Monday, June 28, 2010

2 weeks old!

We can't believe it's already been two weeks since Halle entered the world. Our little girl is growing up so fast!

Speaking of growing, we had our first appointment with the pediatrician today. Halle weighed in at 8 lbs, 2 oz and 21 inches long. That's a gain of almost a pound and 1.5 inches since birth. She's falling right in the middle on the growth charts (which are not very accurate at 2 weeks of age). We are obviously not starving!

Halle is also very alert. She can focus her eyes very well (especially on Mommy and Daddy's faces) and will track noise. She is usually awake during the mid-morning and evening and will sleep three- to four-hour stretches at night.

Halle can almost support her head by herself and loves to look around. She is usually pretty relaxed and only gets fussy when she's working on filling her britches!

Jim and I enjoy her so much - everything she does is fascinating to us. We are trying to capture as much of this time in her life as possible because we know it will be over too soon!

We love you "Little Snuggles"! Mommy and Daddy are so glad God decided to entrust you to us!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

What's in a name?

Choosing our daughter's name was something that did not come easily for us. At first, Jim and I circulated through each other's lists of potential names we liked, but neither of us liked each other's lists (go figure!). We did agree on the criteria we wanted for our daughter's name, which was a) it had to have a significant meaning and b) it had to be easy to spell and pronounce but not common.

We used a name book lent to us that focused on both the inherent meaning and spiritual connotations of names. I have to admit, neither Halle nor Arianne were names that I would have ever considered aside from this book, but they fit our criteria perfectly.

Language/Cultural Origin - Nigerian
Inherent Meaning - "Unexpected Gift"
Spiritual Connotation - Blessing

Language/Cultural Origin - Greek
Inherent Meaning - "Holy"
Spiritual Connotation - Presented to God

As you already know from my MANY blog posts on the subject, our daughter's conception was unexpected (and quite a bit of a shock to us). It was apparent from Day 1 that her existence was completely God's plan and perfect timing. She is our "unexpected gift", and she is also an amazing blessing from God. We still can not believe that He would choose to entrust her precious life to us!

As much as our lives are about God's action and our response, so her name represents His action of blessing us and our response of presenting that blessing back to Him for His glory's sake. We pray that God would enable us to be parents who would raise our daughter in such as way that she would grow to know and love Jesus unhindered by us.

Halle, we are so grateful God chose to bless us with you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 14, 2010

I celebrated my 23rd birthday (June 14, 2009) in Hawaii and I distinctly remember thinking "I wonder if we'll ever be able to top this?" I'm pretty sure I even blogged something to that effect.

On October 6, 2009, we discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant. After 6 positive pregnancy tests and two blood tests later, we accepted it to be true (and we were utterly amazed that God would choose to bless us with a child!)

October 27, 2009 was the first day we saw our "little peanut", so named because she was precisely the size of a peanut on the ultrasound picture. It was amazing to imagine that such a tiny grouping of cells could (and would) become a baby in 33 weeks (and it was exactly 33 weeks to the day from that first ultrasound!).

On January 26, 2010 we learned that our little peanut had grown into a baby girl! Not just any baby girl either - the most perfectly formed (and beautiful) baby girl we could have prayed for.

June 14, 2010 promised to be a good day. Jim had taken the day off from work (in honor of my birthday) and we were going to celebrate with a lazy day. We went to breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants "Ripples". During the drive to the restaurant, I noticed I was contracting again (see previous pregnancy posts!) but these contractions felt different.

Halfway through breakfast I realized the contractions were VERY different and I lost all interest in eating (which was very sad because I had ordered my favorite french toast - yes, the leftovers are sitting in our fridge!). They were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart and very irregular, but painful. Jim was concerned, but I stubbornly decided we should go grocery shopping. I was convinced that there was no way I could be in labor on my birthday (of every possible day this baby could be born!).

By the end of our grocery shopping (at Target and Costco), the contractions were between 2-5 minutes apart and growing more painful. Jim suggested we go home and relax, but instead I decided to clean our house. I also started sending text messages to my friend Shannon (who happened to be working as the lead nurse on the Birthcenter that day) about my day. She suggested I come in, but I was still in denial that this could be true labor.

Cleaning proved to be therapeutic, and my contractions spaced out to 5-7 minutes apart and grew less painful. I figured this meant we were in false labor, but just to test that theory, Jim and I went to the mall to walk around in air-conditioned comfort. By the time we made it across the mall, Jim was timing the contractions with his iPhone and we were anywhere from 2-4 minutes apart. Jim also recalls that I grew very flushed with each contraction and was radiating heat (and sweat - that part I do remember!)

We decided to leave the mall and head for the hospital. Once I got there, they took us to an exam room and left me to change. 30 seconds later they came back and instead decided I should just be admitted. I remember protesting this and pointing out that no one had checked me yet or even hooked me up to the monitor to see if I was really contracting. I remember Shannon coming in and saying "Daja, let's just have a baby"... but I was still in denial. This was my birthday, after all!

We were admitted around 5:00 PM. Jenny, a fellow nurse, started my IV and did my paperwork to prep for an epidural. The contractions weren't terrible, so I chose to wait on the epidural and Jim and I walked the halls for awhile. By 6:00 PM, Dr. H was in my room. I remember him sitting down and asking "What's the plan?" to which I responded "I want to go home". He laughed and decided to break my water instead. I don't think he realized I was serious!

I know I mentioned in previous blog posts that Baby girl had a lot of amniotic fluid (which is very good!) but I didn't realize exactly how much there was until Dr. H ruptured me. Baby girl's head was VERY low, so he had to push her head up to allow the fluid out. That part was *slightly* uncomfortable, but after Jenny cleaned up the original mess, I decided to sit up... and flooded the entire bed. It took three people to clean up the mess! I'm certain as well that I lost inches of my abdomen (and several pounds at least!) after the flood.

At 7:00 PM, I went ahead and got an epidural. The contractions still weren't as painful as I had anticipated they would be, but I was very fearful of a) being in labor for a long time and growing very tired and b) tearing badly. Bill was the anesthesiologist on and did a beautiful job on my epidural. I love getting my patients epidural because of how smoothly it makes their labor go afterwards, but I didn't realize until I had mine that after the epidural was the best I had felt the entire pregnancy! No pain, no nausea, no sore joints, no needing to pee every 5 seconds... just utter relaxation. Also I learned that a little Fentanyl goes a long way for me. I felt quite drunk the whole rest of the labor (turns out Bill may have hit a blood vessel on the way into the epidural space so a little Fentanyl was floating around my brain - and Dr. H pointed out that I was not drunk, but rather a little high!)

I was dilated 5/90%/0 after the epidural, which really wasn't much of a change from admit (4/90%/-1), so we started a little Pitocen to help. Apparently a small amount of Pitocen goes a long way, because exactly 1 hour and 45 minutes later I had progressed to 7/100%/+1. An hour after that, I started to notice the contractions again as dull pain in my tailbone. I remember telling Hilary and Rachel that I felt like a wuss, but "these contractions kinda hurt". They cleared everyone out of the room and sure enough, I was almost completely dilated and +2. The on-call anesthesiologist came in to give me a little extra medication in my epidural (which proceeded to make my legs completely numb but did nothing for the pain) and Dr. H came in.

Many of the details of that night were (and are) spotty, but I will never forget when Hilary said "Daja, it's time to have a baby!". I remember crying (not unusual these days!), holding Jim's hand and telling him "We're going to have a baby". I'm not sure if the reality of it sunk in then or not, but I remember being overwhelmed by the thought.

At 10:00 PM we started pushing. I never realized why my patients struggled with pushing despite my instructions to "push like you are having the largest bowel movement of your life" until I started to push. My legs were too numb for me to hold on my own so Hilary and Rachel each had one leg and Jim held my hand and rubbed my back. I was so numb that I had no idea if I was pushing correctly at all (or making any progress) but everyone in the room assured me that I was. And I must have been, because 27 minutes later Halle Arianne Brown entered the world.

Dr. H delivered her to her waist and then allowed me to reach down and pull her out the rest of the way myself. She immediately began crying (even before her chest had been delivered she was making trying to make noise!) but once I pulled her up to my chest her eyes met mine for the first time and she stopped crying. I remember telling Jim "She knows who I am!" in amazement.

I could not have been blessed with a better labor and delivery experience, and I am so grateful to each person who went out of their way to make it special for me. Hilary, Rachel, Nickole and Hailey all went out of their way as both my nurses and my friends to take the best care of Halle and me (from laboring me to working the cameras so Jim and I could enjoy the moment and even setting up a mini photo-shoot of Halle after her bath). Dr. H did a fabulous job - not only with putting up with me for the past nine months, but making my delivery a wonderful experience (he even will admit he had a great time at my delivery!).

Last year I thought I would never top spending my 23rd birthday in Hawaii. Thank you God, for proving me wrong... and blessing me with a daughter for my 24th.

Halle Arianne Brown
June 14, 2010 10:27 PM
7 lbs 3.4 oz, 19.5 in

Newborn Gallery

Here is Halle's birth annoucement on Kadlec Regional Medical Center's
website. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Halle Arianne Brown

Born June 14, 2010 at 10:27 pm.
7 lbs 3.4 oz, 19.5 in.
After 12 perfect hours of labor (and 27 short minutes of pushing!).

We are in love!

Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An anniversary and single digits...

Today marks the fifth anniversary of our first date and the fourth anniversary of Jim proposing. The above picture is us on this day last year... celebrating on a dinner cruise in Hawaii. Who would have guessed that exactly one year later we would be getting ready to welcome our firstborn into the world!

Today also marks the day that the baby widgit on our blog has graduated to single digits. We are down to less than 10 days until our due date! This week I am dilated to 3/60%/-2 (which means 3 cm, softening cervix, and a baby well-engaged into my pelvis). Every time Dr. H checks me we have progressed, and he always gives me the option to go in and "get the job done" (so to speak) but I have yet to be ready to do so. Part of me is MORE than ready to have this baby (especially when my back/pelvis/legs/whole body aches or I puke AGAIN in the shower or I finally get comfortable in bed only to have to pee or her foot gets lodged up under my rib and causes a horrible burning pain or I have to listen to my patients at work whine about their ailments - try all of that plus working a 12-hour shift!) but the other part of me isn't ready to give up our childless existence. To that end, Jim and I have been spending every possible day we can together enjoying the last few weeks of being "just us" - getting out of the house, going out to dinner, watching movies, going on trips, etc. We are more than excited to meet our little girl, but we will certainly miss this era of our marriage!

Speaking of work, tomorrow is my last scheduled day. I've been able to continue working full-time to this point and if Baby girl doesn't make her appearance before next week I'll have to continue picking up shifts. I have a very small amount of paid maternity leave that I am hoping to save for when Baby girl is here, but continuing to work 12-hour rotating shifts at the hospital is not fun when you are nine-months pregnant (especially when the majority of your patients are due AFTER you are!)

Here's to five wonderful years of being "just the two of us"... and to hoping we get to meet our beautiful little girl soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mommy at 35.5 weeks (May 18, 2010)

My friend and coworker Hillary did my maternity "photoshoot" and was able to capture some fabulous pictures of our rapidly-growing little family. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

38 Weeks

Here's a picture of the raffle at work. I love that my coworkers are
so stressed about losing out on the $27 pot.

We are 38 weeks today. I am dilated to 2 cm and 30% effaced, which
means Baby girl could come today or in a month. We're hoping for
sooner rather than later.