Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vann: One Week Old

It's amazing how slow time can go (like when you are 38 weeks preggers and waiting for your little one) and how fast it can fly by! Vann is already a week old. We have learned so very much since his birth on Monday, August 12th!
This week has been such a whirlwind, but we wouldn't trade it for a thing in the world. Vann was welcomed home by his family. Ryan bought a balloon at Kroger on the way home and clipped it to the mailbox.
What Vann's Up To: He is a sleepy and hungry little boy! He will sleep for 2-3 hours and then wake up and look for food! Vann loves being held and swaddled. We have been giving him a paci to soothe him before his naps. If it's even close to a feeding, we won't introduce the paci. He has been getting sponge baths waiting on his bellybutton to heal up. We get a little peak of a smile when he's sleeping and it's enough to melt your heart! He loves walks. We went on our first one the second night after coming home. It was much shorter than the walks we'd take pre-Vann since I was still recovering, but it felt awesome to get out of the house!
Health: We went to the dr. on Friday and Vann was down from 8 lbs at birth, 7 lbs. 10 oz. when we left the hospital, to 7 lbs. 7 oz.. I knew this was a normal occurrence with newborns, but it's so disheartening when you are feeding him all you can. His bilirubin level also rose again. Dr. Johnson told us to continue feeding him and to bring him outside (if it didn't rain...which it did all weekend). He would see us back on Monday and send us home with the "tanning" lamp if it wasn't down. Otherwise, Vann looked terrific. 

Monday was a new day, so we got ready and headed to his doctor's appointment. Vann's weight was up to 7 lbs. 10 oz. and his bilirubin levels had gone down. We were doing something right! Ryan and I felt so much better after this appointment.
Nursing: This week was a roller coaster. I was loving nursing the first couple of days and THEN my milk came in. Engorgement is no joke. It feels like you are carrying around boulders, and the "girls" are literally so hard and heavy. Vann couldn't even latch on to one side. This didn't help with my frustration about his weight loss either. I felt like it was all my fault. I messaged Danielle because I remember her struggling with the same thing and took some advice to grab a heating pad and ice packs. After Vann's appointment on Friday, Ryan dropped me off at WalMart to grab some nursing tanks, heating pad, and something I had read about and is now my  favorite thing...nipple shields. If I were Oprah, I would give them away on a Mom's Favorite Things episode. They are incredible. Read: ALL NEW MOMS GO GRAB SOME NOW! Thankfully they had it all at WalMart. SIDENOTE: I can hear every baby cry right now. I swear there were 10+ screaming babies. I just knew Vann was screaming in the car with Ryan. Thankfully, when I got to the car all was calm! I immediately hopped in the backseat, we pulled in a quiet parking lot, and I nursed my baby without any pain. Happy tears were streaming down my face! This helped the engorgement go down SUPER FAST! **Sorry if you are uncomfortable reading that, but if I can help another mama that's what it's all about!**
Baby Stuff We LOVE: Fisher Price Rock 'N' Play Sleeper, Miracle Blanket Swaddle, Lansinoh Lanolin, Pampers Swaddlers, baby gowns, Medela Contact Nipple Shield, Boppy pillow, our parents for helping sooo much, and awesome dinners made by family and friends to help us during our adjustment phase!
{Papa and Nannie seeing Vann for the first time. It was so special for me to see Papa holding Vann and rubbing his back. They are precious to me.}

{Daddy and Gran}

{Uncle Greg is in love! Just wait til his little girl arrives in Dec. Grandpa holding Vann below.}

{Gabby, Easton, Mom, and Vann}
{Natalie and Aunt Ginger}

{James and Malorie}

{Halee and Clayton}

{Anna Beth and Adam}

{Kenlie, Julie, and Carrie}

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

At the hospital!

After Vann's birth, we were moved to the Mother Baby wing around 7:30 am. I was so hungry. All I could think about was a Wendy's hamburger and fries. I don't even know when the last time I had one of their burgers was, but goodness I was craving it. I definitely did not give into that absurd craving, but I did get hospital breakfast. A nice plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, and a biscuit did the trick!

We were so exhausted, but flying on cloud 9 so there was no sleep to be had!

It is such a humbling, learning experience to have a baby. I mean, we are trained for our job, but you have a sweet baby and they just send you off. Thank God for the nurses and doctors at the hospital. Sure, there were definitely moments when we wished we didn't have someone knocking on our door, coming in and poking our little man, and bringing in gourmet hospital food.  But in the midst of those moments, we learned how to swaddle, how to nurse, and a plethora of other things to care for Vann. 

We had lots of visitors on Monday evening to see Vann! He was so good the whole time and just slept in family and friends' arms. 

When our last visitor left, I was able to take my first shower of the day. Ahhhmazing! I crawled in bed after loving on Vann and Ryan with my heart as full as ever. We slept from 12-4:20. I guess we were all exhausted. 

Tuesday morning, the nurse walked in and checked me over, checked Vann and his Jaundice again (hate watching him get his foot pricked), and then the rotating door began again. It was the pediatrician, my OB, the food service lady with breakfast, the custodian, and so many more. Even with all of those people coming in Ryan and Vann could still sleep. This mama could not! The great thing about all of them was their heart to serve. It was amazing. Everyone was so kind and asked if they could get anything for us. I was blown away by their willingness to go above and beyond. 

I had the Lactation Consultant, Teresa, visit again because Vann and I were having trouble jiving. It was my fault because I think I was just being too gentle with him and not really allowing him to latch. Thank heavens for Teresa and her knowledge. 

Vann's Bilirubin levels were still being monitored, but they weren't overly concerned with them. My dad kept commenting on how beautiful his skin tone was. I laugh now because his nice tan was because of the Jaundice. 

That day, more visitors stopped by. We enjoyed getting our minds off of being stuck in a hospital room. I was so jealous when Ryan would leave the room to go grab food around the hospital or something from the car. I wanted to see the outside world. Ryan's parents brought us the hamburger I had been craving since laboring on Sunday evening. Yonah Burger does it right and it hit the spot way better than hospital lasagna or Wendy's ever could. 

Around 5 pm, Vann went with Dr. Cox and had his boy surgery! I felt like the worst mama ever sending him out of the room. When they wheeled him back all we could hear was crying that kept getting louder and louder. It was him, but once he was in our arms he stopped and calmed down! He didn't even realize what happened. He just missed his mama and daddy. 

After company went home, we got settled in for bed...well almost. Vann was not a happy camper, so we stayed up taking turns holding him. Four hours of sleep in 72 hours was not a good situation. I was so happy when the sun came up and we were told we could head home as soon as we got our official word. We got ready and watched Kelly and Michael while we were waiting. Darlene came in and shared all of the necessary info we needed to head home. She was from the North and was so much fun!

Then, we piled all of our stuff onto a cart, put Vann in his car seat, learned how to properly buckle, and got wheeled away with the car seat on my lap. Ryan pulled the car around and we loaded everything in and got Vann situated! We were on the way home. What an exciting yet scary time it was to drive home. Ryan did an excellent job of course, but with a lack of sleep and a life we were now responsible for it was stressful to say the least. It felt like each car we passed was going to t-bone or side-swipe us!

When we walked in the door, Lyla greeted us and sniffed her new brother. She was so gentle. I really didn't expect anything less, but you never know. Mom and Erin were there and helped get us settled in. We ate lunch, gave Vann a bath, I nursed him, handed him to his Gran and Auntie E, and Ryan and I fell into bed. Sleep is such an under appreciated luxury until it's non-existent. Mom made a celebration dinner of pork loin, squash, zucchini, green beans, and Erin made her tomato pie. I'm pretty sure it was the best meal I have ever eaten!

Our boy was home. What a great night and he slept like a doll!
Welcome home baby Vann, welcome home!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Vann Hudson's Birth Story

It's hard to believe I am typing this a week after giving birth to the most perfect boy. I would not trade a single minute of his story. I am writing it here to remember the details that I want to keep fresh in my mind forever because I truly went through a miracle. Every woman, no matter the way they birth a baby, witnesses a miracle from God.

I went to work all week before delivering Vann. The look on people's faces was priceless when they would ask when I was due and my response would be Monday. I felt good besides my feet swelling up and a little waddle going on. A lady at work told me to go eat Mexican food because that sent her into labor. All I could think about the rest of the day was Mexican food from our favorite hole in the wall restaurant. I texted Ryan and asked if he could pick some up on the way home. He was all about it. I ended up ordering chicken and veggies. It was so good, but I noticed soon after that my tongue felt tingly and funny. I did a quick internet search and found out that this happens to a lot of women in their last trimester!

Saturday morning I woke up in need of groceries and getting the house in spectacular shape. Mom and I went to a local produce stand and went to Publix. Then, when I made it home Ryan and I cleaned the house. I was down on my hands and knees vacuuming base boards, scrubbing the bathroom down, etc., and Ryan was working even harder. Looking back, that was nesting at it's finest!

Around 9 that evening, something felt different. I started looking up my symptoms and they were all there...the start of early labor. I also read where this could go on for up to two weeks before you begin true labor. I quickly decided to not get my hopes up and reminded myself that we just KNEW I was gonna be 41 weeks and 1 day like average first time pregnancies. I also knew that it was all in God's hands and I was ok with whatever needed to happen.

Sunday morning Ryan rolled over and asked if we were going to church. I couldn't. My body was not feeling normal and I didn't want to be in the middle of our church service and go into labor. I relaxed all day and tried to prepare myself for work on Monday. I called my mom and was telling her how I was feeling. You could tell we were both trying to play it cool and not get our hopes up. Around 3:40 pm my friend Mindy texted me before she flew home from Texas just to check in and see if I had a baby update. I was texting back and saying no baby yet when Vann's head engaged and I felt some fluid. I thought for sure this was my water breaking (definitely not) and it got me up and walking quickly to the bathroom. Ryan, who was relaxing on the couch, sat straight up and asked me if it was time. I told him what I felt and we were off. He was filling up his bag, I was hopping in the shower, straightening my hair in record time, and getting the last bit in my bag. This checklist came in SUPER HANDY!

Then, about 15 minutes after the excitement I had my first real contraction. You can definitely tell the difference between the real thing and Braxton Hicks. I ran to my bed and hunched over clutching my body pillow and using my breathing to relax. A minute later it was over and we were rushing around even more. This happened once more and we sped up big time. In the car, I texted Erin and let her know what was happening and to please tell the rest of the family. She wrote back "promise?". She thought I was kidding. No jokes here... I put my makeup on between contractions in the car. Ryan was timing them and they were about 5-7 minutes apart. I knew we weren't supposed to head to the hospital until contractions were 5 minutes apart for at least an hour, but I thought my water broke so that trumped it all.
We checked in at the hospital about 5 and before they admitted us they checked me (I was at 2.5 cm and my water had not broken...bummer) and told me to walk around the floor for 1-2 hours. I started walking and each contraction I had grew worse. I used the breathing techniques we'd practiced. Ryan was amazing. He kept the mood light and supported me literally. At one point I was hugging his neck in the hallway praying I wasn't about to fall out in the floor. I would nearly pass out with each contraction I had. The nurse said my bag of fluids was bulging. I totally believe her because it grew harder and harder to walk. I was so sick to my stomach yet super excited that Vann was on his way. After 30 minutes of walking, I physically could not do it without nearly passing out and feeling like I was going to throw up in the middle of the hallway.
We went back to our little room where they were monitoring me and after an hour I had progressed to a 4. They let me fill out papers and admitted me! We were having Vann. The time was here. Excitement does not even come close to what we felt!
I got wheeled to a delivery room, while having a contraction, and made my way into the bed. I had big dreams of bouncing on the exercise ball and using the squatting bar, but my back was in horrendous pain. All I wanted to do was get in the tub. We heard at our birthing class that out of water the average woman progresses 1.25 cm/hour but in the tub it sped it up to 2.5 cm/hour. After my sweet nurse put my IV port in, Ryan ran a bath for me and I labored in the tub for an hour. One of my favorite moments was Ryan kneeling beside me and praying for everything and thanking God for getting us to this point. I am telling you, he is the best! The bath relieved the pressure so much that I highly recommend it to anyone! I continued to progress from a 4 to a 5. Our family was on the way.

We had to check heart rates on the monitor, so I got out of the tub. Vann was doing incredible and my contractions were continuing to stay strong. After that was confirmed I got back into the tub. Ryan hooked me up with the relaxation station on Pandora and let me relax. Our parents and siblings made it to the hospital. My mom, Ryan's mom, and sister all came into see us. I would talk a little bit, breathe through a contraction, and then resume talking. At this point, my back was in excruciating pain with each contraction. It felt like my back was going to break from the pressure. Is this normal? With each contraction, my belly would tighten up and become rock hard, my lower abdomen would cramp up, and my tailbone would have extreme pressure. At times my body would push involuntarily which would scare me because I knew it wasn't time. The nurse came in around 9:30 to check in on us and I had progressed to an 8! 

While I was out of the tub and having a contraction, Ryan was rubbing my back. I guess you could call it rubbing, he said he was sure it was going to break my back as hard as he was pushing. I was breathing through a strong contraction and boom my water breaks. Ryan immediately backed up and thought he had done something to cause it.
Going into labor, I didn't want to get an epidural. My main reason was I didn't want to get caught in the trap of an epidural, then pitocin, and then wind up having a C-section unless it was for necessary medical reasons. By this time I had been playing with the idea because I had progressed so quickly and my back felt like it was going to snap at any time. Once my water broke, I was ready. I do not regret it one bit. I feel like I got the best of both worlds. I felt real contractions, progressed naturally to an 8, and then relaxed even more with the epidural.

My nurse, Jennifer, was incredible. She really couldn't have been more helpful and kind. When I told her I wanted to try labor without meds she was very supportive. I had prayed for my nurses and doctor starting very early on in my pregnancy. God placed the right people in that room and I was so blessed. When I decided to get the epidural she made sure the anesthesiologist was there fast. He made his way in. I sat up, held Ryan's hands, and while having a contraction I got my epidural. My legs never went numb enough to where I couldn't move them. They felt like the tingling in your mouth when you have dental work and the numbness is wearing off. I could pick them up, move my feet around, and feel pressure when I had a contraction. This helped when I began delivery. I did shake uncontrollably at points and worried Ryan and Erin a bit. My teeth would chatter and arms and legs would shake. Ryan kept asking if I wanted to turn the air up or needed more blankets. I was definitely not cold, just relaxed and my nerves were going all crazy!
I did slow down significantly with the epidural with my progress. To pass the time away we watched Fast and The Furious Miami and chatted with all of our family that took turns to come up. Greg, Alexis, Erin, Adam, Anna Beth, and our parents all got to visit with us. I should have been getting sleep, but who can sleep with sweet Vann on the way. The last two centimeters took 5 hours. I progressed to a 9.5 and a piece of the cervix wouldn't move. Thankfully Jennifer had me push through it which budged to a 10. It was finally show time. Vann was arriving soon!

At about 4 am we got the show on the road. Erin and Ryan were beside me helping me hold my legs. Mom and Miss Shelia were huddled on the couch. Jennifer coached me through and Vann started to emerge. While Jennifer was directing me on how to push she would stop and talk about Vann's head full of hair. It made me so excited and motivated. Thankfully, I had a minute and a half to two minutes between each push (sets of 3-4) and I could catch my breath. I would close my eyes with each contraction and focus on getting Vann out. I would look at Ryan, who told me prior to that he was not going to look at what was happening, and I caught him taking it all in. He got to see his son first.

Dr. Little was called when time was getting near. I hated to wake him up at 4:45 in the morning. Once he arrived Vann was born at 5:16 am. They held Vann up and I caught a quick glimpse of a sweet piece of heaven.

It was the neatest thing I have ever been a part of. He was taken away and cleaned immediately because of a tiny bit of meconium staining. I watched Ryan as he stayed right by Vann's side while he was getting the attention he needed. I asked if he was ok and if he had all of his fingers and toes. The nurse let me know he was, he did have all of his fingers and toes, and he didn't have any extra either! My mom came up to me, rubbed my hair, and told me how proud of me she was. I will remember that moment forever. Before long, Ryan brought our son over and handed him to me. He was stunning. I cradled him and started nursing him. He knew just what to do. God is beyond good. Vann was a healthy 8 lbs, 20.5 inches long, and so loved.


After our families came into the room to see him, they went home to sleep. Sleep for us would not happen on August 12th because we were now parents ... a job that never ends.
 {I will give details in the next post all about our hospital stay and 
visitors who came to see us Vann!}

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