Monday, April 29, 2013

Dear Harper: Week 1

Dear Harper,

You have blessed our lives for an entire week today. We are both so grateful to have your healthy, happy self in our family. I have decided to write you letters as reminders of all of your special moments and hopefully someday you will read them and always remember how much you were loved from the start.

As I write this I have your baby monitor next to the computer and I am unsuccessfully trying not to tear up.

We brought you home from the hospital Wednesday afternoon. That day was one of the most nerve wrecking of your dad and my lives. We no longer had the security of all of the nurses and hospital staff. It was now just you, your dad and me. You road in the car so well and of course I sat in the back seat with you and held your hand. I needed your strength.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted you to sleep in your crib at night. The first few nights that did not last very long and we let you sleep in your infant rocker. The infant rocker may be your favorite place to be. Last night was the first night I did not sleep in your room and you have been such a big boy sleeping in your crib. I think you would sleep through the night if I were to let you but I know your tiny stomach needs food at least every four hours.

Feeding you is such a special time for me. Being able to look down at you while I supply you with all of the nourishment your little body needs is such a blessing. At the hospital you had very interest in eating and the nurses kept trying to get you to eat. I knew you were tired and would become a healthy eater as soon as you were ready. Boy was I right, once my milk fully came in we had to go see the lactation nurse at the birthing center. Calling you a snapping turtle would be an understatement. You would latch on and not let go until you fell asleep. The nurse got us on the right track and now your dad lovingly refers to you as “milk dud”. Our feedings end with both of us covered in milk and a big smile on your face.

You had your first doctor’s appointment on Friday. Your dad and I both took you and you were such a trooper. You have already surpassed your birth weight and now weigh in at 8lbs 8 oz. You even got your first shot. The doctor told us that you broke your collarbone during delivery. This breaks my heart but it will heal on its own.  It looks like we both got rather beat up that day. I know I am still recovering.

You are such a happy baby. Tears typically mean you have a very wet diaper or are just in need of some extra cuddles. You do tend to get fussy when it is time for me to eat dinner. The infant swing with lullabies seems to do the trick. You like to be swaddled for bedtime but apparently only when your dad does it. I promise I will get better at it.

You have had so many visitors in your first week of life. There is so much love in this world for you already. You get to meet your grandma Carole today. She drove 10 hours to see your chubby checks and give you even more love.

It is time for your next feeding and from what I can hear on the baby monitor a fresh diaper.

I love you Harper. I always will.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Harper's Birth Story

Geoff and I are very happy to annouce that our son, Harper Glen Roe, was born April 22nd at 6:54pm. 

Sunday morning I woke up after an unrestful nights sleep not feeling very well, almost like I was coming down with the flu. I was very achy and exhausted. I stayed home all day and attempted to get rest. Starting around 4pm contractions began to occur at a regular basis but they averaged 9 minutes apart for 30 seconds. I continued to labor at home until 10pm when the contractions averaged 5 minutes apart and one minute long. At this point we packed the car and headed to the birthing center. 

Once we arrived at The Regency, we were checked into triage. In triage, my vitals were taken and I was hooked up to monitors that check the babies heartbeat as well as my contractors. A nurse checked to see how dilated I was and to our surprise I was not dilated at all. I had been fully effaced for over a week and knowing that I wasn't dialted took us both by surprise. The nurse had us walk laps inside the facility for an hour to move labor along. The walking was tiring and the contractions continued but when the nurse checked my status I had not progressed. Three hours after arriving, we were sent home and I was told to get a good nights rest.

Telling a woman in labor to get a good nights rest is a cruel request. I continued to have contracts that averaged 5 minutes apart all night. I would have the contraction and pass out until the next one arrived. It was exhausting but at least I was able to get some sleep. 

Contractions continued all morning but their duration and intensity continued and my water still had not broken. I had a doctor appointment at my OB office at 11:10am and the hospital told us to go to it as scheduled and my doctor would come up with a plan. 

Sitting in a doctor's waiting room and having contractions surrounded by other pregnant woman is a very unpleasant experience. At this point, I really just wanted to deliver the baby. Even if it was in the waiting room.

The nurse went through the standard questions and checking of vitals before I saw the doctor.  I have never been so happy to see someone as I was when my doctor walked in. I told her I wanted to have the baby now. She checked my progress and to my surprise I was 4 centimeters. She told us to head over to The Regency and we were going to have a baby today. Bring on the tears of joy.

We made a slight detour before pulling into the hospital. I decided I needed a blue Powerade from Sonic since I hadn't eaten recently and knew I wasn't supposed to eat anything from here on out. I hate powerade but it seemed like the most practical decision at the time. 

Once at The Regency, we were checked into room 212. We were going to have a baby! More vitals were taken and test were run. The contractions were still coming on strong and my emotions were high.  I was very anxious but ready to proceed.

The anesthesia doctor came in to discuss my blood work. I knew this wasn't going to be good news but never thought that not having an epidural would have to be an option. My blood platelet count was below average and borderline too low to have an epidural. Some doctors wont administer it because having a low platelet count reduces your bodies ability to clot and if the epidural needle or catheter were to nick anything in my back, it may not be able to clot on its own. During the conversation my doctor walked in and with her knowing my lack of pain tolerance we came to the decision that I needed to proceed with an epidural. 

My doctor then broke my water. The sensation of this was unlike anything I could have ever anticipated. Then the contractions came on strong. It wasn't for another 45 minutes that the doctor came to administer my epidural. Geoff really had to help me breath through the contractors and try to relax in between. 

The epidural procedure was quicker and not as painful as I anticipated. The doctor did a great job and the hardest part was having to breath through my contractions while he worked. It took about 15 minutes for the epidural took effect but I knew pain relief was on its way. 

Over the next few hours I was able to relax as contractions passed. Some of the contractions I wasn't able to feel unless Geoff told me he could see one on the monitor. I was able to get my energy back and mentally prepare to push. When I was 9 centimeters dilated, I had to start breathing through my contractions and most of the feelings in my legs returned. I was quick to request the doctor to return and figure out my pain management options. 

The doctor added additional pain medicine to my IV. Everyone takes to an epidural differently and it is hard for the doctor to estimate how it will effect your body. I knew with the current level of pain, not having additional medicine was going to be intense. I wasn't aware how intense the next two hours were going to be even with the additional medicine.

At 5:30pm it was time to start pushing. Nothing can prepare you for the effort and process of pushing a baby out of the womb. You loose all modesty and control of emotions. The next hour and ten minutes of pushing were the most exhausting, tiring, intense and painful moments of my life. The fact that it is a two steps forward, one step back process becomes very frustrating. I knew I was so close to having our baby in my arms but the exhaustion and pain kept having me ask how much longer or what was a plan b if this baby didn't want to be pushed out. Most of the pushing happens with the labor and delivery nurse and thank goodness mine was amazing. My OB would come in to check on our progress but when it was time for her to deliver the baby she came in in a full splash guard outfit. I was not sure what to expect.

The last set of pushing is the largest roller coaster of emotions I have every experienced. I was beyond tired and screaming in pain. I could feel his head so close to being in our world and at that moment nothing else matters. Once his head passed, then his shoulders, body and legs he was placed on my chest. Nothing could have stopped the tears. I have never been happier. 40 weeks of pregnancy could not prepare you for the love that fills your heart at that moment. Our family of two was officially a family of three. We had a baby boy. Our lives were forever changed. 

The next moments are now all a blur. The nurses took Harper to the warming table to check all of his vitals and a pediatrician cleared his lungs. I recall telling Geoff to go over to the baby and take pictures. I also recall them saying his weight and gasping at the 8lbs 7oz number. I didn't think it was right but the fact that my OB was stitching me back up made it a reality. We had a big, healthy baby. 

Harper Glen Roe was born. We stayed in the delivery room for the next few hours. I had a fever and we all needed to regain strength. 

We remained in the hospital for a total of 48 hours. My OB, the nursing staff and all of the employees were so amazing. I got tough love from the labor and delivery team and a lot of TLC from the Mom and Baby nurses. Everyone was very helpful.

We were so grateful for all of our family and friends that came to visit us. It is so great to see all of the love for Harper already. I can't believe he is almost a week old already.