a concerted effort of being extra extra nice to my nurses (you will see why this is so important later on).  I was in my hospital gown, all hooked up (even eating ice chips) and ready to go by 7am.

Can we just stop for a second and talk about the baby hospital bed in the room.  Just seeing this bed all made up for my little baby brings tears to my eyes.  It is the first blanket your baby will be swaddled in, the first place they will sleep, just so sweet and serene.

Blood pressure cuff on, IV hooked up, positive attitude- ready to get this Pitocin going.

Since this might very well be my last birth, I really wanted to remember every detail of it.  Wes took this picture, and I think it captures the details perfectly.  As a side note, I love being able to hear my babies heartbeat the entire time I am in labor (those are what the blue circle (instruments?) things are for).

They crank up the pitocin level (can be seen on the right- up two notches every half hour or so).  Once I went from a 2 to 4 on the pitocin level, the contractions started!  The turquoise line monitors the babies heartbeat while the yellow line monitors contractions.

Wes had set up the camera, tripods, etc all fairly quickly!  Ready to meet his daughter!

July 29th, 8:45 am: I asked for my first Popsicle of the day. Feeling pretty good (1cm dilated) and ready to get this show on the road.

July 29th, 11:30 am: Starting at 11 am,  I started reading back through Emma's birth story.  Biggest mistake of delivery day.  I instantly started comparing how far dilated I was with Emma (3 - 4cm dilated) as compared to where I was with Everly (still 1cm, maybe 2cm dilated) at the same time (11am).  With Emma, they had broke my water around 10am.  It was currently 11am and there was not even any mention of breaking my water.  I broke down into tears.  The really ugly kind of tears.  I just remember crying over and over again to Wes: "they are going to force me to have a c-section, I just know they are going to force me.".  Bottom line was in this moment, I didn't feel as if my nurse was taking very good care of me (even though I was being so nice to her!).  It may start becoming evident but I was slowly losing my mind!  She hadn't been coming in every half an hour to up my pitocin (it had been more or less around every 45 minutes).  I was barely progressing.  I really just thought she should be cranking up my pitocin more regularly.  I knew increased level of pitocin meant increased contractions/dilation.  This is where Wes stepped in and became my advocate.  By 11:30, he had called in the head nurse and told her how I was feeling- which was horrible and that I didn't want to have a c-section.  I couldn't speak my mind (for fear of hurting their feelings), but luckily, he spoke it for me.  

this is how I felt when Wes asked me to smile for the picture :)
Before I knew it, the head nurse calmed me down (assuring me over and over again that my doctor was not a fan of c-sections) and then as an added bonus stripped my membrane and more or less so to speak got the ball rolling.  From here on out, I had to laugh so as to avoid crying through my contractions.  This was the beautiful pain I had been waiting for.  This, to me, meant I was going to get to meet my daughter sooner rather than later and according to my own birth plan (even though the revised birth plan now included an induction).

Suddenly, these contractions are the real deal. And laughter (and making goofy faces) was the only way I could handle the pain.

July 29th, 1:00 pm: The head nurse and my doctor came back to check on me.  I was now 3 cm dilated (I can't remember my effacement).  I was so pleased to go from a 1 to a 3 in an hour or so.  I got more good news when the doctor told me that he would break my water.  I love having my water broken; the warm gush is just so refreshing and another indicator of how close we are getting.  

I thought that my contractions were the real deal after having my membrane stripped.  Whoa buddy, these were the most intense contractions I have ever felt.  It was at this point that I (immediately) asked for my epidural.  I had had enough.  I was exhausted.

July 29th, 1:45pm: My best friend, the anesthesiologist came to the room.  They wouldn't let Wes take any picture of the needle going into my back (understandable, but I wanted to see what it looked like), so Wes did the next best thing and took a picture of my catheter so I could remember this as the same moment I received my epidural ;).  Oh, sweet relief.  I know this is a controversial topic- but I stand on side pro-epidural.  I loved getting an epidural and don't regret it for a minute.  

This is also where things got a little scary for the first time.  Due to the pain that my body had been in combined with the instant relief due to the epidural, my oxygen levels tanked.  They hooked me up to oxygen and I slept on and off for the next 1 - 2 hours.  I remember that when I would wake up, I would say something crazy to Wes and then fall back asleep.  It was like no matter how hard I tried to keep my eyes open (and I was trying really hard), I just couldn't manage to stay awake.

July 29th, 5:00pm: 6 cm dilated!  I had a feeling that once I was 5 or 6 cm dilated, things would start to go fast.  I very vividly remember that I went from a 5 cm to 8 cm dilated with Emma in 45 minutes.

July 29th, 5:50pm: 8 cm dilated.  Getting even closer to meeting our sweet baby girl!!

This is also when the chills started.  I don't know that I can accurately describe in words how the chills felt.  They were all encompassing- every part of my body (that I could feel) was shaking.  My teeth would not stop chattering.  My arms would not stop convulsing.  More than anything, I just wanted the shakes to go away (spoiler alert: they didn't go away until about 2 hours after delivery).

July 29th, 6:25 pm: the moment that we had been waiting for, I was 10 cm dilated and could not be happier about this fact.  For the first time all day, it finally sunk in- I was not going to be forced to have a c-section. Sweet relief.  I couldn't wait to meet this baby girl of mine.  Since it was getting close to a shift change (they happen at 7am and 7pm), they brought in a new set of nurses before I could push.  Not to get too graphic bit holy pressure while I was waiting.

We took a quick picture of ourselves- ready to meet our daughter!!  Almost go time!

July 29th, 6:45pm: Much to my surprise, Everly's head came out during the second push!  Wes seriously didn't even have time to get the video camera ready.  Then, her whole body with the 3rd push! And at 6:51pm, our beautiful little girl was born.  The very first moment they laid her on me, she literally took my breath away.  Her outstretched arms, her dark brown hair, she was just so perfectly created (I am sparing you the pictures of me actually giving birth ;)).

There were so many tears of joy, as I looked at her and said "I love you so much Everly Grace; you are beautiful". And at that moment, I knew we had picked the perfect name for our daughter.

Wes cut the umbilical cord- I took the picture so it is all crazy angled.  That is the doctor actually holding the cord and Wes cutting the cord.

Then, just like that (almost too fast for me), they took her away from me to clean her up under the big bright lights.

Just look at that squished face, she really was just so beautiful.

I distinctly remember that they kept suctioning her over and over, saying that she swallowed fluid during the delivery.  She hated the suctioning.  And she let us know about it.


Maybe my favorite picture from her birthday.

Then, it was time for her to get weighed and measured- as you can tell, she also loathed this part (probably even more than the suctioning). She was a wailer right from the start.  She has opinions and she makes us aware of them from the moment she was evicted from the womb to today.

8 pounds 4 1/2 ounces of pure, squishy baby bliss.

The sweetest footprints.

This was the picture that we sent to all of our family and friends. Right here was the first time I thought she looked exactly like Emma.  I just love the newborn pinkness.

That moment that you get to see your husband holding his tiny baby in a burrito swaddle- nothing better in this world than that moment.

Look at all of that dark hair.  She was the mini-me I had been waiting for.  Nothing but pure love for this child.

We cant imagine our lives without our sweet Eberleah Grace.  Happy 1st Birthday Everly.  I love you to the moon and back.