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

2 comments:

  1. Oh, sweet friend. So much that I love about this post. Like how your sweet MOm documented everything so meticulously, and the dozens of pictures that make the rest us feel like we were there, too! She's a beauty, Whitney...but that doesn't surprise me one bit. Enjoy every minute of your little one this holiday season!

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  2. Whitney, I loved reading this post...almost makes me want to have another one! The first few weeks (and sometimes months) are hard but babies are such blessings. I'm proud of you two! Enjoy your new life as a mommy.

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