Friday, January 27, 2012

Liv Riley's Birth Story

Throughout my second pregnancy I had a strange hunch that I wouldn't carry the baby for 40 weeks. I had a feeling Liv would come about a week early. In October I started having contractions in the evenings. When I would rest on the couch at night watching television, I would have contractions ranging from 6-30 minutes apart. I didn't have them every night, but quite frequently. By morning, they would always be gone. On the morning of November 14th, I started having some contractions. This was the first time I had experienced them during the day. I went to school and didn't think much about them because I was teaching. I took my kids down to G/T at 2:00 and on the way back to my classroom, I felt a contraction that seemed much stronger than before. It could have just been because I was finally able to focus on what was going on with my body. No kids were around to distract me! While my kids were gone I timed the contractions and they were 12-15 minutes apart. A tiny ray of hope/fear popped into my mind. Could this be it? Could these contractions be the beginning of labor? Would I meet my little Liv Riley soon? I quickly dismissed the thoughts because I had to pick up my kids and I convinced myself I was being silly. Liv wasn't due until November 28th. I still had two full weeks left. Right after school I got word that my niece Amelia was having severe stomach/side pains and my mom was heading to Ozark to help Heather. I rushed to mom's to get Ingrid so she could be on her way. We said prayers for Amelia all the way home. I tried not to notice, but I was still feeling my contractions. I didn't mention them to my mom or sister because they already had enough to worry about.

Mom, Michelle, and I had been planning a surprise 50th birthday party for our friend Sarah on this very night. It was at our principal's house in conjunction with our monthly bunco party. Now mom was going to miss it. As the time drew closer for the party to begin, I was having more contractions. I knew I probably didn't need to go to the party, but I couldn't stand to miss it since I had helped plan it. Plus, several women were meeting at my house to car pool to the party. I thought bunco might be a nice distraction to the contractions, so off I went. At this point, I still hadn't told anyone about them.

The party turned out really well. Sarah was surprised, the decorations looked cute, and the food was delicious. While I was eating the chili, I thought to myself, if this really is real labor I shouldn't be eating this....But I ate in anyway. Around the eighth game of bunco, my contractions started becoming pretty uncomfortable. Enough to make me breathe a little differently. I was so ready to go home! But I had carpooled and didn't want to tell anyone what was going on, so I stuck it out. I timed my contractions on the way home and they were four minutes apart. I ran up the stairs to the front door and knocked impatiently for Derek to let me in. I blurted out that I was having contractions and they were four minutes apart. Needless to say, he was in shock. We sat down on the couch and I recapped my day for him. I finally admitted to myself that I was definitely in labor. There were so many things I hadn't done that I wanted to. I hadn't made Liv a welcome sign for the hospital room, hadn't finished changing up the girls' nursery, hadn't made her enough little outfits, hadn't made a painting with her name on it. In my mind the list went on and on. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and focused on what I needed to do in the present. I knew I wanted to stay at home as long as possible. So I laid down on the couch and watched How I Met Your Mother with Derek. Just like we would do on any normal Monday. But this wasn't a normal Monday and I was not able to concentrate on the show very well.

I decided at this point I needed to fill Mom in on what was going on, even though Amelia had gotten worse and they were going to take her to the E.R. After I talked to my mom I tried to lay down in my bed and sleep. I tried so hard to sleep, but I just couldn't. As I laid there a sudden wave of panic washed over me. I hadn't even been home on our last night as a family of three. I didn't get to tuck Ingrid in bed, or give her a kiss, or tell her I loved her. I raced into her room and stood over her crib. She was sleeping so peacefully. She looked so small--like a baby. She was a baby. Just barely sixteen months old and about to be a big sister. For the first time I was so sad. I cried and cried and told her how much I loved her. I told her I would be at the hospital when she woke up and Meme would be there to play with her.  Of course she couldn't hear me.  She was fast asleep, so unsuspecting.  I felt so helpless so I began to pray and God filled me with peace. Suddenly, I was ready. Ready for Ingrid to be a big sister. Ready to meet my new little angel. I could do it. Only with God's help and guidance. But I could do it. With newfound energy I woke Derek up and had him get our bags from upstairs. I started packing some things for me and some for Liv. I had to stop every three minutes when a contraction would hit. I would breathe through it and pack some more. I called mom and she told me Amelia was feeling better and she was on her way! I then phoned Meme to let her know we would be heading to the hospital soon. She came immediately to be there when Ingrid awoke. By the time we arrived at the hospital, my contractions were two minutes apart.

We checked in through the ER around 2 AM and I was wheeled up to the third floor. They were so full, I had to wait on a room! Lot's of babies being born. Mom arrived and waited with us. I got all settled into my room and the nurse came to check me. Another wave of panic. What if I was only dilated one or two centimeters??? Heather and I had been texting back and forth and I knew she was specifically praying for me to be dilated more than I was with Ingrid, so I was very hopeful. I was almost a four! I was ecstatic! I told her I was ready to walk the halls. She said I could as soon as I was hooked up to the IV for my antibiotics. I was puzzled. I didn't know I would have to be on antibiotics. Apparently I was GBS positive again. Which meant antibiotics and an extra night in the hospital. I wasn't thrilled, but knew there was nothing I could do about it. Derek walked with me and we would breathe and walk through the contractions. They began to get very uncomfortable so I started rotating between walking and bouncing on the birthing ball. Glenda arrived and brought Derek some energy food--McDonald's! The nurse came into check me again around 4 AM and I was almost to a five. I kept walking the halls, but I could only go one round at a time. I was having really awful back labor and the baby was pressing on my sciatic nerve so bad that my legs would lock up. I would have to go back to the bed to rest them. My pain was getting pretty bad at this point. Doctor Causey came in to check on me around 5 AM. He checked me and I was the same. He asked if I wanted him to break my water. I told him no. I really didn't want any medical intervention if I could prevent it. I kept walking, resting, bouncing, breathing. Walking, resting, bouncing, breathing. I was getting so very tired. I was in a lot of pain. At 6 AM I was so happy to see nurse Amanda come into my room. She was a God-send. Amanda was with me when I delivered Ingrid and she helped me so much. She came in and said Dr. Causey was going to check on me again. I was almost to a 6 and I decided to let him break my water this time. It had been slowly leaking, so there wasn't much to break, but it helped move things along. I didn't walk any after this, I was in too much pain. My contractions were super intense but kind of irregular. I would have several back to back and then a two minute span between them. Derek was my rock. Staying by my side. Breathing with me. Encouraging me. Helping me. The pain was unbearable. I kept looking at the clock straight in front of me. At one point I thought, maybe Liv will come at 8:28 like Ingrid. Please God let her come by 8:28. Please. But she didn't. I didn't think I could do it much longer. I was so tired. More tired than I've ever been. I had been awake since 5 AM the day before. I had worked all day. I had attended a party. I had labored. I was exhausted. Dr. Causey came back in at 8:45 and said I was at an 8. I should have been happy to be at an 8 looking back. But I burst into tears. I was crying so hard. I was begging for someone to help me. I was hurting so bad. I felt like my entire core was going to split open. There was no relief. Dr. Causey never left my room from that point on. He stayed. Amanda stayed. Mom stayed. Glenda stayed. Derek stayed. They encouraged me. They told me "YES you can do this!" "You are doing a wonderful job." They prayed for me. I was praying. Asking God to please let my baby girl arrive. I needed her to arrive NOW. I asked Dr. Causey to please, please help me deliver this baby because I couldn't do it much longer. He checked and said I was still at an 8. I asked if I could please push. Not because I "felt like I needed to" but because I wanted to have the baby. The pain was unbearable. Dr. Causey helped stretch me enough to push. I was encouraged the whole time. Having the support system is definitely what got me through it. It was hard. The hardest thing I've ever done. But I remembered "how" to push and I was able to make progress much more quickly this time. I was very vocal. I think it helped me push harder and longer. Amanda told me she had lots of dark hair! Liv was face up, which explained why I was having so much back labor and irregular contractions. But she turned face down right when I was pushing so I tore really badly. But I could hear my baby girl and nothing else mattered. All the pain melted away. They placed her on my chest and Derek got to cut the cord. Amanda took Liv over to get her stats and Dr. Causey tended to me. And the pain was back. I had to get stitches. Lots of them. It took a little over 20 minutes. I was so anxious to hold my girl again. I was so thankful for a healthy baby. I can't say enough good things about my doctor. He was amazing for both births of my girls. I am so grateful to him. This labor experience strengthened my relationship with Derek even more. To be able to experience something so emotionally raw with him is such a gift. We cried together a lot during this labor. We grew even more as a couple. He is my perfect partner. I'm so thankful I get to go through life with him as my husband. Liv Riley came into the world in her own perfect way. And she's been loved so much my so many already.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Goodbye Hair

I said goodbye to my long locks today. Although I prefer how I look with long hair, I just didn't have time to care for my long hair they way I should. And I definitely didn't have time to fix it. So I cut it. And colored it. I've worn it with the reddish auburn hue for about a year so I was ready for something new. Kayla colored it a nice rich brown shade with just the right amount of caramel colored highlights. I love it! And the best part if it all, I asked Ingrid if she liked mama's new hair and she said yes! Then a few minutes later she said "Pretty. Pretty mama!" melt my heart.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Big Girl

Something has happened to Ingrid while I've been home on leave. She's grown up. So much. And she's become a big girl. At 18 months old. She refers to herself as big girl. She does big girl things. I can't believe it. It makes me so sad that she's getting so old, but I'm so proud of all the things she can do. I'm amazed at home much she's changed just in the two months I've been home. I've dug through all the pics I've taken while I've been home and found some really good ones I never got to post.

Telling the sheep and wise men what to do and where to go. Uh-oh. One of the sheep got in trouble! She decided baby Jesus needed to "bouncy bouncy" like Liv does! Reading books like always. Checking out Liv's belly button. Seeing if she needs a "diaper change." So proud of Liv doing tummy time. She decides to join in on the fun. Pretty in red! A snap before church. Switched from tights to jeggings for Sunday night church. Reading a few books before going to the children's musical. I love these boots. She has become quite the fan of drawing. We mostly use chalk on our chalkboard wall, but she likes paper too. We've been implementing "time-out" the past few months when Ingrid deliberately disobeys us. Her time-out spot is between her closet door and bedroom door. She does a really good job of sitting still while I sit in front of her and explain why she's in time out. She usually says it back to me. Last night, she was in time out and she was sitting very still listening to me explain why she was there. She never cried. She just sat there listening. Then she started talking..."Ingy no play with toys. Ingy no read books. No snack. No juice. No legos. All gone." I've never said any of those things to her while she's been in time-out because it only lasts a minute. But I guess she gathered that she wouldn't be doing any of those things in time out. haha. Snacks make everything better! Her love for Violet has been rekindled. She's always loved her, but lately they are attached at the hip. She's pretty fond of her baby sister too. "Liv need drink of water? Okay!" She's wild and crazy and LOVES to dance. My big, big girl having a mini photo shoot with her dad after church.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I worked fast and furiously sewing up a storm the month of December. I was so excited/nervous to be giving so many handmade gifts this year. I say "so many" because I usually gift zero handmade items. I absolutely love making things but it's somewhat scary giving someone a gift you've made. You don't want it to be "that gift" that has BYH (bless your heart) written all over it. The gift that you have worked so hard on and love but might only be amazing to you--because you've worked so hard on it...So I've always loved making things, just not giving them out. But this year I was determined. And I started with something fairly simple. A precious elephant named Layla. I found the tutorial through Ucreate and the pattern on Cutting Corners College. I knew my nieces and daughters would like anything I did. And I am SO happy to say that Amelia promptly named hers Ephalie and brought him to church the next morning. And even took him to bed with her. :) Ingrid now sleeps with Stripes too. I love these sweet stuffed elephants with their giant floppy ears and big blue eyes.

"Ephalie" "Stripes" "Sunny" "Bluebelle"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fashion

My "fashion" lately has been leggings, Derek's flannel shirts, and these awesome foot duvets (courtesy of my sister for Christmas). I don't get out that much with Liv and when I do, finding something remotely cute and still functional for breastfeeding is few and far between. I've always said dressing yourself after you have the baby is ten times harder than dressing yourself while pregnant. A few short months ago I could throw on a dress and a cute belt and be out the door in minutes. Now I must worry about making sure I can breastfeed (and soon pump at work) without totally undressing. And of course nothing fits like it did before. Granted, I never lost all my baby weight from Ingrid since I got pregnant when she was seven months old...but I was still in decent shape and to be able to wear a normal outfit without worrying about stomach pudge spilling out from all angles. It's been two months since Liv was born and while I've lost all the weight according to my scales, I have an enormous amount of weight that's been "repositioned" to my waistline. Thus making it hard to look and feel cute. So this fashion Friday is a major thanks to my husby who told me I looked pretty Sunday and wanted to take some pics of me. I was wearing a new top from Frenzy that I love. It has a very vintage feel and can be dressed up or down. This was my attempt to show off the cute split back. Fail. You can't see it at all! And let's not forget about these super cute tights! Some of my very favorites. Thanks Derek for helping me feel a tad bit fashionable.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Very Careful

******I'm in a minor depression because I deleted my camera card yesterday thinking I had uploaded all my images to the computer. I guess it was a temporary brain lapse, because I HADN'T uploaded all the pics on that card to the computer. So they are lost forever. The main loss here is Daniel's 55th birthday party. :( All the cute pics I got of he and Ingrid in their overalls are gone. I also had some cute pics from around the house this week. Those are also gone. So for now I am backing up and posting some pics from weeks and maybe even months ago that I never got a chance to post. Because all my recent pics are gone. Sad. ******

Amelia was very excited the whole time I was pregnant to get to hold baby Liv. She kept commenting on how she was big enough to hold the baby and she would be very careful and do a good job. Heather was preparing to bring her girls down to meet their new cousin and Amelia said, "I hope baby Liv doesn't try to crawl away from me when I want to hold her!" She had no idea exactly how tiny her new little cousin would be. Unfortunately, she was a little sick when they came down so she didn't get to hold her the first time. She made sure to hold her hand through the crib bars though--very carefully! The next visit, she was well and ready to hold her baby cousin. But as soon as she got to the house she turned so serious. She was VERY CAREFUL while holding her and kept a super serious face the whole time. Liv definitely didn't try to crawl away! But Amelia said she was very heavy. haha. Throughout the holidays all the girls got to play together a lot. I loved every second of it. This is my very favorite "Elise face". Sometimes Ingrid is a loner. The next time Amelia held Liv she was much more comfortable. She was rocking her and patting her and proving that being the "big" cousin comes perfectly natural to her.