Sunday, February 22, 2015

Henley's Birth Story

Henley's official due date was December 14th. At 36 weeks, I went into my appointment and was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Considering I was totally convinced that she was going to be early, this made me super excited! I thought that I would for sure make progress each week. Well, I went in each week after that and there was never any progress. Believe me, I was doing absolutely EVERYTHING recommended to go into labor and nothing was working. At 37 weeks, my doctor asked if I wanted to go ahead and schedule an induction. I knew I didn't want Henley to be born too close to Christmas, and she recommended at least getting on the schedule. If I got on the schedule, I guaranteed that my doctor would deliver her and that I wouldn't have to wait until the last possible day to get in. I was a little hesitant because I really wanted to experience the process of going into labor and all that goes with it, but I was also so so ready to meet my baby girl. So, I went ahead and scheduled myself to go into the hospital on the night of the 14th and planned to have Henley on the 15th.

I continued to do absolutely EVERYTHING to try to get Henley to get here before the 15th! I was convinced that she was going to be early, but she is exactly like her mommy and daddy and is so very stubborn. She has a mind of her own and would not do what I wanted!

I thought Sunday, the 15th, would be the longest day of my life, but we occupied ourselves pretty well, and the day flew by. We were scheduled to check-in at 8:00 PM, so we left the house around 6:30. We packed up the car (it looked like we were going on vacation) and headed to PetCo to drop off our dog, Baylor. Then, we went to Jason's Deli for dinner. The one near our hospital has the best soft serve, so it was a no brainer that we would go there before I couldn't eat for FOREVER. I cannot say enough about how great our hospital was. We got there a little before 8:00 and they immediately walked us to our room and got everything situated. I changed into my gown, the nurse put the baby's heart monitor and the contraction monitor around my belly and I laid down in my bed. The Cowboys played that night, so we obviously watched the game before calling it a night and trying to get some rest before our big day.

This is me right before we checked in at the hospital. 
I had a bit of a rough night. Nothing horrible, but I felt like I constantly had to pee and in order to do so, Ben had to get up and unplug my IV and the two monitors that were around my belly from the machines, walk me to the bathroom and wait for me to get done. I felt horrible constantly waking him up. I also could not get comfortable. If I finally found a position that I fell asleep in, the nurse would lose Henley's heartbeat and I would have to move. Apparently, Henley was super particular...she hated it if I was not on my left side. I constantly had to move back to it in order for her heartbeat to register well on the monitor. I spent most of the night staring at the clock, hoping that I had fallen asleep for more than 30 minutes and my doctor would be in soon to break my water. You can imagine the night went by pretty slow!

Finally, around 8:00 AM they came in with Ben's torture for me! This meant that they would be checking me soon and I was just praying that they would break my water. By this time, I felt like I was constantly going to pee on myself. It didn't matter how many times I got up to go to the restroom, I immediately had to go again. My doctor got there around 9:00 AM, checked me, I was at 2 cm and told me that we were going to "commit" to December 15th and break my water. I heard from many people that this would not be a pleasant experience, so I was a bit nervous about the crochet needle! The moment she broke my water, I felt so much relief. It really didn't hurt, but the rush of water was definitely not pleasant. It seemed like she just kept reaching around in there and would break something over and over again. I could not believe the amount of water or whatever it is that flooded my hospital bed. Is it weird to anyone else that they just put towels down and then move them? It seems so unsanitary!

After she broke my water, I immediately went to 3 cm. My doctor watched my contractions and said they were super intense and close together without Pitocin, so they only did a very small dosage. Apparently I was having contractions all night, but I didn't feel them at all. Once I started having the intense contractions, I could definitely feel them. Holy moly! I don't even know how to explain's just like this enormous pressure that takes your breath away. On top of the contractions, I was beyond starving at this point and wasn't allowed to eat anything. All I wanted to do was throw up. Ben had gone out to the waiting room to tell his family hello while I was having a contraction and I had to text him, ask him to come back and hand me the trash can immediately. I never ended up throwing up, but I absolutely hated this feeling. At 4 cm, I decided I was ready for the epidural.

Me and my ice chips...the only thing I could "eat."
I have gotten so many questions about the epidural. It took about 30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get to my room. They sat me up on the side of my bed, Ben standing in front of me, holding my hands, and the anesthesiologist behind me. Getting the epidural didn't really bother me. It really wasn't painful, it was just a little bit uncomfortable. I could feel everything that was going on and it was just odd. The weirdest part to me was that you can feel the medicine. It took just a little while, and it was a little stronger on my right side, but once the epidural was going, I felt so much better. It may sound gross, but it was actually kind of nice to have a catheter. I have had one before and I absolutely hated everything about that experience, but this time, it was just nice not to have to get up every 2 seconds to go to the bathroom or feel like I was going to wet myself. I finally got to relax and rest a bit.

Once I had the epidural, I didn't mind if family came in for a few minutes to say hello. Ben's family came back and said hi and so did my parents once they got there. I got checked about every 45 minutes or so, I was always progressing, but slowly. Ben made a playlist for labor, I napped, we texted people with updates, and we did a Bible study together. The nurse would come in and reposition me in order to help me progress and keep Henley's heartbeat strong. They still struggled to get a strong heartbeat if I was not on my left side. When I got to 8 cm, they sat me straight up, hoping she would really drop. She definitely did! I told the nurse it felt like I had to go to the bathroom and she said that was exactly what they wanted to hear. Ben and I got so excited! We were ready to go. This was at about 3:45 PM. His parents came back one last time and then my parents did too. I loved talking to my mom and dad at this point. I just wanted their comfort and to see their excitement. They both gave me a kiss on the forehead and my mom told me that she hoped Henley would be as beautiful as me. When either of my parents tell me I'm beautiful, it just melts my heart. I hope I make Henley feel this way one day. When they left, I was so ready to meet my little girl.

My parents and me
The nurse came back in and told us she wouldn't check me for another 30 minutes...ugh! We were so ready! She finally checked me and I was ready to go! She told Ben to grab my foot and she would grab the other. Ben and I both looked at each other and he said, "aren't I supposed to put on the blue stuff?" She told him no, so he said, "I thought this would be more dramatic!" We both did! With just Ben and the nurse in the room, I started pushing.

After the first push, the nurse noticed that Henley's heart rate dropped dramatically. She put me on oxygen until my next set of pushes and watched the heart rate come back up. After the next set of pushes she looked a bit more concerned. She said that her heart rate was continuing to drop as I pushed, and she wanted to go ahead and call my doctor. She called another nurse in there and while I was taking more oxygen, on my left side of course, the nurse called my doctor. I did one more set of pushes before my doctor got there, then took more oxygen. Once she got there, she told me that I was either going to have to push as hard as I could to get Henley out in no more than 2 more sets, or we were going to have to do a C-section. She also got out the vacuum because she thought we needed it to help. SIDENOTE: When my nurse checked me for the last time, she noticed an increase in swelling and thought that I might be having an allergic reaction to latex. Without getting graphic, lets just say I was incredibly swollen down there and that was also making it harder for Henley to crown. 

I was super nervous about using a vacuum, so I pushed as hard as I possibly could for another set, took oxygen and then pushed my heart out one last set. Henley's head came out and my doctor pretty much finagled her out the rest of the way. I was so so grateful for how wonderful she was. I started pushing at 4:35 and at 5:01, Henley was born. Ben and I were immediately in love! Henley looked exactly like she did in her 3D/4D sonogram and was absolutely beautiful! Henley weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 21 inches long.

After a pretty intense delivery, we had one more placenta wouldn't deliver. Apparently it is supposed to deliver within 30 minutes, but at the 45 minute mark, mine still wouldn't deliver. My doctor kept massaging my belly, but prepared me that we might have to do a D&C. I was sad when she told me we might have to have a C-section only because I had labored all day, and then I was sad again when she said this because I had pushed as hard as I could and it seemed like I just couldn't avoid a surgery. My doctor called the anesthesiologist in and asked about a relaxant to help. He gave me something to relax my uterus and just at about the hour mark, my placenta finally delivered. After this, I felt so weird. I told Ben I felt like a major drug addict because I was shaking so bad. They ended up putting two heated blankets on me, and I had to wait in the room for about another 2 hours. They didn't want to move me to recovery for a while because of how much blood I lost. At this point, I knew our families were dying to see Henley, so I asked if they could come to the delivery room. My nurses allowed them to and they all fell just as much in love with Henley as we did.

The rest of our hospital stay was great. We stayed until Wednesday due to the blood I lost, Ben and I were both thankful for the extra day there. Again, I cannot say enough amazing things about the hospital where I delivered. My nurses and doctors were amazing! I still cannot believe Henley is here! She is absolutely perfect! 

Our little Christmas present!

My Papaw and my mom

Getting ready to head home

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

i am a mommy!!

How is my sweet baby girl 7 weeks old? Time is absolutely flying and I am trying to soak up every second!

Henley Rae Clark was born on December 15, 2014, at 5:01 PM. She weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz., and was 21 inches long. How in the world was she in my belly?! I'll do another post on her birth story, so for now I just want to tell you all about Miss Henley and show you lots of pictures.

Henley has been a super easy baby so far. I have told many people that she is either going to surprise us with a growth spurt or we are going to be in big trouble with baby #2! Ben and I were both a little sleep deprived from they day we came home, December 17th, until Christmas Eve. On the night of Christmas Eve, we decided to try swaddling again - do not ask me why we thought she didn't like it, I have NO IDEA! It did the trick! She had been waking herself up throughout the night, but when we took her newborn pictures, I noticed that when she would start crying, if we held her arms down, she would go back to sleep and calm down. Swaddling has done wonders! Henley only woke up once for me to nurse that night, and she has continued to sleep like a champ ever since. I usually nurse her around 10:30 or 11:30 before we go to bed. Then, she'll wake up around 3:30 or 4:30 and again for the day around 8:30 or 9:00. It is glorious!! I'm crossing my fingers that she's like her daddy and nothing will keep her from her precious sleep...not even a growth spurt!

I am so blessed to be able to stay home with Henley until after Spring Break. I'll head back to teaching and coaching on March 16th, so until then, I am enjoying every second with Henley. The two of us have started to fall into a bit of a routine and I love it. She is usually up in the morning and we play on her mat. She talks and smiles at all of the little critters hanging above her! She stays awake until she needs to nurse again and then takes a great nap. This is when I generally get ready for the day and either do things around the house or we run errands while she sleeps. In the afternoons, I nurse her and then we head to the park or out on a run around the neighborhood. I love taking her to the park and running with her around the trail! Then, we come home and do some things around the house, make dinner and wait for daddy to get home. I love our days together!

 I read that around one month, she would start "talking" and smiling on purpose and getting her own little personality. This all happened right on cue. We have started to spend a lot of time on her mat in the mornings and evenings, because Henley has started to stay awake much longer during these times. A couple of days before she turned one month, she started reacting to all of the hanging toys, their noises and the music playing. She would coo and smile at them, so I started talking to her more and have gotten lots and lots of smiles! It just keeps getting better - now that she is awake more, we get to interact with her and see her sweet personality. I could seriously talk to her all day! Her gummy grin just melts my heart!

I have always had a deep desire to be a mom and often said that I felt like God truly created me to be a mom. It is everything I hoped for and more! I could not love Henley any more and I am so thankful that she is ours! I am so not ready for her to get any in the world is she 7 weeks already?!...but I look forward to every stage of life with my Henley Rae. I already think about the traditions we will create with her and all of the activities I can't wait to watch her be a part of. For now though, I am going to soak up every second with her and do my best to live in the moment. Have I told you that she is the best yet, because she is?! She is just so perfect!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Total Honesty

Last week, for what might have been the first time ever, I was completely honest with someone when they asked me "how are you doing?" The past couple of weeks have been the hardest weeks of my life, and when asked this question I couldn't hide behind a fake smile, I simply responded "Okay." Truth is, I'm not even sure I'm "Okay." I feel like my world is falling apart and I may just lay down and crumble right along with it.

A little over three weeks ago, on Monday, September 29th, my grandma, Mamaw as we like to call her, checked into the hospital for a triple bypass. The surgery went well and throughout that week she was recovering nicely. That Friday, she started to have trouble breathing and after having a CAT scan, the doctors found that they left a sponge behind during the bypass. The sponge was irritating her lung and causing it to fill with fluid as well as causing her diaphragm to be elevated. They had to do emergency surgery that night to remove the sponge and then drain her lung. I was at the hospital when they took her back for surgery and Mamaw was so scared. She didn't think things "looked good." We were all there to reassure her that this was a simple procedure, but we were all scared too. Mamaw has never done well with anesthesia and was finally coming out of the fog from Monday. Not to mention, she had just had a major major surgery and was having to go back under very quickly after. I'm not really sure of all the details, but when they went to put Mamaw under on Friday night, her heart slowed down enough to where they had to administer CPR to get her breathing and her heart beating normal again. It only took a minute or two, but for an 80 year old, this can still be significant. They proceeded with the surgery afterwards.

On Saturday morning when they took her off all sedation, she would not wake up. We waited and waited all day for her to wake up and although she barely lifted her eyelids, she would not come to. It seemed to us she was just taking a while to come off of all the medication. Then, she started having facial tremors. It seemed her brain was irritated and the tremors would increase as she was stimulated. This was concerning the doctors. On Sunday we were all prepared for the worse. A neurologist came in and did an EEG and found there to be brain activity and no sign of swelling or significant trauma. We were beyond relieved and filled with hope again. They sedated her again, allowing her brain to "rest," with plans to take her off sedation after 24-48 hours. On Tuesday morning she was taken off sedation and we hoped that she would soon wake up. Again, we waited and waited. Come Wednesday, we were told that things were not looking good. We were devastated. This was not supposed to happen. The doctors worried more with each day that passed that she did not wake up.

We continued to wait and as Mamaw seemed to show little signs of progress everyday, we continued to hope. She might move her toes one day, then finally respond to pain in her hands, then move her arm and begin to open her eyes. Here we are, three weeks after her second surgery and we continue to wait.

Today, the doctors removed the ventilator. Mamaw is breathing on her own and she is opening her eyes more and more, but has yet to give a cognitive response. No one will ever be able to convince me that she cannot hear us when we are talking to her. I know she knows that we are in the room and talking to her, but she doesn't seem to be able to communicate back. So, we continue to wait.

I cannot stand the thought of not having my Mamaw around. She has been the hub of our family for so long. Almost all of our traditions revolve around her (and her cooking) and there is no one we want more at every event, every shower, every family function. I have missed talking to her from the moment she went into this self-induced coma. I have listened to her voicemails to hear her voice again and I yearn everyday to hear her sweet giggle. Mostly I think about my sweet Henley. Oh how I want her to meet Mamaw. I want Mamaw to hold her and to poke her nose like she does with every baby. Yes, I selfishly want Mamaw to meet by baby girl, but mostly I want my baby girl to meet Mamaw. I want her to know that Mamaw is one of the most special people that she would ever know. The thought of life going on without Mamaw just seems odd and wrong. How can she not be here? This wasn't supposed to happen.

Every time I look at Mamaw in her hospital bed I can only think "this is not right." How could we have gone up to her house the Saturday before her surgery and sat and talked with her and now she can't even communicate with us?

I know I am one of the lucky ones to have gotten to know my Mamaw and to have spent so much time with her. Mamaw taught us all to love so well. She loved us all something fierce and we loved her the same in return. She adored my Papaw and he still adores her. I will miss the days of hearing him call her "Madame." God broke the mold when he made Kitty Ruth Silk.

As we continue to wait, we continue to pray for a miracle, but are also resting in the fact that Mamaw knows the Lord and we have to trust him. If a miracle is not in his plan, we will hate it, but we will know that she is in a much better place. I can't say that I have a peace about her not being here, but I will trust my God. It would be so easy to praise him if Mamaw came back to us, but we will continue to praise him no matter what.

I love you Mamaw. I'm not sure I will ever adore or love someone the way I do you. You are the most amazing grandma. I will miss and think of you every single day. You will be the person I talk about for the rest of my life. You will be a part of the stories I tell my children. My heart will ache every single day for you, but I will look forward to seeing you again one day in heaven.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail 
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand 

And I will call upon Your name 
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters 
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves 
When oceans rise 
My soul will rest in Your embrace 
For I am Yours and You are mine 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders 
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me 
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander 
And my faith will be made stronger 
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name 
Keep my eyes above the waves 
My soul will rest in Your embrace 
I am Yours and You are mine 

-Oceans by Hillsong United-