Monday, April 25, 2011

Little Miss Hazel

We are happy to announce the arrival of:

Hazel Ann Stoddard
Born April 16, 2011
1:13 p.m.
7 lbs 16 oz
21 inches

She is now almost 10 days old (where did it go!) and we can hardly imagine life without her. She is a very sweet baby and now that we are working through our feeding issues, she is even better!

The kids love having her around. Sarah and Eliza hold her every chance they get. Samuel likes to look at her, and David is pretty oblivious to her other when he points to her and says "baby!" I think he likes having her around. No jealousy issues (yet!).

She still sleeps most of the time, but wakes up a bit to show us that she still needs us.

I may be biased, but I think she's awfully cute...and so part of our family. It is always amazing to me how familiar they are when these little ones get here.

For those interested in all the "details" of her birth (it is a little long), read on... For those who would rather not read it all, there's no more pictures, but thanks for stopping by!

Having 3 of my 4 kids come 10 days early, I figured this baby would come anywhere between April 5th and 9th. Though my bet was either on the 8th or 10th. All of these dates passed without any sign of baby coming. I went to my weekly Dr. visit on the 15th so ready to not be pregnant anymore. I was barely dilated to a 2, but asked my Dr. to strip my membranes hoping that would spur something along.

I was planning on a VBAC delivery, praying that I would not have to have another Cesarean. I didn't think my family could handle the recovery (or me either for that matter!)

The rest of the day went pretty normal, I was just super tired, but that was normal too. That night at about 7:00, we were just getting dinner ready when David was being a bit grumpy. I picked him up and was holding him, talking to Jeff, when all of the water broke. Not just a trickle, but a big gush. I grabbed the phone and called the Dr office, only to find out that they had another doctor covering for them that night...urgh!

We headed over to the hospital. I was so nervous. Last time my water broke, I ended up with a C-section. I was praying all would go well. I didn't have any contractions until I got up to the Labor and Delivery room. I hoped it would progress quickly. I was happy though that labor was starting on its own.

All night long, we worked through contractions, nothing really getting any regularity. I felt like I was having transition contractions fairly early on, but I think their intensity was heightened because my water had broken and there was no cushioning.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, baby's heart rate dropped to 90. They came in, put me on oxygen, and moved me around and her tones went back up (phew!). The anesthesiologist came in and talked to us about the possibility of a cesarean...had us sign the form, etc. He said he was superstitious though and if we signed it, chances were we wouldn't end up in the OR again. I prayed that he was right.

After more hours of labor, walking around, bouncing on the ball, working through still-irregular contractions, I had finally progressed to a 7. I was so happy to hear it, as previously
I had gone from a 7 to delivery in less than an hour. But, the cervix was behind baby's head and she still had to descend further.

I had mentioned to the nurses when I arrived, that Dr. Lennon (my awesome and amazing OB) might come in if they called him. They couldn't get a hold of him the night before, but by the morning, they did call again and he said he would come in...hooray! After being in labor all night, I felt revived with new energy, knowing that Dr. Lennon can work miracles.

That morning change of shift, brought more than one miracle. My labor and delivery nurse changed and the one that came in was absolutely amazing. She helped me into positions to get the baby to come down, and suggested so many different laboring techniques and positions.

Dr. Lennon came and assessed everything, determined that the baby was semi-posterior (hence all the horrible pressure and pain in my back during contractions) and figured that I needed a small drip of pitocin to help my exhausted uterus be more effective with contractions. After he checked me though, and tried to turn baby a bit, she rolled onto her cord and her heart rate dropped...dramatically.

Back on oxygen, changing positions, and having medicine pumped into my IV, I was almost sure that I was headed for another C-section. Dr. Lennon and my nurse, however stayed pretty calm. After what seemed like forever, her heart rate regained its normal rhythm and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I think with a different doctor and a different nurse though, they would not have been so patient.

We had to wait for baby to regain a normal rhythm for 30 minutes before we could start pitocin. The nurse told us that babies are really resilient and can handle holding their breath for about 5 minutes at least a couple times. Her heart rate kept taking dips over the next little bit, but my fabulous nurse kept changing my position to keep her heart rate up. She also gave me an amnio transfer to give baby a little more cushioning, which seemed to help.

I had Jeff give me a blessing as every contraction hurt so bad and we were worried about baby's heart rate. After that blessing, her heart rate stayed stable and we were ready to get things really going. I never asked for an epidural, as one of the side effects is lowering blood pressure, which can lead to fetal distress. I think that the epidural was a huge contributing factor to my Cesarean last time, so I was determined to have the baby as naturally as possible to avoid complications.

They administered small amounts of pitocin and within a few minutes I think I might have asked for a less painful way of doing things if I would have had time to think about it. But every ounce of my energy was focused on getting through each contraction. Jeff was an awesome coach and I think I must have at least bruised his hands (though he won't admit it) from squeezing them so hard. My nurse had me up on my hands and knees, sitting on the ball, leaning against the bed, and all kinds of positions to try to alleviate the back labor. I think that hour and a half was the most painful and physically exhausting thing I have ever been through.

I began to feel pressure in the right place and I got back on the bed, ready for delivery, I was finally stretched to a 10 and the baby had dropped into position, at last.

Pushing is always harder than I think it will be, I was already so exhausted, it took all of us...Jeff, my nurse, Dr. Lennon, and part of me (I almost remember it as kind of an 'out of body' experience) to deliver, but 4 pushes later and she was born.

I was so happy to hear that first cry. All the nurses in the room oohed and aahed about how cute she was. I just looked at Jeff and he said, "She's OK." The next thing everyone noticed was that there was a knot, a true knot in her umbilical cord. One of the nurses commented that she was truly a miracle baby. I agree.

Soon, I got to hold her and I just remember how beautiful she is and thinking that every bit of that 18-hour labor was worth it.

The next day I got up and I could walk, I wasn't in much pain, and I was almost normal! So different from my last delivery where it was weeks and weeks before I felt like I would be normal again.

I'm so glad I had my great doctor, my wonderful nurse, and my amazing husband to help me through that labor and to keep me out of the OR. Jeff commented that I probably needed to be in labor all night so that we could get the right team for the hard part and the delivery. I agree.

The horrible labor is starting to fade into somewhat of a bad dream. I'm convinced that the Lord helps us forget how hard it is, so that we will have more kids. That's good though, as I don't think we're done.

Little Miss Hazel is here, she is healthy and happy and so perfect in every way.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Show Off

The last few months around here have been a bit crazy to say the least. In addition to getting ready for baby (whom we are still waiting for), in the last 2 1/2 months we have:
  • Finished a Master's Degree. Ok, Jeff did most of the work (his degree, not mine), but still...after 8 years, it's nice to be done!
  • Put Granite in our kitchen and 2 bathrooms.
  • Did a tile backsplash in the kitchen.
  • Refinished the banister...a beastly job that took way longer than it should have.
  • Put in New Carpet (which felt an awful lot like moving).
  • Researched and put an offer on a lot in San Diego (and still researching it!).
  • Continued daily homeschooling, piano lessons, and life in general.
But, I'm writing this post to SHOW OFF some of my nesting list items!!

I was very excited to make the Chenille Blanket. At a rare trip to Fancy Tiger in Denver, I fell in love with the Amy Butler Soule Blossoms Home Dec Fabric and chose this piece. I know, I know, it's for a baby girl, but my favorite color is blue!

The hardest part was sewing the endless lines....ugh. But soon it was done. The Olfa Chenille Cutter is a MUST for this project though.

I'm not sure I absolutely love how the colors I chose for the back flannel look. If I had to do it over again, I think I would have done a more monochromatic scheme, or at least colors next to each other on the color wheel rather than the contrasting pink/green/blue. But, I'm sure it will be loved and I will love it more and more with each wash!

The Diaper pail liners are probably the most boring of the projects, but for those of us who love cloth diapering know that this can be fun too. I made some before out of flannel, but decided to make two more with some PUL fabric. Awesome fabric, but kind of a pain to sew with. I got the fabric at the super-great Denver Fabrics (JoAnn started selling PUL, but it's all thin and weird-feeling, ew).

My newborn cloth diapers just arrived the other day (yippee!) so after I go through those 2 packages of disposables, I should be up on my feet enough to go back to cloth.

The Flannel Tie Blanket is one of those baby basics for me. My awesome aunt taught me how to make them when I was pregnant with Sarah, and I've made one for each of my babies (though some didn't get theirs until after they arrived). I saw this flannel at Denver Fabrics and I thought it was so and brown, how could it go wrong!

This blanket is SO easy...For a crib-size, it takes 1 2/3 yards of fabric for the front, back and batting (I used 6 oz polyester batting to make it a little more fluffy). Pre-wash the flannel and then lay the fabrics right sides together, smooth and trim fabric so both pieces are exactly the same size. Lay batting on top of fabrics, trim to fabric size, and pin. Sew all 3 layers together (with batting on the bottom) leaving a 10" opening on one of the ends. Turn inside out and slip-stitch opening closed (sorry, a little hand sewing). Tie blanket with yarn making sure edges are straight...ta da! Soft and cozy for baby.

The blessing day bonnet was really fun to make. It came together really quickly and was a very fun project. I can't wait to try it on the little one, though it may be a little big for awhile, since I made it in 3-6 month size.

And...if you've made it this far hopefully you will be rewarded with this last favorite. I saw this pattern awhile back and bought it (which is something I rarely do since there are so many awesome "freebies" out there). I like it because it is both classic and modern all in one quilt! The pattern has been sitting, but I decided it was the one to use for the baby quilt. I've done the nursery in Amy Butler's Midwest Modern pink and orange fabrics as well as her Okra quilter's solid (the exact match) and had a bit left over. (Nursery post will come soon, when it gets put together).

The front just looks so neat and I added a bit of a "scrappy" back using the 6 fabrics I used in her nursery decor.

I just love this quilt. It has it's mistakes--like a big pucker in the back and a few tension problems--but I kept telling myself that it will look OK when washed, trying to put my perfectionist self to rest (which it does look better). I bound it in this fun fabric, which makes it look almost stripey in places (I love stripey binding!). It was unintended but I love the result.

So, that's what is done of the Nesting List thus far. I'm hoping this baby isn't waiting for me to get all the items done before she gets here, though it has been fun to take afternoons off for projects the last few weeks thinking that she will come "any day."

Come soon little one, mama is ready.