12.24.2011

merry christmas!

From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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12.22.2011

you're three weeks old, wattsie!

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My Wattsie, you are three weeks old today! It's so hard to believe that you'll be one month old on Jan. 1! Where has the time gone?

Your daddy and I say to ourselves every day that sometimes, it feels like you've always been with us, and other times, it is surprising to look over and see a newborn on our couch. We love you so much.

Very soon, we'll be going to Alabama for Christmas. We can't wait for you to meet the rest of your family!

You have sort of developed a little "pattern." You wake up around 8 a.m., nurse, I give you a bath, you stay awake until noon, eat, nap, eat, nap, eat, nap, and then you finally fall asleep around midnight. You usually stay awake from midnight until two a.m., and then you nurse again and fall fast asleep until 8 a.m. the next morning.

We took you to the pediatrician on Tuesday. You've been a little congested lately-- especially at night-- so we were a little concerned. Dr. Laney said your lungs were perfectly clear, and your congestion was all in your head. You're doing just fine!

You really like bath time. I give you a bath every morning, and it never seems to bother you at all. I love, love, love the way you smell after your bath. It is pure bliss!

On Tuesday night, you took your first bottle from Daddy. You loved it! I was a little concerned about you nursing after that, but you haven't batted an eye! We were so thankful!

We've taken you out in the car a couple times. The pediatrician gave us strict orders that you cannot go out in public until you are eight weeks old, so you just hang out in the car while Momma or Daddy runs in to the stores. You don't seem to mind at all. In fact, I think you like it. You sleep almost the whole time you are in your car seat.

Your favorite thing is eating. You could eat all day if we'd let you!

We cannot believe how much you are growing and changing every single day. You are a constant blessing to us, and no matter how our day is going, we can take one little look at you, and we are absolutely smitten. You have stolen our hearts. We love you, little girl. We can't wait to keep watching you grow!

With all my love,
Momma

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12.17.2011

splish, splash!

We gave Wattsie her first bath on Wednesday night after her cord fell off. She was so good, and she didn't cry at all! I was so proud of her. She is the sweetest baby. We are so blessed!

Here's a YouTube video Mat made of Wattsie's first bath...


Good morning!


Good morning, world!

12.15.2011

two weeks old


Happy two week birthday, little girl. You have stolen your momma's heart.

12.13.2011

to the park

We took Ama-Watts to the park yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was too cold, so we only stayed a few minutes. I think she may have enjoyed her very first stroll in her stroller.





12.08.2011

you're one week old, wattsie!

Happy One Week Birthday, Ama-Watts! Here's a recap of your first week of life.

You were born on Thursday, December 1, 2011. You spent the night in our room most of the night except for a short one-hour stay in the nursery. The nurse brought you back so that I could feed you around 4 a.m., and you stayed the rest of the time on my chest. When you woke up on Friday, you were in such a sweet mood. You spent some time with your daddy lying on his chest. It warmed my heart to see you both together.

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Your Mumsy had spent the night at our house on Thursday night, and she overslept Friday, so she came up to the hospital around 11:00. Pop came by and hung out with us that morning, too. He brought your momma a sausage biscuit from McDonald's-- my first meal since you were born.

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I got up and got dressed, and then I got to spend some more time with my girl. Precious, precious time.

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Later in the day, Auntie D (Diana Foster) came by for a visit around lunch. Your daddy was especially happy to see D because she brought him coffee!

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Aunt Lindsey Poenie, Alli Hill, Christy Tarver, and your future in-laws (haha), Adam and Sarah Rice also came by to visit, but you were getting hungry so I didn't get to make photos of them. :(

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We got to put Ama in another outfit besides the plain white t-shirt they had put on her the night she was born. It was so good to see her in something we had bought just for her.

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Your Gran V and Lenze came by early that afternoon, too.

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Later, one of our sweet church members, Bobby Hedges, came by and brought you a little stuffed moose.

We had a good, relaxing day in the hospital. I kissed you all over, and we shared some really sweet memories together with our family.

On Saturday, the hospital let us know we could go home that day shortly after lunch. Early that morning, one of your pediatricians, Dr. Jones, came by to check on you. He said you were just perfect. Aunt Tammy, Uncle Jim, Meg, Morgan and Ellie Parker sent us a beautiful flower arrangement and a snack basket to the hospital. We are so blessed with such great family, Ama!

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I got up and got ready, and then it was time for us to get you ready to go home! You hated having your clothes changed, but you wore a beautiful dress that your Aunt Becky hand smocked-- it was the same exact dress that your momma wore home from the hospital when she was born.

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It was just after we had put your dress on that I realized that we were taking you home with us. I realized that you were ours. I, of course, started crying, and the biggest feeling of thankfulness filled my heart.

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And then, before I knew it, we were in the car and headed home.

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You slept the whole way home, and your daddy got you out of the car and took you inside. It was good to have just a few moments in the house alone-- just the three of us.

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As soon as we got in the house, I took you out of the car seat, and you and I went into your nursery. I sat and rocked you in your chair and savored the first sweet moments you and I had alone in our house.

That night, Mumsy, Pop, Gran V and Aunt Lenze all spent the night with us. I was exhausted, but it was comforting to have our family with us. You slept a ton and woke up just a few times to eat. You had not been eating very well since we got home from the hospital, but I thought it was just the adjustment time for you. I got frustrated (not with you, but with not knowing if you were hungry and just not eating or what), and I cried a couple times those first few hours. Your daddy and Mumsy were so good to always calm me down. And looking at you always calmed me down, too. You slept like a champion your first night home...when we finally got you asleep. Your daddy was on the first watch, and your mumsy slept in your nursery floor beside you while you slept in your Nap Nanny. I got up only a few times for a few short feeding sessions.

On Sunday morning, your daddy went to church and Gran V, Pop and Aunt Lenze left to go home around noon. You still were not eating well at all, and I started to get really worried. I called the lactation consultant at the hospital, and we went to see her around 3:00. She helped us out a ton, and since then, we've not had any problems at all! We just needed a little help. Cindy was a lifesaver!!

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We came back home and enjoyed a nice, relaxing evening at home...and you ate, and my heart was warmed.

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On Monday morning, we all got up early to get ready to take you to your first appointment with the pediatrician. Your appointment was at 10:30 a.m. Mumsy, Daddy and I took you. You were really good except for when we undressed you, and even then, you just cried a little. The nurse weighed you and you weighed 8 lbs., 5 oz., which Dr. Lynch was slightly worried about. We had to schedule a weight check for 48 hours later, and Dr. Lynch encouraged me to feed you every 2 hours.

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We got home on Monday and just relaxed around the house. 

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On Monday afternoon, the doorbell rang, and a florist delivered a bouquet of flowers and a picture frame from our church. We are so blessed with such a sweet congregation at Sunnyside.

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On Tuesday, Mumsy and I decided to put up Christmas decorations. She bought you the cutest little ornament for the tree for your first Christmas.

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On Tuesday, you were still eating really well, so I was really happy. You were eating about every 2 1/2-3 hours, which I thought was pretty good. I prayed the whole day that you would gain weight.

Tuesday night, you slept really well. Dad slept in our spare bedroom while Mumsy slept on the couch. Daddy hadn't been feeling well, so he slept in another room so he wouldn't get you sick. You and I braved the night alone, and we did just great. You are such a wonderful baby-- even at night!

On Wednesday, you had another appointment at the pediatrician's office, so your Mumsy and I woke up early so I could start your schedule off right. Your appointment was at 11:00. While I was getting you ready to go, I opened the blinds to make your picture and saw that it was snowing! I was so glad that you were only six days old when you saw your very first snow.

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Daddy had to get a haircut and he had plans to eat with a friend so he didn't go with us to the doctor's office. I undressed you at the doctor's office, and put you on the scale for the nurse, and you weighed 8 lbs., 11 oz. Dr. Lynch said she expected about a half of an ounce of weight gain per day, and since you had gained 6 ounces in 48 hours, she was very, very pleased. I felt such relief. You did good, girl. You did so good. :)

We had a photographer scheduled to come and make your newborn photos at the house at 2 p.m. I was worried to death that you might be a little fussy, but you were absolutely perfect during the entire one hour session. I was so proud of you. I cannot wait to see the pictures. I know you will look absolutely beautiful in them!

One of the dresses you wore in the photos was a Christmas dress I wore in my family's first Christmas card. It's another hand-smocked dress made by your Aunt Becky, and I just love it. You look so adorable in it, pretty girl. You are the apple of my eye.

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I have so loved spending this week with you. I am already seeing how you are growing and changing. You are an absolute joy to your daddy and I. We love you more than you'll ever know.

Happy One Week Birthday, little girl. You are my heart.

12.06.2011

12.01.2011

This post is a few days late, but I can promise that it's not because I've not had anything to do. My sweet little girl is here, and before time got too far away from me, I wanted to document the day she was born.

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011-- my due date--, I went to the doctor for my weekly prenatal appointment. My wonderful doctor, Dr. James Link, told Mat and I that my body was ready to deliver, and that we were just stuck in a waiting game. I was 3 cm dilated. Dr. Link gave us the option for me to have an induction. I was, in a way, afraid of making that decision, but I knew my heart just could barely wait another day to see my sweet girl. I looked at Mat, and Mat told Dr. Link that he thought an induction was best so that we could be sure Dr. Link would be there to deliver the baby. Two hours later, I got a call from the doctor's office, and my induction was scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2011, at 6:00 a.m.

The next night, my mom came into town. She arrived at our house around 10:00 p.m. We had pizza and talked, and I was so anxious, nervous and excited that I wasn't sleepy at all. I ended up going to bed around 12:30 a.m. Mat had to finish up a final for a class, so he came to bed around 2:00 a.m. Not the best situation considering the circumstances I would face the next day, but when your head is swimming and your heart is yearning, it sure is hard to fall asleep.

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. I hopped in the shower, called the hospital to make sure they had a bed for me, and we headed to the hospital. We left home at 5:40 a.m., and the thermometer on our car said it was 22 degrees outside. Mat drove me, and Mom followed us in her car.

The ride to the hospital was surreal in that I knew it was happening, I knew what was about to happen, but I felt like I was floating. The only thing I can remember was that I was extremely hungry, and ice chips just weren't cutting it.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:15 a.m. We made a few pics in the lobby.

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We headed up to Labor and Delivery on the third floor of Baptist East Hospital, and I began the check-in process. The registration nurse has a terrible tickle in her throat, and my mom offered her a cough drop. Mat and I thought it was so funny-- I'm not sure why, but we got a kick out of it.

At 6:30 a.m., I was checked in to a big, yellow labor and delivery room. I was hooked up to fetal monitors and in my gown in the hospital bed. My amazing nurse, Laura, inserted my IV, and immediately I got sick. I threw up several times, and when Laura was flushing the toilet for me, the toilet overflowed.

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At 7:00 a.m., we moved to another big, yellow labor and delivery room-- Delivery Room 1.

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At 7:30 a.m., Laura checked my cervix, and I was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Right after my check, I met Jennifer, who was the neo-natal nurse on call until 3:30 p.m. that day. (She would have been in charge of taking care of Ama-Watts if she had come before 3:30.)

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At 7:55 p.m., Laura started my pitocin (a very small dosage through my IV). Mat's dad, Chris ("Pop") came and sat with us.  

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My mom was so sweet to write down all the details of the day, because heaven knows, there's no way I would have been able to remember all of it!

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8:24 a.m.- One of my favorite things about being in the hospital was being able to hear Ama-Watts' heartbeat.

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At 8:40 a.m., Dr. Link came and broke my water. He told me the fluid was clear and that everything looked great. He told me I had two options for pain (which, of course, I did not have any at all at this point)-- I could have pain meds administered through my IV and then I could have my epidural when I wanted it. I opted for neither at the time because I was not in pain. He also checked my cervix, and I was 3 1/2 cm at the point. The pitocin really hadn't kicked yet.

At 9:00 a.m., Mat's mom, Valerie ("Gran V"), and little sister, Lenze, arrived at the hospital. I was still feeling great, too, which was a relief, but I knew that the pain would eventually come. Chris and Mat left the hospital to go grab coffee with Mat's promise that he would be right back.

At 9:30 a.m., I began to feel my contractions slightly, so Laura came in and turned me on my side to help make them stronger. It worked.

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Mat and Chris arrived back at the hospital at 9:40 a.m., and Mom received a really sweet text from my Aunt Tammy: "Ellie (my cousin's daughter) woke up at 5:30 this morning. I prayed for Whit while I rocked her back to sleep...then I fell asleep and dreamed Ama-Watts was born! I have already seen her- she is beautiful!" Mom read it to me, and of course, my eyes filled up with tears.

At this point, the pain got intense...quick. My contractions were close together, but not intense enough for Laura's liking. I fought back tears during each contraction, and I had Mat come to my side around 10:00 a.m. and told him to find Laura-- I needed something for pain. Laura suggested I go ahead and get an epidural. She called the anesthesiologist, but he was busy with another patient, so she administered Stadol at 10:15 through my IV.

The anesthesiologist got to come to my room quicker than expected, and he was in my room at 10:20 a.m. The Stadol had already kicked in, so I was light-headed and in less pain. Mat got to stay in the room  while I got my epidural, which made me feel so much better. Laura stood in front of me as I bent over on the side of my bed. The doctor cleaned by back, I felt a small sting, and before I knew it, the epidural was in, and one of the top three things about labor I feared was over...and it was not painful at all. Right after the epidural, Laura put in my catheter.

At 10:45 a.m., I was pain-free with concrete blocks for legs. Moving required assistance in every way. I had little to no sensations when I had contractions.

At 11:30 a.m., Laura gave me an oxygen mask to wear so I could get extra oxygen for Ama-Watts' heartbeat.

Dr. Link came in at noon and had the nurse put in an internal fetal monitor. Laura urged me to take a nap and get some rest to get ready to push. I could still feel Ama-Watts move a tiny bit, and I could sometimes tell I was having contractions, but I was in no pain at all. Mat, Mom, Valerie, Chris and Lenze waited in the waiting room while I "slept" for a while.

Dr. Link checked on me at 1:45 p.m. I was 7 cm and 100% effaced. Laura would come in every hour and turn me on my side, and every time she did I got nauseated. I had to put the oxygen mask back on, but Ama-Watts and I were both doing fine.

Then, at 2:40 p.m., Ama-Watts heartbeat dropped drastically, so three nurses, including Laura, rushed in to my room and put a monitor on Ama-Watts' head. Her heartbeat eventually came back up, but the monitor that was supposed to go under Ama-Watts' scalp was actually just stuck in her hair, so they removed it.

At this point, I was also having terrible labor shakes. It was so weird to not be cold really, but to be shaking that badly. Laura checked me again around 2:50, and I was 7-8 cm.

At 3:00 p.m., we said goodbye to our sweet nurse Laura and hello to my new nurse, Jodi B. We absolutely loved Laura, especially when she replied, "Uh, absolutely not" to Mat when he asked early in my labor process if I could have a coke.

At 3:10 p.m., my dad and little brother, Sawyer, arrived in Louisville and came in to my room. At first, only Dad came in because I was afraid Sawyer might be a little unnerved because I was on oxygen and hooked up to 52,000 machines. Dad thought he'd be ok, so he came back, too.

At 3:30, things started going downhill. I started running a slight fever (just under 100 degrees). Around 4:00, I felt a contraction, so I hit my medicinal button on my epidural machine. I was supposed to feel relief within 20 minutes. Jodi checked on me at 4:10 p.m., and I was 9 cm then. She turned me on my other side in the bed, and I got sick again. She handed me alcohol prep pads to sniff to ward off the nausea-- an old wives' tale, she said. It does help some!

At 4:15 p.m., I was still running a slight fever, and Jodi had to call Dr. Link. Jodi started me on an antibiotic as a precaution because of the fever.

Around 5:00 p.m., I had a small breakdown with Mat. I was so tired and felt so sickly because of the fever that I was overwhelmed at the task at hand. My mom came in and talked to me and was so encouraging, and then Jodi came in and did the same. Those two little pep talks got me through the next two and a half hours.

At 5:20, Jodi had me to sit up to let gravity help move Ama-Watts down. I got nauseated (again!) and sick (again!). About ten minutes later, I was still feeling a small amount of pain, and I was able to try to move my legs a little easier than before, so Jodi had the anesthesiologist come in and re-charge my epidural pump (at this point, I had pushed the button on my pump myself three times in an hour, which was the max). And then, of course, five minutes later, I was sick again.

At 5:50 p.m., my fever was 101.8, which was not a good thing. Jodi administered Zofran and medicine for my fever and nausea. At this point, I felt so sick I had no clue how I was going to push when it was time. Which, in normal circumstances, I would have already started pushing, because my body was ready, but because of the fever, I had to wait.

At 6:00, I napped, because I knew I would need all the strength I could muster when it was time. I woke up around 6:30, but my fever had only reduced minimally to 101.2.

Jodi and another nurse came in around 6:35, and put me on my left side. I pushed two sets (a total of six pushes) with the other nurse. They turned me on my back, and Jodi had me start pushing about 25 minutes later at 7:00.

On my first set of pushing with Jodi, she had another nurse (Cindy) go get Dr. Link. I looked at Jodi, and Jodi said I was bleeding a little and that Dr. Link needed to come look. Dr. Link came in at 7:10 p.m. and told me I was ready to push.

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After two sets of pushing with Dr. Link, he looked at me and said, "Ok, Whitney, you're bleeding a little bit, so we're going to go ahead and get this baby out."

I pushed a couple more times with the help of Mat, Mom, and about three nurses (who one of which, by the way, was saying some hilarious things, and I wish I had been in a better place to enjoy her wittiness). 

And then finally, at 7:31 p.m., Amalou Watts Alexander entered the world.

I didn't even realize that she had been born-- I didn't feel anything at all. Dr. Link let Mat cut the cord, which he said was a really neat experience.

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When she first came out, she didn't cry at all, which Dr. Link assured me was completely normal. He said they normally cry within 3-7 minutes. All I ever heard from my baby was a small peep-- almost sounded like a cat. I cried when I first heard her let out the smallest cry, which only lasted a couple seconds.

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Ama-Watts weighed 8 lbs., 14.4 oz. and was 21 inches long. She had a pretty big conehead from the way Dr. Link had to deliver her. But, she was absolutely perfect in every single way.

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They cleaned her up minimally, then brought her to me for Kangaroo Care, which is a new thing hospitals do now to allow the baby to rest on the mother's chest for the first hour outside the womb. I am so glad Baptist East does this, because it was one of the best hours of my life.

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As Ama-Watts and I had Kangaroo Care, Dr. Link took care of everything else, which took about 20 minutes.

Dr. Link was such a phenomenal doctor. I am so glad that he is my OB/GYN. I could not have asked for a better, less painful, more comforting experience than the one I had with Dr. Link. I hope he can deliver all my babies, because I know there's no one else out there that's better than he is!

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After I had Kangaroo Care with Ama-Watts, Mat held her. This was my view (I made these photos):

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And Jodi! Oh my goodness, my sweet nurse Jodi. She was so great. I cannot say enough about how much I love and appreciate this girl. She was a God-send.

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And then finally, it was time for the rest of my family to come in. Mat's parents, my dad and little brother, and Mat's sister were all there to come in and meet my little girl.

I'm sorry for the overload of pictures here, but these were the most precious moments to me in the entire world.

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After we all had time with Ama-Watts in my labor and delivery room, I was moved to the third floor to a regular room, and Ama-Watts went to the "nursery" on the fifth floor to get a bath and get all checked out. (The nursery on the third floor at Baptist East is currently being renovated, so there is a makeshift nursery on the fifth floor.)

About 45 minutes later, Ama-Watts got to come to my room. I was so relieved to see her. It was the longest we'd been apart since March of this year. My heart just ached not to have her near.

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Ama-Watts is adjusting to life outside the womb wonderfully. She is getting into a routine, and I am learning many ins and outs of being a mom. I've had a few breakdowns over the past couple days-- overwhelmed with breastfeeding, overwhelmed with worry over how her little body's doing, overwhelmed with trying to remember all that I need to remember, and overwhelmed with trying to heal my own body (which, is going wonderfully-- I am not sore at all, and I rarely have to take any pain meds-- what a blessing!).

Thursday, December 1, 2011 was one of the longest days of my life. It was filled with just a few downs and tons and tons of ups. I thank the good Lord that He sent Mat and I our daughter, and I am so thankful that He sent her to us safe and healthy. Oh, how thankful we are. Glory to God.

Mat has proved to be such a great daddy. He sure does love that little girl. He holds her and just talks and talks to her like she understands every word he says. My heart overflows with joy to see my two favorite people in the world together.

Even today as I write this, almost five days since her birth, I still cannot believe she's real. I cannot believe she's mine. I can't believe that little miracle exists. I look at her all the time and every time I do, I could just cry my eyes out. I am so overcome with love and gratefulness for this opportunity. 


My heart feels like it could burst with joy and love from the events of the past few days. Amalou Watts has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. She is absolutely perfect in every single way.

I've referenced this verse on my blog before, but now, more than ever, it applies to our lives in such a real and genuine way:

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY."
-Psalm 126:3