December 29, 2009

The Hospital Stay

After delivery, I was taken to the recovery room, accompanied by Jeff. After a few minutes, they brought Benjamin to us. We were overjoyed. I was able to hold Ben and nurse him for the first time there in the recovery area. He was such a good eater from the very beginning! A baby's instinct to root, latch and suck from the first moments of life is awesome. He was very calm, alert and peaceful as he lay on my chest, skin to skin. After he nursed, Jeff was able to wheel him down the hallway to meet the family who were eagerly awaiting his arrival :) As he wheeled the bassinet up to Nana, Grandpa Lee, Cici, Grandpa Jerry and Uncle Patrick, Jeff said, "Meet Benjamin William!" Everyone got a chance to see Ben and take some pictures before he got taken back into the newborn nursery to get cleaned up. Our family got to watch that happen through the window. Meanwhile back in recovery, I was feeling extremely tired/groggy, dizzy and had trouble focusing my eyes. I guess this is because of the long labor followed by surgery and the the intensive amount of drugs they pumped into me in a short period of time. After a while, they wheeled me out to the post-partum room that would become our home away from home for the next few days. I passed our family as they took me down the hallway, and was SO happy to see all those smiling faces saying how beautiful and precious our little son was.We spent 4 days and 3 nights in the hospital because of the C-Section. It seemed like a blur of activity, with doctors, nurses and techs coming in round the clock to check mom's and baby's vitals, administer meds, help with nursing, diapering, swaddling, clearing congestion, reassuring us that all Ben's little noises were normal, etc, etc. Family came to visit every day, sometimes more than once a day, which lifted our spirits and brought lots of smiles and love to the room. Jeff and I got to know our little guy more and more every minute. Some of my favorite memories of this are the skin to skin "kangaroo care", seeing a little smile come across Ben's face a couple times in his sleep, and seeing Jeff swaddle and sing to his little "Ben Burrito!"
By Sunday and Monday, we were SO ready to get home. We had our final nurse Janet who provided some comic relief on our last day ("Did you hear that? That was me!") Then family came and we made our way HOME, at long last! It was our original due date, December 28, 2009.

December 27, 2009

Labor, Surgery and Delivery

Christmas Eve started out like any other. A peaceful day, filled with the laughter of family, the warmth of a fire, Christmas music throughout the house, the smell of turkey and ham, and even a surprise snowfall outside. At about 4:45pm, my parents, brother Patrick and Jeff's parents were all gathered as we made final preparations for Christmas dinner, which was to be served in about 30 minutes. Jeff and I were sitting at our fireplace, quietly whispering with one another, imagining what it would be like to have a little baby in our house only a few short days later (still thinking we would end up being induced on 12/29).

All of a sudden, a felt a huge gush of warm fluid and looked down to find my pants soaked and puddle of water of the floor. I looked up a Jeff with my eyes wide and said "I think my water just broke!" "Are you serious?" he asked, while at the same time looking to the floor. His question was answered, and he immediately sprung into action. "Carol, Mom, turn everything off, Dad go get our bags and load up the car!" I looked across the room to my mom and said, voice quivering, "My water just broke!" I stood slowly, not quite sure what to do, fearful of getting the house all dirty on my way to our bedroom. My mom grabbed a towel, and Jeff put his arm around me and ushered me to our room, where we quickly gathered our things and got out the door ... into a Texas blizzard! It had been 80 degrees the day before, but Christmas Eve, a snowstorm rolled in and by 5pm, we were in the middle of the worst of it.We carefully made our way to the hospital, with just a bit of skidding on the snowy, icy roads. We got checked into the hospital, and were the only patients on the Labor & Delivery floor. After LOTS of paperwork, our family arrived, bringing along pillows, blankets, games, magazines and cameras, ready for the long haul :)I was only 1cm dilated and was having contractions but (thankfully!) couldn't feel them strongly yet. So we went for a walk around the floor, and that got the contractions going more! The next time they checked me around 9pm, I was 3cm, and the contractions kicked up a notch. For the next couple hours, contractions got stronger and more frequent. Jeff was an amazing support and labor coach. My parents also came in to support and offer comfort as the pain worsened.

*baby's heartrate is in the top half and my contractions are in the bottom half of the screen

*during contractions :( ...
*between contractions :) ...By about 11pm, I was 6cm, and had reached my limit on pain. So I requested an epidural, and it was in place and I was comfortable by midnight. Our family joined us again, and we celebrated Ben's birthday at the stroke of midnight :)

Then Jeff and I tried to sleep for a couple hours, gearing up for the hard labor ahead. At 3:30am, the OB checked and discovered I was a full 10cm and announced it was time to start pushing! I pushed for about an hour and made good progress - the baby was descending. Jeff could even see his head when I pushed! Unfortunately, the next two hours of pushing did not produce any additional movement. It is believed that the baby's head was face up instead of face down, thus preventing him from making the 90 degree turn he needed to make to come out. There's no way to confirm this, but apparently the only way to diagnose it is if you push for 2 hours with no progress, they conclude the baby is presented in a manner that will not enable natural delivery. So we were told by the OB the baby would have to be delivered via an "alternative method" - which when we asked, were told that would be a C-section. I was devastated because things had progressed so smoothly and I had not expected or really even thought about the possibility of a C-section. My thoughts also immediately went to the fact that it was a major surgery, and the recovery would be difficult, and the same time I would be getting to know our baby, learning to nurse and trying to learn how to be a mom. But Jeff comforted me and promised we would get through it. So they prepped me for surgery and Jeff got geared up for the OR too.
After about 15-20 minutes of operation, out came the baby and we heard Benjamin's first sweet cries. Jeff got to see him being born :) Then they took Ben over to get cleaned up and get his official measurements.After about 10 minutes, Jeff was able to bring him over to me and I got to see my baby for the first time.We took the long way around with 10 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing and finally surgery, but it was all worth it because now our precious baby has arrived healthy and strong.WE LOVE YOU BENJAMIN!

December 25, 2009

Welcome to the World, Benjamin William!

It is with great joy that we introduce to you our precious son, Benjamin William Lee!

Ben was born at 7:33am on December 25th, weighing 7lbs 13oz and measuring 21.5 in.

He is the greatest Christmas gift we will ever receive, and we are so honored to be his parents and help him to become the best person he can be. He really is The Sweetest Thing.

December 16, 2009

Baby Pix

We are SO ready to meet this baby, and we're really curious to see what he will look like! To get some clues, we went in search of our baby photos.

Here's Jeff at 1-day old:And here's me at 1-day old:
We'll have to post these again in a couple weeks next to a newborn picture of our SON and see just how much he resembles us as babies :)

Just for fun, here are a few other pictures of Jeff and me as babies ...

December 15, 2009

T-minus Two Weeks and Counting

Yesterday marked two weeks til our due date, and today marks two weeks until our scheduled induction - unless baby decides to come sooner! So - as hard as it is to believe - this means that no matter what, we will meet our angel baby in two weeks or less. Ahhh!!! We can't wait! The crazy thing to think about is that he could literally come any day now. Jeff and I have our little lists and plans, but baby doesn't know how to read yet, and he doesn't care much for to-do lists anyway, so we'll be working off of his schedule for D-Day :)

We had our 38-week appointment yesterday, and things are progressing. I am 60% effaced and .5cm dilated. Which means ..... drumroll please ..... not too darn much ;) Truthfully, I am releived that things are progressing even a little bit because it means my body is responding the way its suppossed to at this point in the pregnancy. But it's not an indication of when baby is going to come. As the Dr. left the room, he said, "See you next week, if not sooner!". The hunch is we'll be seeing him for our regular weekly visit again next Monday, but the thought that the next time we see him I could be in labor is insane to think about!

I started maternity leave last week, and we have been taking full advantage of the new-found time ... taking some baby-prep classes at the hospital (Baby Care 101, Infant CPR and Breastfeeding - they were all so helpful!), packing the hospital bags, washing newborn size baby clothes, blankets, towels, etc., further unpacking and settling into the house, decorating the nursery (the furniture finally came!!!), Christmas shopping, and trying to still take some time to relax and enjoy each other. Everyone says they can't remember what life was like before baby, and we are determined to remember and appreciate these last few days before parenthood.

I will post pix shortly ...

December 8, 2009

Brother in Arms

My brother Colin is a 1st Lt in the Marine Corps, flying the AH-1 Cobra. He deployed for the first time to Afghanistan a few weeks ago. It seems like not so long ago, we were little kids building forts with our youngest brother Patrick, dressing up as Supergirl and Superman, playing on the swings, hiding underneath clothing racks in department stores and generally having a classic, all-American childhood.

Now he's all grown up, and we couldn't be more proud of him. The little brother I once held in my arms and defended on the playground is the one protecting us and our country. He has committed himself to being a brother not just to me, but to our entire country.

The truth is, I think Colin was born to be a Marine. He wanted to climb the highest trees, jump off the tallest heights, dive into the deepest end of the pool since he could climb, jump and swim... err, jump. Nevermind swim - he figured that out after he jumped in. Well, now he is voluntarily and with honor entering the Afghan war zone to fight an enemy that would like nothing more than to destroy us. Colin and his squadron are stationed in Southern Afghanistan - the Helmand province - which is the the heart of the current Taliban insurgency. Please keep him and his fellow soldiers in your thoughts and prayers as they represent and fight for our country's best interests here and abroad.

December 7, 2009

9 Months, Full Term and Delivery Plans

I'd like to think I was a really good pregnant lady for about 8.5 months. Then 9 months happened and things started to change. Back aching. Feet swelling. Trouble sleeping. Knees hurting. Short of breath. Carpel Tunnel in my hands. Face puffy. Feeling as big as a whale. I am writing this not to complain but rather to document the realities, lest I get that "pregnancy amnesia" I've heard about - where you forget all the bad things about pregnancy so you have unbridled enthusiasm about doing it again. Truly, I am really more focused on how incredibly blessed we have been for a healthy, uneventful pregnancy up through this point. I have felt great, moved well, and been healthy throughout a majority of this pregnancy, and considering the incredible miracle of life growing inside me, that has been a truly awesome blessing.

36 weeks marks the start of weekly doctor visits now. We went last Monday and again today. Today is 37 weeks, which I recently learned is actually considered full term. Wow - to think the baby could come anytime now and be considered "fully cooked" is very cool. I had started feeling some cramping periodically in the last week or so, so I was hopefully that some change had taken place. I was 20% effaced last week and 40% effaced this week, so that's progress. Both last week and this week, the doctor said of course it's possible for the baby to come anytime now, but he thinks I will still be pregnant "for a few weeks". Those words echo in my head. On one hand, I'd like to get un-pregnant and meet this little guy. But mostly, I realize that every day in there hopefully means more health and growth for the baby - up to a certain point.

Which brings me to another topic - induction. If the baby hasn't decided to greet the outside world by his due date of 12/28, we will have an induction scheduled for the following day, Tuesday, 12/29/09. Jeff and I both think it will come down to induction. But, maybe this babe will give us the first of many surprises and come before then. Either way, our precious son should be here within 3 weeks of tomorrow. WE ARE SO EXCITED!

December 1, 2009

Reflections on Pregnancy

Things I Love about Being Pregnant:
- Feeling little precious move inside me
- Getting a ridiculous amount of foot and back massages from the hubs (thank you love!)
- Having strangers be extra nice, or smile knowingly
- Having our little guy with me at all times, safe, secure, well-nourished and content, with no extra maintenance required (changing, feeding, sleeping, bathing, strolling)
- Having family time with Jeff talking to baby in my tummy
- The baby bump! I used to put a basketball or pillow in my shirt as a little girl when I dreamt about being pregnant and a mom someday ... now it's here for real! Every time I walk past a mirror, I have to double-check to make sure that really is MY silhouette there :)

Things I Am Looking Forward to When I Get Un-Pregnant:
- Meeting our angel baby, of course :)
- No more heartburn!
- Sleeping on my right side, or - gasp! - my back
- Easily getting in and out of chairs
- No more blood draws
- Having my body back
- Having more energy (err, maybe not for the first month or two, right?!)
- No swollen feet, ankles, legs and hands