Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Hospital Stay

So after Miss Aven was born Tyge and I got a few good hours of bonding time in with her and I got to take a bath, then we called the grandparents. We hadn't updated them since heading to the hospital 12+ hours prior, so I'm sure they were wondering what was going on! They wanted us to call anytime day or night so we did exactly that, at about 3 AM! Tyge's folks had driven down to stay at our house minutes from the hospital, and my parents don't live far away so they both came to meet Aven in the middle of the night. We didn't tell them the sex of the baby on the phone and waited until they arrived in person to introduce them to their new grand DAUGHTER, which was really neat.

Just a few hours old

Proud Grandmas meeting her for the first time
Exhausted but happy new momma!

My dad was at the Democratic National convention in Tampa for work and I know it killed him to be away when she arrived. I called him separately and told him she was a girl, and he was so thrilled.

After they left, we tried to get some sleep but Aven pretty much cried the whole night in between nursing sessions...I was starving since I had nothing in my stomach from throwing up, so when the cafeteria opened up at 6 AM I ordered breakfast and we were up for the day. We knew we'd have many visitors that day and man, did we ever! We were so blessed to have lots of family and friends visit us that day - I think we had 30+ guests! At one time in the evening, there were 10+ people there at once and I was trying to feed her so the nurse kicked everyone out - oops. That did get a little stressful, but we were so happy to have people come visit us.

With my old roommate Bria and her 3 month old son Louie - one of the many potential boyfriends for Aven :) It seems all my girlfriends have baby boys!

4 generations - Aven, Daddy Tyge, Grandpa Denny, Great Grandpa Carl
With friend Bridget, who is having a baby in late winter!
With my best friend Betsy, who has prayed for Aven since before she was born
Kim holding her
Proud Unca B and Auntie Naomi
Cousin Lark seems very excited - they are one year apart and will be the best of friends!

After the last guest left around 9 PM on Thursday night, we did sent Aven to the nursery in an attempt to get some sleep since we had been up for almost two days! We managed to get a few hours in, and the nurses would bring her in every 2-3 hours to feed and to check on me. Every nurse and aide there was great and so helpful and I fully took advantage of their knowledge and asked tons of questions. I woke up Friday morning feeling refreshed after actually sleeping some, and I even got to take a shower and do my hair and makeup which felt amazing!


Friday was a more low key day with less visitors and just Tyge and I enjoying our new baby girl and getting to know her. Aven had her first pediatric check up - she was perfectly healthy, though she didn't love being naked and cold!

We took a ton of pictures on Friday since we didn't take any the day before (thanks to my mom for capturing some of our visitors!) and here are a few of my favorites:


We also had a few family visitors during the day and Brian and Naomi got to come back Friday around dinnertime as they met her when there were the 10+ people the day before so we wanted to have them back for some more quality time, which was great. My dad also arrived back in MN on Friday night, so got to meet her for the first time as well - that was really special.


Memorable story - when my parents were there, we smelled a strong gas odor in our room. Turns out a tanker had overturned a few blocks away and the smell was coming in through the vents. It was really strong in the maternity ward so they evacuated patients and we all had to go in the hallway until the smell cleared. It was a funny sight, all these newborns in their rolling crib/cart things and new mommas in their hospital gowns, hanging out in the hallway. Luckily we were only out there for a hour or so, and it makes for a good story!

So thanks to my daughter for coming 4 minutes into Thursday, we got to stay one more night! I can't imagine having left on Friday....we sent her to the nursery again Friday night and got some more shut eye. "They" say it's best to room in while in the hospital, but I knew I wouldn't have that help with her once we got home, so we opted for sleep and it was a good decision for us. :) Saturday morning we had a discharge class with the nurses, she got checked out by the pediatrician, I got checked out by my midwife, and we were free to go!

Teeny buns and feet!
She did NOT like her carseat...and Tyge and I look exhausted!

Leaving the hospital with OUR baby in her carseat was such a surreal feeling! Putting her into the car and driving the 2.2 miles home was so nerve wracking - I think I made Tyge go 10 under the speed limit. We arrived home to a welcoming committee of the grandparents with festive decorations and a yummy brunch.

All in all, it was such a wonderful delivery and a fantastic hospital stay. Everyone we came into contact there was so great and I felt so good about the care both Aven and I received. Coming home was nice as well, but I did miss the hospital those first few days home - having all the help you need at your fingertips was sure great!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Aven's Birth Story: Part 2

Waiting the 45 minutes for the epi (while they got fluid in me and called the anesthesiologist) was the worst - contractions were coming hard and fast and I was ready for relief. When the guy came in I don't even really remember him or the process - he was quick! Side note - Tyge said he was the exact twin of "The Most Interesting Man In The World" from the Dos Equis commercials:
I did have two contractions while trying to sit still during while he worked, and Tyge and midwife Mary literally had to help hold me still. Good news was I didn't even feel the needle compared to those!
I got settled in bed as the meds started to work and was so happy to feel relief soon. I got the shakes a bit but they covered me with warming blankets and I was able to lie down for some glorious rest. We turned the lights off, Tyge went out to Chipotle to get something to eat, and I closed my eyes. I didn't sleep but it felt so good to rest my body and mind before pushing. It was the first time I'd smiled since realizing I was in labor early that morning!
Mary checked me about an hour later and happily told me I was at a 10!!! I had dilated from a 5 to a 10 in an hour! She also explained that baby's head was turned a bit and my pre-epi my tense body wasn't able to relax enough to correct it and dilate fully, so once I got the epi and my body relaxed, the head fixed itself and I dilated quickly. She said I could take a little more time to lay and let baby labor down, then around 9:30 PM it was time to push. I was feeling much more rested and excited at this point to meet baby soon! The epi was a perfect amount - I could still feel and move my legs and bottom, and could also feel the contractions as they came, just more as pressure not pain.
I had Tyge set Pandora to a Black Eyed Peas station and had some upbeat music to begin pushing with. Midwife Mary helped me figure out how and we got into a good rhythm. I could feel most contractions so knew when to push, and she would help guide me with how long or hard to push each time. An hour into pushing, they got the baby warmer ready and started her paperwork for a birth date of 8/29, thinking she'd come before midnight. Baby's heart rate dropped a bit low at one point, but it wasn't too concerning. We continued pushing and I really didn't have any concept of how long it had been. My support team of midwife Mary, doula Mary, nurse Cindy, and especially Tyge were all so encouraging and helpful. They would cheer me on with each push and gave me progress updates. Close to two hours in I started to get really tired and wondered if she'd ever come out! I had asked Tyge to change the music to Hillsong as I wanted a more peaceful setting than the pumped one I had been feeling hours ago. I had my eye on the clock in the room and as we neared midnight, realized she wouldn't be born on 8/29!
I knew we were getting close and when she was crowning, Mary looked at Tyge and asked, "Do you want to catch baby?" Tyge looked shocked and responded with, "I need to wash my hands first!" She said he'd better do it quick as baby was coming on the next push. He made it back in time and sure enough, on the next push the head came out. I looked up and exclaimed, "It's huge!" and everyone laughed! The rest happened so fast but the moment is forever etched in my brain. Baby came out next and Daddy caught her and said, "Girl, girl, it's a girl!" She let out a huge healthy cry and I remember saying her name, Aven Hope, and getting a little teary. Our awesome doula got the entire thing on video, which is obviously just for us, but here are some clips of Tyge's reaction:
Proud, happy Daddy
They placed her on my chest right away and since she was still connected her back was to me, but I could tell she was beautiful.
After Tyge cut the cord, we got some good skin to skin time right away and she nursed well from the start. We were able to bond for as long as I wanted before they took her away to be cleaned and checked out.
Our new family of three!
So it was a 21 hour labor (16 of it without meds) and 2 1/2 hours of pushing, but I'd do it all again tomorrow. It truly was an incredible birth experience and I would not have changed a thing about it. I am glad I was able to experience so much of it naturally, and I'm also glad I made the decision to get the epidural when I did so I could somewhat enjoy the rest of labor and be more rested and "myself" when she finally arrived. The end goal of healthy mom, healthy baby was achieved - praise God!

Aven's Birth Story: Part 1

It's taken me awhile to write this, mainly because if I've had any chunk of free time I've wanted to sleep! Little Miss is over three weeks old now and I want to get her birth story in writing before I forget much of it, so here goes (warning - this is long!)....

It all started late Tuesday night, August 28th - we were helping some friends move that evening and had pizza, so when I had a stomach ache when we got home around 10 PM I figured it was that. Plus, my office was going to the State Fair the following day and I was a bit nervous about heading there almost a week overdue, so figured the stomach ache could be nerves as well. We headed to bed, though I didn't actually go to sleep. Around 3 AM I started to feel more cramping, and since I didn't have much in terms of Braxton Hicks contractions, I figured this could be labor! I laid awake in bed through them and started timing with my app around 4:30 AM - they were coming every 10 minutes lasting a minute on average and were painful, but manageable. Since I wasn't sleeping anyway, I got up around 5:30 AM and took a shower then woke Tyge up around 6:30 AM and told him he should call his boss and tell him he wasn't coming in that day. He didn't believe me at first but then quickly realized this was it! We laid in bed a bit and continued to time the contractions, which were anywhere from 6-13 minutes apart and getting a bit more intense. Around 9 AM I started picking up the house a bit and finished packing the hospital bag, then watched TV in the living room while laboring (A Baby Story and The Price Is Right!). I was able to eat some Greek yogurt and a PB&J and keep that down, and drank lots of water. I also called my boss and told her I wouldn't be joining them at the State Fair and would be having a baby that day! The pain was still tolerable but the peaks of the contractions were pretty bad - we just continued to time them as they weren't yet close enough to head to the hospital. I labored at home on the ball, over the ottoman, on the bed all morning and nothing was comfortable, so Tyge suggested taking Keely for a walk around noon. We walked very slow and stopped with each contraction, where I had to hang on to Tyge for support when they got bad. It was neat to take a last walk as the three of us, and it was a beautiful day out. When we got home Tyge offered to get us lunch and I wanted mac and cheese from Noodles, so that's what he got! While he was gone the intensity of the contractions picked up a bit, and there were now 6-7 minutes apart on average - still not time. He got home with the food which I ate, and then promptly threw up moments later, as the pain was getting much worse. I was also needing to go to the bathroom after every contraction and wasn't sure if my water had broken or not. It was around 1 PM or so when I called my midwife clinic and told them what was going on. They suggested I come in and get checked to see where I was at and if we should head to the hospital. We packed up the house and Tyge loaded the car just in case, put Keely in her kennel, and off we went!

Just before leaving the house, trying to look as happy as possible!
I had several contractions on the 12 minute drive to the clinic, which was very uncomfortable. When we got there the awesome nurse Joanie put us in a room and said Mary was the midwife on duty so she had gone home to rest and prepare for delivery that evening, and Ann was in the clinic with a patient and would be in to check on me soon. She set me up laying down on a table and wanted me to hang out there so they could see if my water had broken. Laying flat on my back while having contractions was not fun...poor Tyge just sat there waiting with me. Ann's patient was taking longer than expected so Joanie kept coming to check on me - she could tell that my pain was getting worse so hurried Ann up a bit! She came in and was able to sample the fluid and determine that my water hadn't broken but was perhaps slowly leaking. During the time it took to run the tests, my contractions got worse and I was having to lean over the stool to manage them. She waited until one was over then checked me for dilation - she was happy to report I was between a 4-5 and in active labor! She said we could head home and wrap things up (aka say goodbye to Keely) then head to the hospital within the hour. However, I threw up again when she was in the room and had a few really bad contractions, so she changed her tune and suggested we head directly to St. John's. The whole clinic wished me luck as we headed out of there, barf bags in tow, to have our baby!
Tyge drove as carefully yet quickly as possible to get me there. On the way we called our parents to let them know we were headed to the hospital, and called our neighbor to let Keely out after work before Tyge's parents made it to our house from up North. My clinic had called the hospital and we were pre-registered so once we arrived they got us in a room right away. I honestly don't even remember checking in or getting to our room but it was around 2 PM. I changed into a gown (I was planning to wear my own clothes but had lost all sense of style and modesty already and just wanted to be comfortable) and called our doula Mary to have her join us. The nurse did some initial fetal monitoring and from there, we worked on laboring and managing the contractions as best as possible. Mary the doula and Mary the midwife both arrived around the same time and began to help me labor through things. The contractions were coming almost every 2-3 minutes lasting 30-45 seconds and this lasted for hours. I threw up several times due to the pain. I was most comfortable on the bed on my hands and knees or sitting on the ball bent over the bed, though nothing really helped. I was having some back labor so Tyge held the warming pack on my back to help with that. Around 5-6 PM I got in the tub. I had wanted to "save" that for the last piece of relief, but after 3-4 hours in the hospital of excruciating labor pain, I couldn't wait any longer. Being in the tub helped and Tyge would pour warm water over my belly with each contraction, which felt good. At this point, I was doing a low humming sound to get through each contraction and would start and stop my sounds with the pain. Tyge knew when they were coming and would squeeze my hand. He was so great at reminding me to breath, to relax my other muscles, and was a rock for me. I never got vocal or hysterical, I was just quietly in pain and trying to manage as best I could. Several times I did say that I couldn't do it, I was tired (I hadn't slept at all!), and I wanted the epidural and he did as I asked and reminded me that my body was made to do this, I could do it, baby was coming soon, etc. So I call this phase of the story Part 1 because it is night and day different from Part 2. I honestly blocked out most of Part 1 and don't remember many details, other than it was the worst pain I've ever experienced and I was not myself during it.
So around 7 PM I got out of the tub and figured I had to be dilated to at least an 8 - I had been laboring at the hospital for 5+ hours and came in dilated to a 5. The contractions had been so close together for those 5 hours that I just knew I had to be close, maybe even past transition as they were so intense while in the tub. Mary checked me and told me I was at a 5+. I was so defeated that I had made NO progress during those 5 hours. Everyone assured me that it was progress, that the baby was moving down, etc. but I was so defeated and felt those 5 hours of indescribable pain were for nothing. I asked Mary, in her experience, how many more hours I had to go. She didn't want to answer my questions as it wasn't cut and dry, but she let me know that on average I could expect to dilate a centimeter an hour. I did the math - that meant 5 more hours of pain that would only intensify, plus who knows how many hours of pushing. At that time I hadn't slept since the day before and was on hour 16 of drug free labor. I was so tired. I was in so much pain. I truly didn't think I could finish without getting some rest, so I asked for the epidural and meant it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What a difference a year makes.

Just about two weeks ago, there was something about this time of year that I recognized. Something about the fall crisp in the air, my friend Katrina's Dipfest party, the UHG Golf Tournament - it all reminded me of something. And then I remembered. Not that I ever forgot, but the blur of the past few weeks with Aven has made my mind not as sharp! This time of year and these events reminded me that one year ago was when we found out we were pregnant for the first time.

It all brought back the memory of seeing that pee stick the first time around, and telling Tyge we were pregnant. 

And then I realized that one year ago today was the day we miscarried.

I'll be spending a few hours this afternoon at the UHG Golf Tournament where last year I had to fight back tears the entire time. This year, I'll be proudly talking about and showing pictures of my daughter who turns 3 weeks old today.

It's so amazing to think that, had we not miscarried our first child, we wouldn't have Aven Hope. Sweet little Aven who we already love so much and can't imagine life without. God truly has a plan for everything that is bigger and better than we can even fathom, and I am so thankful for that. I know we'll meet that first baby in heaven some day, and until then I am so grateful that God planned for Aven to be in our arms instead of just our hearts like the one we lost a year ago.

Me and my sweet baby girl

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's in a name?

Aven - It seems that each time we tell people our daughter's name, we get asked where it came from. I don't really have a cool story behind her first name - it's honestly just a name I heard years ago and filed away as one I really liked. When Tyge and I started talking about baby names I brought Aven up as a girl option, and he liked it as well so we never even thought of any others!

After she was already born and named we decided to look up the meaning (you know, in case it meant dark warrior fairy or something!) and luckily I really like the meaning as well:

The girl's name Aven \a-ven\ is an alternate spelling of "Eaven" which is the English pronunciation of a very old Irish name "Aoibheann" meaning "fair radiance".

How fitting is that? :)

Hope - Her middle name was originally to be Marie, which is my and my Grandma's middle name. However, after the mission trip to Esperanza Viva someone suggested that, since the baby was on the trip, we should somehow incorporate our experience into a name. We briefly thought about using Aven Esperanza but thought that sounded a little off for our family, so used the English translation of Living Hope instead. Also, our little miracle gave us hope after the miscarriage that we could conceive again.

I think it's a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl!

Introducing Aven Hope

It's a GIRL!

Aven Hope
Born August 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Weighing 7 pounds 14 ounces
Measuring 19 3/4 inches long
**Birth Story and Week One updates to come, I'm still trying to find time to blog when all I want to do is snuggle the baby. :)