Tuesday, August 30, 2011

She's here!

I was MIA for a week or so there and for a very good reason..

Dahlia Jane Culpepper 
August 23, 2011
7:46 a.m.
8 lbs, 6 oz.
21 inches long

We are completely in love with her.
I get it now.
All the stereotypical things parents say about the feeling you have when your baby is born, I now understand and feel.
She couldn't be more perfect.
And she couldn't be more adored.

Here are the details of the day that started with me peeing at midnight and ended with me holding my answer to prayer in my arms..

At 11:50 something on August 22, I got up to pee. As was my nightly routine, this was just the first of many trips to the bathroom..or so I thought.  I remember being VERY tired. So much so, that I almost fell asleep while in the bathroom.  I returned to bed to lie down and instantly I felt like I had wet my pants. Which was very confusing to me since I had just returned from the bathroom. Then it dawned on me : my water had broken...I thought.  I looked at the clock, 12:00 a. m. .  I woke John up and told him that a.) either my water broke or b.) "sorry! I just peed the bed!".  I went to the bathroom  and just stood there trying to figure out if my water had really broken or not. I was going in circles, literally and saying to myself, "Is this it?  No it couldn't be! What do I do now??"  Then a gush of water. "Yep, this is it!"
Here is the progression of what happened at our house during the next 10 minutes:

Me:  "John, I am getting in the shower, hurry up and get ready!"
John: Stares blankly at me and then runs to the other bathroom..literally runs.
10 minutes later:  he was MIA.  Or so it seemed..he was doing something, I'm not sure what he was doing but I couldn't find him. 
 Not important because 5 minutes later  we were in the car and I was surrounded by towels.  5 minutes after that, we were at the hospital and John ran into the ER to get a wheelchair and ran out and when I say ran out I mean RAN OUT. Like lightening speed ran out.  
(He was doing  a lot of running that night)
He wheeled me in, and we told the ER people I was in labor. The ER nurse looks at me and says, "it doesn't look like you are in labor." Then, I mentally slapped her a little bit. I showed her the wet towel between my legs and proved it to her. I think she got the point.
I was checked into the OB floor and my mystery fluid was tested and indeed it was the good stuff, amniotic fluid.
This was the point when the nurse left the room and I started crying.
Not because I was scared. (Well, maybe a tiny bit)
Not because I wasn't ready, because I was definitely ready.
I think it was just so REAL to me at that moment that THIS was the day I was having our Dahlia.
I can't explain the feeling. It was just amazing and overwhelming. 
They checked me. I was a 5-6 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced.
Progress! The last I had heard (the previous Thursday) I was a 5 and 70% effaced.

For the next few hours my contractions grew closer and stronger.
I had gone into this with this as my goal: to go without medicine for as long as possible and hopefully not have any at all.  At 7 centimeters I was in a lot of pain. I was on the birthing ball for about a half hour, which helped a little. It relieved a lot of the pressure but still, it hurt! I asked for the epidural. I was upset that I was asking for it and really didn't want it. I just didn't like the pain.  Before going into this, I had prayed and told God that I really wanted to do this naturally. I asked him if that was what he wanted me to do, to make it impossible for me to get it when the time came, if I asked for it.  So here we are, I am asking for it. I was asking John if he was disappointed in me a lot. I was upset with myself for some reason. Who knows why. I was tired  and I was hoping I could do it sans meds. I didn't take the pain medication because I usually  get nauseas on pain medication. The thought of nausea on top of heinous contractions didn't seem pleasant. I was taking my chances and I'm glad I did.
Next, I got back into bed and rested.  I was beginning to get very tired.
They were calling the anesthesiologist and doing all of the things they have to do before administering an epidural. The last thing being, they checked my cervix.  This is where things turned.
I wasn't a 7.
I was a 9, almost a 10 and completely effaced. In about 15 minutes I had dilated 3 1/2 centimeters!
No time for an epidural.
I knew as painful as it was, I knew this was the way it was supposed to be and was thankful for this answer to prayer. I wasn't shouting the praises of God at that moment or anything but I knew in my heart that I was going to do this and that it was possible. 
So for the next two hours I was all business.
I had a wonderful team of nurses who were encouraging, helpful and positive. They were very sweet.
John was unbelievable. He  was completely encouraging. If he was scared by my screaming and moaning, he didn't show it. He was a rock. He was positive. He was tender. He was THERE.
I couldn't have asked for a better partner and coach.
My doctor, Dr. Carson, had her game face on too but amidst her seriousness, she was a great leg holder and an amazingly motivating doctor.
During that time they put an internal fetal monintor in (yes, IN) Dahlia's precious little head to make sure they could monitor her heart beat during this intense time of pushing. I am sure it was pretty intense for Dahlia too! Poor little thing.
During the two hours, I tried 4 methods of pushing.
The bar that attches to your bed and you sort of hang from it and bear down, then  the "oh crap handles" as John calls them. I pulled on a towel that John had in his hands and then the legs up, push the baby out at all costs position. I'm sure there is a more technical term for it but that's what I call it.
By the time my doctor came in I had  been pushing for an hour.
I got a little pep talk telling me I was going to have this baby because another hour of pushing with no baby would result in a c-section. This is when I got super serious. No C for me!

For the next hour, I pushed. When I say I pushed, let me just say I PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHED.
I got petechiae on my shoulders, neck and face (see here for an explanation, it's not super gross or anything, promise)
With two ex-military people holding onto each leg, coaching, counting and patting my legs to relax me, I was being motivated  on and on to keep on going.  I told John to shut up a lot and then would apologize in  between contractions.
During the last half hour of pushing, I began to pass out between my contractions. Then I'd wake up and push. Finally after another half hour of pushing, pushing, pushing, I saw the nurses setting up all the "gear" for birth. Dr. Carson let go of my leg, sat down at the end of the bed and started to coach from there.
Within 5 minutes, I was being told to feel my baby's head (which I didn't! I couldn't I was ready to have her head out!). Then Viola!
Dahlia Jane was born at 7:46 a.m. on August 23rd.
Friends and family who were in the waiting room down the hall through closed metal doors heard the final scream that I gave when she came out. I wasn't one of those quiet women during childbirth. I couldn't be a Scientologist at all.
Anyway, she was HERE!
This moment cannot be explained, the moment that they placed her on my chest and she had her little thumb in her mouth, and her other hand up by her face, when her eyes met mine and stayed there.  I was thankful.  I was elated. I was relieved. I was amazed, I was in love.
John was ecstatic. He was hysterical, in a good way.

"We have a baby! She's here!" *he kisses me* "Look at her sweet face!" *he kisses her*  
"I can't believe it! You did it! "*he kisses me*.

The next hour is a blur. 
 I watched my daughter get her first bath by my husband, I nursed her for the first time, I watched family and close friends cry over her and adore her.
After everyone had left and it was just me and my husband and my daughter, I had that feeling of being complete. The feeling of basking in a long moment of God's faithfulness was precious.  It was surreal. It was awesome.
I will never forget that moment, the moment  where I was holding the answer to my prayers in my arms, holding my miracle.

I could go on and on about the awesomeness of my stay at the hospital.
I was treated like a queen. My daughter was adored by the staff. John was waited on hand and foot too. Friends came to wish us well and love on our girl.
 Our first few days home have been great!
We went home a day and a half later and have been learning the ropes since then. I am learning to cherish  sleep like never before! Dahlia is nursing well, she has had no problems and is a sweet, sweet baby. We are truly blessed and are so very happy that she is ours. 

not doing so well here..

all better (for a minute)

This is right before I started pushing

sweet little swollen baby.
An 8 pounder! Now it made sense why it hurt so much!

daddy gives her a bath

sweet baby toes

holding hands for the first time

Nurse Robin doing the stats

"fearfully and wonderfully made" indeed!

For this child I prayed; and the Lord has given me my the desire of my heart

1 Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let's take a little journey, shall we??

So..... We are really close to seeing this little face!
I can't even stand how beautiful and cute and perfect she is already.
I know I am partial but seriously, she's way extra cute.
She has my chin. I like that.

I'm 38 1/2 weeks today.  I feel a little extra round. Actually, really crooked. Her butt is up on top and her body is to the left. Head down and feet to the right. Today, I have felt her knees and elbows stickin' out which is nice. She has slowed down with her movements a lot.  It hurts when she moves sometimes but I miss all those flips and flops she used to do a lot. She gets the hiccups frequently. It's cute. ESPECIALLY after praise and worship at church. She is trying to sing, I just know it!
  Her lungs are growing and getting lots of exercise :)
Her head feels like it want to come out. That's the only way I can say it without getting graphic and use awkward body part names that would make you burp.
But you get the picture, yes?
I had a 3 hour stint of REAL contractions last Saturday. I thought that this was it but it wasn't. She's just doing things a little at a time. Which, I very much appreciate. I think and hope that will make labor and delivery just a little easier.
At my last dr.'s visit, I was dilated to 4cm and 60-70% effaced and she was at -1 station. 
If you need a "station tutorial" click HERE.

 It's  going to happen soon. 
Early? Maybe. Overdue, who knows. It's possible. I am hoping for the former not the latter.
 The good news is: she has to come out VERY soon.
We are getting so close!

So let's just take a little journey through my pregnancy, shall we?

6 weeks 
I thought I was starting to show here:
but really I was still skinny and just bloated... And I had a waist. What's that again??

2 months:

 3 months:
 just a little bitty pooch, still thought it was huge. And it was, for me. Oh! And this was the picture that started a facebook hubbub about me possibly carrying twins. REALLY? I looked "normal" I think.
Silly facebookers!

4 months:
this was when she was the size of an avacado and my 
hair started to get all 70's-esque on me.It was fluffy and I had wings.

5 months:
Again, I was still learning how to deal with the pregnancy poofy, thick hair here.

 6 months:
This is when I felt pregnant but not "great with child"
This was a good stage :)

7 months:
We got our maternity pics done..

..love them.

 8 months:
 Lookin' stripey here.

And HELLLLLOOOOO 9 months:
I love this kid. I love that she just sticks right out.
What a doll baby.

I will gladly lose my waist anyday (i.e.: 9 months) for this cause.
I will gladly sleep little bits here and there because of hip pain and random hot flashes.
I would gladly wait again to have a pregnancy that has been this easy, this amazing, this celebrated and this joyful. I have LOVED being pregnant. And while my belly will soon feel empty, I cannot wait to have full arms.

Annny day now..

Monday, August 15, 2011

A great way to start your week..

A few things that started my week off with a smile:

Great advice:

Great Outfit:

Great Breakfast

Great (and precious) Promise

Great Standard

'Hope you are choosing to start your week off in a GREAT way!

Happy Monday :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Let me tell ya'..

..what it's like to be 9 months pregnant and catch a stomach virus.

a.) I felt like my baby was going to come out of my mouth
    Poor thing. She just stopped moving as soon as I started..well, you know, puking. And since this was the first time throwing up my entire pregnancy, I was even MORE thankful that I had never experienced morning sickness of any kind. I just had the blahs. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. YIKES!

b.) It's awkward x 25
Almost NOT making it to the bathroom when you are going to..well, you know, puke, is a challenge when you aren't pregnant but then imagine a watermelon stuffed in your belly, trying to get down to the toilet and then just, well, you know, puke.. DOUBLE YIKES! Getting up from the floor was an entirely different situation. Never had a bathroom floor looked so amazing and inviting to lie down on before. Much more preferable than trying to find a way up..

c.) Don't mess around with the dehydration!
 Poor baby D. She didn't know what to do. I started puking and she stopped moving. I ended up going to the hospital to get some fluids and have them check her out too which sent her back into normalcy again. I'm still trying to play catch up with my hydration.  My body is trying to hold onto every fluid possible now which results in sausage fingers.. awesome.


d.) It gives you perspective
Even though I know I will be tired and drained in the coming weeks with a new infant, at least (please, Jesus) I will be healthy. I am glad I didn't have other kids to care for during this flu!
And as always, you find a new appreciation for what "normal" feels like after something like that.

Yay for health!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Be thankful

"Thank your friends for their consistency, balance, perspective, kindness and even their differences."

Read more at Surrender Story

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Protect your friendships

This is the next to last day of the friendship series. I think it could possibily go on for eternity. I'm constantly learning new things about relationships and how to be a good friend but I know not all of what I learn will be standard for everyone.  I hope that you have gleaned a little something from these 8 posts. Tomorrow it will be the end of it..until I get very inspired to write this much again. Don't know that I will have the time for it for a couple of months..

"Protect your friendships against idle conversation. There is a definite difference between just chatting and catching up (which is great!) and pumping one another for information and gossip. It can be fine line sometimes. A line that, once it's crossed, is very hard to back up and uncross! "   Read on..

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Keep it simple

Just. Be. A. Friend.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Real or bust, words on vulnerability..

Day 6 on Surrender Story. Check it out here.

 Just be yourself. Be real. Invest and be consistent and
 Love others as you love yourself..
Mark 12:31