Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pictures of Camille

This picture was taken about 10 minutes after my water broke. We are walking out the door to go to the hospital. I may be having a contraction which would explain the forced smile. Our last picture as a family of three...

And poof! Ten hours later, the baby magically appears.

This picture was taken around 2:30 a.m. when my parents could finally come back and see us. I'm impressed they hung in there--they are NOT middle-of-the-night party people. Come to think of it, neither am I.

When Reid was born and taken to the nursery for his first bath both sets of grandparents and my sister stayed outside the window to watch his first bath. When we dropped off Camille at the nursery for her bath it was 3:30 a.m. No one was at the hospital with us. We were exhausted. This is the one picture that was taken before Brian and I left our sweet girl in the nursery. Let the younger sibling complex begin! (She was back in my arms within an hour--I'm not a horrible mother!)

Reid seeing Camille for the first time around 10:00 a.m. on her birthday.

Our family of four! Can you see Camille's face? Nope. Did we buy Reid's happiness with a Matchbox firetruck? Absolutely.

Happy Birthday, sweet Camille!

Reid assisting with the spit-up suction. Such a big helper already!

A little mother-daughter chat before leaving the hospital

All dressed up and ready for the ride home.

As you can see, Reid is thrilled to be taking his little sister home for the first time.

My sweet parents adorned our house with pink balloons to welcome Camille home.

First picture at home

The morning after our first night at home--also Daddy's 31st birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Week Old-A letter to Camille

My precious Camille Geneva,

Today you are one week old, and you are our miracle. Everything about you has surprised us so far! Daddy and I were surprised to learn we were pregnant with you a couple of days after Christmas in 2009. It took us quite awhile to get pregnant with your brother, and we were amazed that it was so easy this time.

We were so surprised to learn that you were a little girl! I wanted to have a little girl so badly, but given Daddy's family tree, it seemed likely that we would have a houseful of boys. There haven't been any girls born on the McFarland side of the family for 85 years! In late March 2010, Daddy and I went to the big ultrasound and doctor's appointment. Even before the ultrasound tech said anything, I could see that you were a girl. Daddy said he knew by the huge smile on my face that we were having a girl.

A couple of weeks later, in mid-April, we were surprised to learn that our doctor was already worried about our pregnancy with you. You weren't even halfway to your due date! I cried in the doctor's office and asked what we could do to make sure you would be born big and safe and healthy. I was so worried for my precious little girl. I spent the next 3 1/2 months on bed rest trying to keep you safe. Those early weeks of bed rest, I was often paralyzed with fear for you. You kept right on wiggling and kicking all day, every day as if to reassure me that you were okay. I treasured every ultrasound that we had, and I loved seeing you grow bigger and stronger with every passing week.

We were surprised that we made it to our "goal" of 34 weeks pregnant with you. We felt so blessed to have gotten you to a point where you would likely be just fine even if you were born a little early. And then you really surprised everyone as you continued growing and seemed very happy to stay inside Mommy week after week after week.

Our precious little girl, we worried about you so much, but you showed us how resilient and amazing you are as you grew inside of mommy even past your due date! And then, very early on the morning of September 9, 2010, you made your arrival.

You are big and healthy and strong--all the things that we prayed for. You weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces and were perfect in every way. I was so very tired after you were born. They finally wheeled us up to our room at 3:30 in the morning. We had to drop you off at the nursery for a bath, but I knew you'd be back in our room soon. I was exhausted, but the moment the nurses brought you back to me, I was energized! We spent those early morning hours cuddled together in my bed. You were snuggled against my chest to stay warm, and I just kept kissing your sweet head which was full of dark brown hair.

Your daddy loves you more than you can imagine. I remember in the delivery room hearing him tell you about the book Daddy Hugs. He said he was giving you "teeny-tiny finger hugs" while you were on the warming table, and you have had him wrapped around your little finger ever since.

Later on the morning you were born, you met your brother for the first time. At first he just stared at you, but over the last week he has shown us repeatedly how much he loves you. He covers you with his blanket when you're in your glider, and he always wants to make sure you have your pacifier in your mouth. He brings his favorite toys and puts them next to you in the glider and looks at you lovingly.

And your grandparents--well, they all adore you. BeBe, Grandad, Mimi and Grandpa all spent special time with you in the hospital, and they've loved holding you and telling us how beautiful and perfect you are over the last week.

Sweet Camille, you are our tiny, precious miracle. We are so proud of you for being born so healthy and strong. We know God has big things in store for your life, and we can't wait to see what each day brings. But for today, you are one week old, and we couldn't love you more.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night... (part II)

So, I get out of the wheelchair in the labor and delivery room and have the worst contraction yet. I was standing leaning over the bed trying to catch my breath, relax and breathe. The next 30 minutes to an hour are a blur so I'm not sure of the exact timing. What I do remember is wanting things to slow down so I could get in control of the pain and practice relaxation techniques.

The reality was that in a short span of time my contractions started coming fast and hard. I believe they were two minutes apart. At some point the labor and delivery nurse, Devin, checked me, and I think I was 4-5 cm. I tried to relax and and find a comfortable position, but I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin and run away. I became very hot and sweaty and extremely nauseous. The next thing I remember is being in the bathroom, throwing up repeatedly and contracting like crazy (oh yeah...and that amniotic fluid was still flowing and still stressing me out).

At that point, I felt panicked. I knew I needed to relax because tension was causing the pain to be so much worse. I just couldn't. Things were moving way too fast, and I felt as if I had completely lost control of the situation. The nurse was telling me I had to come get in bed and get the monitoring and IV started. (Because I was a VBAC things were "high risk" and my doctor wanted continuous fetal monitoring and IV access). The combination of nausea and intense pain was too much. So, in the bathroom of the labor and delivery room, I made a decision. I was having an epidural. The only issue was that Brian and Elizabeth (per my birth plan instructions) gently tried to convince to ride out a few more contractions and reconsider. I'm not sure what I actually said. I remember thinking, "I know what you're going to tell me. I know that's what I told you to tell me. But I was wrong. Dead wrong. I want that epidural and I want it yesterday."

The nurse hadn't overheard all of this, and popped her head in the bathroom and said something about seeing in my chart that I wanted as natural a childbirth as possible, but she still needed to discuss my options. I stopped her, told her that I had totally changed my mind and I wanted an epidural immediately. She reminded me that I still wasn't hooked up to monitors and that I did not have an IV started. These things needed to happen before the anesthesiologist could come in.

The next hour or so I spent sitting in bed, trying to calm down and breathing through contractions. The contractions were so powerful. I held Brian's hand and continued to sweat profusely. Dr. Fogwell came in checked me and I was at 6 cm. I remember feeling such intense pain and trying to relax between contractions. This was probably the calmest I was during the active labor stage because I just kept telling myself that if I could survive a few more contractions then I would have the epidural. I think I kept asking how long it was going to take to get the bag of IV fluid in so that the anesthesiologist could get his rear in the room and get the job done. I looked at the slow drip a few times and contemplated grabbing the IV bag and giving it a few good squeezes.

The contractions continued to intensify, but the bag was almost empty. Then I heard the nurse call for the anesthesiologist, and I heard the reply over her little radio--"He's just gone into room 7". I was in room 9. This was not good. Internally, I panicked--I could NOT wait any longer. I wanted to run into room 7 and drag the good doctor back to my room. I think externally I stayed fairly calm and zen simply because it was taking all of my energy to survive the contractions. Finally the doctor came in. He said Brian and Elizabeth had to leave while I got the epidural. I didn't want Brian to leave. I was scared and in pain, but I knew that the faster he left the faster I would have sweet relief.

I had a contraction as the epidural went in, and I held onto nurse Devin for dear life. Her little radio kept paging her saying her husband was on the phone saying it was urgent. She seemed a little concerned, but replied that she was busy at the moment (helping a pregnant lady regain her sanity.) Finally the epidural was in--the anesthesiologist said I would probably notice relief after a couple of more contractions. Good grief! Now I was alone in labor and delivery and I had to survive two more contractions. The doctor asked me if I wanted a "light" epidural where I still had some sensation or a "heavy" epidural where I'd be pretty much totally numb. I sucked it up and said "light". Eventually, I started to notice some relief.

Brian and Elizabeth returned and I was starting to relax. Brian's phone kept ringing, and I noticed that he left the room before talking. The next time he came in I asked what was going on. He looked a little concerned, and told me that there was a little "weather situation". I was concerned--my parents were still on the road and Reid was with Brian's mom. What was this weather situation and where was it happening? Brian said, "There's a tornado, and it's on the ground." Again, I feared the worst--like it was heading for our house in Allen and Reid was in its path. So when Brian said, "It actually looks like it's headed for the hospital", I was strangely relieved. Labor and delivery is in the basement of this particular hospital. Brian told me that they had just called a "Code Grey" and that nurses were scurrying around talking about moving patients. Nurse Devin popped her head back in (that urgent phone call from her husband--it was about the weather). She said that with a Code Grey we were safe in L&D. In fact, they were going to start moving other patients into the hallways of L&D.

Once I talked to Brian some more and verified that my parents and Reid were out of harm's way, I thought the situation was sort of humorous. I even asked Elizabeth to turn on the TV so we could watch the coverage. Clearly, the epidural was helping at this point! The tornado broke apart and changed course before reaching the hospital, and I don't think all they did was move patients away from windows upstairs. My parents arrived safely around 6:30, and the nurse checked me again. I was still at a 6.

The hours between 7 and 10 pm were fairly relaxed. I put on my make-up and tried to make the most of my "I-didn't-shower-today" hair. My sister came and stayed awhile. I chatted with Brian, Elizabeth, my parents, sister and our new nurse Julia who had come on at the 7pm shift change. I felt pressure with each contraction and started becoming nauseated again. I threw up some more, and even with the epidural, I sensed that the contractions were fast and strong and that things were changing rapidly with my body.

The nurse checked me around 10 pm, and she looked somewhat surprised and said "Well....". I was so afraid she was going to say that there had been no change in the last 4 hours since I got the epidural. (Side note, I do think that had I not had the epidural, my labor would have continued to progress rapidly, and I would have had the baby in a matter of 2-3 hours, but who knows!) I was excited/terrified when she said I was at 10 cm, and I was ready to start pushing.

I remember the first 30-60 minutes of pushing pretty clearly. I pushed and pushed and was making "a little" progress. My epidural was becoming less effective and I felt so much pressure and some pain. I'm not sure what happened to me mentally during that period of time, but for some reason I started becoming convinced that I could not push this baby out. I was so uncomfortable--not the worst pain, but definitely the worst discomfort of my life. I didn't feel like being on my back was effective so I turned over on my hands and knees (with an epidural--somewhat stressing nurse Julia out) and started pushing.

This is what I remember: I was very tired. I was getting frustrated and feeling desperate. I did not want to be told to push, and I certainly didn't want our perky nurse (who really was wonderful--I just didn't appreciate her at this point in time) counting to 10 repeatedly. I was sort of in my own little world--I could hear everyone else talking, but I just wanted to be left alone. Another weird thing was that, at some point, I got very concerned about Brian being by my side while I was pushing. I never thought I'd be like this, but there was part of me that was self-conscious, and I just started thinking, "this is too much-I cannot let him see me like this, and I can't fully concentrate on pushing for thinking about this". So, Brian ended up spending some time sitting on the other side of the room. I think this helped me slightly from a psychological perspective.

Eventually, after a long time of pushing with not-so-much progress, the nurse told me she had spoken to my doctor and he was coming in to discuss options. When Dr. Fogwell walked in and said, "Let's talk." I was in the middle of a contraction and feeling desperate. I told him I did not want to talk at the moment. The nurse sweetly told me that the doctor had come in just to talk to me, and I needed to talk to him. Luckily, my doctor knows me pretty well by this time, and he said, "no, don't worry, she'll talk to me when she's ready". With that, he sat at the computer and hung out for about 15 minutes (I think-my concept of time at this point is very hazy) until I told him I was ready to talk. He told me my options were:
1. Have a repeat C-section. Which he said, "would be stupid since you're fully dilated, and the baby is fully engaged in your pelvis"
2. Turn your epidural all the off and see if that helps with pushing.
3. Use forceps to assist with delivery.
4. Have the anesthesiologist come in and make your epidural much stronger to see if we can get you comfortable enough to push.

I chose option 4. I was already pushing pretty hard by the time the nurse anesthetist came in. He was an older gentleman named Jack. In the midst of all my crankiness and desperation, Jack walks in and starts cheering me on with all he's got. "Come on sweetheart, just push that baby out!" I almost hit him. I don't know how much longer I pushed after that. I was definitely in the zone with my eyes closed and totally focused. I do have recollections of yelling "please help me", and I'm fairly sure I yelled "get her out" at least once. All in all, I was not the serene laboring goddess that I had hoped to be.

With the last few pushes I heard the nurse and doctor saying that she was moving her head around trying to get herself into position to come out. Just when I thought I couldn't push any harder or take any more, she was out at 12:56 am on Thursday, September 9, 2010. It was the sweetest feeling of relief I have ever experienced! She came out with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice--apparently it was a long cord! They got it unwrapped, and she started crying. Brian cut the cord, and the placed our sweet baby on my chest. She was so purple at first that it scared me, but the nurses assured me that she was okay. I rubbed her face and head and stared at her in amazement.

After a few minutes, the nurses took her to the little warming bed in the room--they were a little concerned that her lungs sounded a little "crackly" and her oxygen saturation was a little low. Eventually they called the NICU team down to do an assessment in our room but kept assuring us that it was nothing too serious. After some deep suctioning and a once over by the NICU team, she was declared perfect and allowed to come back and snuggle with me some more.

I experienced exhaustion like I've never felt before. I pushed for 2 1/2 hours before little Miss Camille made her appearance!

All in all, it wasn't exactly the labor experience I had envisioned. I am thrilled that I accomplished a VBAC. I have a few regrets about getting the epidural, but I also know that with the way things unfolded, it was the best option for me at the time. We want to have more kid(s), and I would definitely opt for a VBAC over a cesarean given the choice. I would even consider attempting a future birth without an epidural. Maybe. Or not. I found the experience empowering and the recovery easier in many ways than with the c-section. We were admitted to labor and delivery around 4:00 on Wednesday, had the baby at 12:56 am on Thursday and went home at 4:00 on Friday. And all my hard work was rewarded with the best prize imaginable!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night... (part 1)

The story of my labor and delivery--according to how I remember it.

*I'm sure it's a fairly accurate account, but since I had my eyes closed and was willing myself into a state of unconsciousness for the last two hours of the experience, I may have missed a few things.
**This story will be very lengthy and contain mindless details, but its my blog and I'll ramble if I want to.

Anyway. Last Tuesday night was a dark and stormy night. The Dallas area was being inundated with rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine. I was awake for much of the night with some cramping off and on, and every time I woke up it was pouring down rain. I was also awake because my mind was racing--was I in the very early stages of labor? Was I ever going to have this baby? Was she okay in there?

Let me back up a few hours. Tuesday morning I went to the doctor again. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. If you are reading my blog then you know that this constitutes a miracle in and of itself. We were amazed. My doctor was amazed! I had been planning from the first time I saw the doctor for this pregnancy in January to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). VBACs carry an increased risk of uterine rupture and the medications used in inductions further increase that risk. Therefore, my doctor was adamant that he was not inducing me. I either needed to go into labor on my own or have a repeat c-section.

At Tuesday's appointment, my doctor said I was 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. He offered to schedule a "pseudo-induction" where he would have me check into the hospital Thursday morning and he would rupture my amniotic sac. In theory, this should cause labor to start and I would have the baby without the extra risk of induction meds. I was so excited to have a plan and at the prospect of no longer being pregnant that I immediately agreed. Of course, when I talked things over with Brian I started to analyze all the "what ifs". I knew that if the doctor broke my water and I didn't start contracting after a certain number of hours, then I would have to have a c-section anyway. So, after scheduling my induction for 6 am Thursday and calling my parents and telling them to head up sometime Wednesday, I changed my mind. I know. How annoying. Of course I changed my mind after my doctor's office was already closed Tuesday so I planned to call Wednesday morning to cancel the induction.

So after my long, restless and crampy Tuesday night, I woke up fairly early on Wednesday morning and told Brian I felt like I might be having contractions, but they didn't seem too regular. Brian kept getting ready for work, and I stayed in bed and started timing the contractions. They seemed to be 5-7 minutes apart and lasting for about 30 seconds. Around 7:30 Brian decided to try to work from home instead of going in to the office. He had a couple of meetings he needed to call in for, and he had a 4:00 meeting at a building near our house that he was going to try to attend.

Throughout the morning my contractions came and went. It continued raining, and much of central and north Texas were experiencing flooding. My parents debated about coming up--I was worried that my dad would take off of work and leave and it would turn out to be a false alarm, but I was also worried that they wouldn't make it up if things moved too quickly. They decided to leave around 5 pm. Brian called and asked his mom to come hang out with me and Reid while he was on a 2:00 teleconference and went to his 4:00 meeting.

I had contacted our doula and birth photographer, Elizabeth, Wednesday morning, and she predicted that I'd probably continue to have intermittent contractions throughout the day, and my labor would probably intensify once I went to bed that night. Things seemed to be following this pattern so I had decided to wait until late that afternoon to take a shower and fix my hair. I wanted to be "ready" when I went into labor. After Brian's mom arrived, I decided to try to nap. I was on our bed resting but not sleeping. I couldn't get comfortable so I decided to roll over onto my other side (no small feat when you are that pregnant!). As I rolled over I felt a "pop", thought my water was breaking and jumped out of bed to try to get over the bathroom tile (you can thank me later, Brian--our bed actually stayed completely dry). I made it to the bathroom before the rush of fluid started. I briefly wondered if my water had really broken or if I was just completely losing bladder control, but seconds later my first real contraction hit and I actually fell down to the floor on my hands and knees. The intensity of it surprised and scared me.

I was about to yell for Brian, but just then he walked into our bedroom to check on me before leaving for his meeting. I believe it was just after 3 pm at this point. I told him I thought my water had broken, and he could tell by my expression that I wasn't messing around. I told him to call our doctor's office and Elizabeth, and I quickly changed clothes while cursing myself for not having taken a shower earlier. I thought about taking the time to shower quickly, but when the next contraction hit that thought quickly vanished! I was so thankful that Brian's mom was already there taking care of Reid. I tried very hard to act completely normal and not get overly emotional when telling Reid goodbye. He definitely sensed that something was going on, and he was crying and very upset when we left (which of course broke my heart!). We had actually just picked up our new Chevy Traverse at the dealership on Tuesday night. We planned on getting leather interior, but they had exactly what we were looking for with cloth interior. We planned to take the car back in later in the week to get leather seats installed so we weren't overly worried about my riding in the brand new car :)

Brian and I drove from Allen to Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, and I was so thankful that it was not rush hour. As soon as we got in the car, I called my parents to let them know what had happened. They had actually seen a break in the weather and decided to leave early. Turns out they were pulling out of the driveway when I called! We tuned into Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket for a little taste of our normal lives. I continued having fairly strong contractions in the car, and I remember telling Brian that I just wanted to get checked into the hospital and regroup. I was planning on natural, drug-free childbirth, and I felt like I just needed to get to a labor and delivery room and try to relax and focus.

Once we arrived at the hospital, I asked Brian to go in and get a wheelchair. In case you didn't know (and I had heard this but never appreciated the full extent of it), when your water breaks it is not a one-time event. The supply continues to replenish thus it continues to flow...and flow...and flow. Next to the pain of contractions, the continual gushing of fluid probably stressed me out the most. I just felt so out of control! All that to say, there was no way I was walking in to the hospital admitting area with fluid leaking out of me. Eww.

Brian pushed me into the hospital in a wheelchair, and I sat through all the stupid questions and paperwork while leaking fluid and breathing through contractions. The charge nurse asked me if I was sure my water had broken. When she wheeled me into the L&D room and I got out of the wheelchair she got her answer. The moment I got out of the wheelchair and tried to change into the hospital gown was also the moment that things started to move very quickly...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nursery and Reid's room

I was so excited to decorate a nursery when I found out I was having a girl. I like pink, but I can only take so much. So we painted our little girl's nursery blue. Of course! We did use lots of very girly pink accents though. My very talented friend Angela helped me come up with an idea for a paint treatment on the nursery wall, and she helped with the tedious taping of the wall too. (The contrast of the lattice pattern is a little hard to see in these pictures, but it's more obvious when you're actually in the room). Brian got to do all the grunt work with the paint. He also made the shelving unit under the window and the floating shelves above the dresser. I have such talented friends and family! The prints on the wall above the crib are from Etsy, and my parents had them matted and framed for our baby shower gift. It definitely still needs a few finishing touches, but we'll get there soon enough. Here are a few pictures:

When we first moved to our new house in April, we tried to put Reid's furniture in his new room in the exact same arrangement that it was in our old house. The walls in his new room were a light beige and not nearly as warm and inviting as his old "pumpkin spice" walls. The final straw for me was the day we finished the nursery and took the rocking chair out of Reid's room to put in the nursery. The whole concept made me sad anyway, and it left Reid's room looking so barren and pitiful. We haven't rocked Reid to sleep for a long while, but he still sat in our laps to read books and such. Suddenly, there was nowhere to sit and snuggle with my baby! So fixing up Reid's room become a priority. We had already purchased the twin bed to match his furniture, but we had planned on storing it in the attic until he was ready for his "big boy bed". Instead, we went ahead and set it up in his room as a place to read books and snuggle. I've been wanting to do some kind of mural/wall decal for awhile, and we custom ordered the "forest friends" scene from a shop on Etsy. We used the same pumpkin spice paint color on all walls except the mural wall, and voila!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reid's First Day of Preschool

Yesterday was Reid's first day at his new preschool. He is going to the Child Development Center at our church two days a week. I wasn't sure how he would do, but other than a few tears at drop off, he had a great day! I know I keep saying this, but I just cannot believe how grown up he is looking these days.