Friday, January 19, 2018

Henry's Birth Story

It seems that sharing "birth stories" has become trendy these days and honestly I didn't think I would jump on the bandwagon, but if I have learned anything from being pregnant and being a mom for three weeks, it's that support and encouragement and help from others is more than necessary to get through this. So, if sharing my story can help someone relate now or in the future to my experience, then I will share, because going through this process is not something to do alone and it's not at all easy and you should know (as I am still teaching myself daily and will be apparently for the next 18 years), that it takes strength and perseverance and complete faith. And now that I am a complete softie mom, it takes moms helping other moms every step of the way (shout out to the random mom in the Nordstrom Mother's Lounge simply offering a smile when I was obviously struggling to get my nursing cover on!!).

I could not have made it through the past 10 months without the love and help of those around me- my mom and sister being the most help, but also friends from church and elsewhere, my coworkers, friends on Instagram and even coworkers of my husband and mom. Thank you once again!

And now for the juicy part... 

Around my 36th week of pregnancy, my blood pressure started to rise and I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension, meaning a high blood pressure caused by pregnancy (I didn't and don't have high blood pressure normally). My due date was January 6 but I was taken out of work to stay home and rest around mid December, with the plan to induce me before 39 weeks, but as close to 39 weeks as possible. The two weeks at home pre-baby and right around Christmas was pretty nice. I never wanted to have a baby this close to Christmas, but it was a little too late for that now! The week between Christmas and New Years was my 38th week so we decided to plan the induction for December 26th, a Tuesday. Knowing when we were going into the hospital was kind of perfect for my controlling-self who loved the ability to get the house all clean, new sheets on the bed, and everything in perfect position for our return home with a new baby. We were able to enjoy the holiday and the last time with my family before we welcomed the newest member, and it was truly a special time.

We were told to come into the hospital at 10pm on December 26th to start the induction. Les  (my husband) went to work that day, I rested, and then we went out to our favorite local restaurant for our "last supper"! Driving to the hospital, with our bags and car seat in the back, was surreal. Les looked at me and said "I have never felt like more of a grown-up". It was really a special moment for both of us.

We went up to the 6th floor, where the triage and labor & delivery unit were. The first room we were in was shared, but we were only there for an hour to be checked in before moving to the Antepartum unit. It was another shared room, but the nurse said since there was no patient in the other bed, Les could sleep there for the night, which was great news. Around 11:45pm, they started the initial process by administering Misoprostol- a medication that helps to soften the cervix (helps to dilate) and initiate contractions. My contractions began immediately and came every 5 minutes, but not yet painful. About an hour later, I developed cramping, which is expected with this medication as the cervix softens but was a bit more painful as they progressed. At this point, I began to realize that getting a restful night of sleep was not happening. Around 1:30am, the nurse came in and started IV fluids and asked me to roll over to my other side in bed. She told me the baby's heart rate was dropping with each contraction and they needed to attempt some maneuvers to stop this from happening. This didn't work, so around 2am, they placed an oxygen mask on me, which finally helped the fetal heart rate decelerations (would allow the baby to receive more oxygen). I was able to take this off about an hour later as things improved.

Around 4am, the resident doctor returned to check the progress of my cervix. I was only 2cm dilated, which is not as much as they expected or had hoped for. They told me they would need to place a Cooks Catheter in my cervix to help with mechanical dilation and speed the process up. The catheter would either stay in for a maximum of 12 hours or fall out sooner if it did its job to dilate. I have a high pain tolerance and let me tell you, this was very painful! As soon as the doctor left the room, I began sobbing. Up until now, due to the heart rate drops, they wouldn't let me have any pain medication so as not to worsen things. I was really uncomfortable and this catheter made things significantly worse. By 5am, an hour later, the doctor finally approved a dose of IV Fentanyl and Benadryl. I was so thankful and this actually helped me sleep until about 7:45am. For the rest of the morning, it was pretty much Les and I hanging out in our room, watching tv, and waiting on things to progress.

Around noon, the nurse came in and asked me what my plan was for an epidural and if I had thought about it. I had no clue if asking for one "this early" made me look like a big baby or if it was time! I stuck it out for another hour and a half (because I honestly didn't want to seem pathetic, which was a huge mistake!) and around 1:30pm, finally asked for the epidural. They moved me into the Labor and Delivery unit, where we had a big private room. There was a nice couch for Les to sleep on, too. The anesthesiologist placed the epidural without difficulty around 2:30pm AND IT WAS LIKE HEAVEN! Holy smokes, I am a believer! They removed the Cooks Catheter around 4pm, as it still had not dilated me as much as they hoped. After the epidural, because you can't get up and walk around after that, they placed a urinary catheter (after being pregnant for 9 months, not feeling the urge to pee constantly for once was amazing!) They began the IV Pitocin (a synthetic version of the hormone Oxytocin, which causes your uterus to contract during labor) around that time but it was ok, because I could not feel a thing; however, when they told us the Pitocin could take another 24-48 hours till delivery we were so disheartened (initially my outpatient doctor made it sound like the entire induction from start to delivery would be no longer than 48 hours- we didn't know the first part was all just preparation!). I am so glad I asked for the epidural when I did looking back!

The rest of the afternoon and early evening was a blur for me. The baby's heart rate continued to decelerate at the end of every contraction, but still at a manageable rate and not anything life threatening. They moved me a lot in bed, placed oxygen on and off, and continued pumping IV fluids. More doctors started coming into the room more frequently- I saw the attending a lot! My family visited me around 8pm, figuring it would likely be well into the next day before baby boy arrived. Around 9pm, the attending was going to artificially rupture my membranes (ie make my water break) but I was still not dilated enough. At 11pm, my water broke on its own in bed. WHAT a weird feeling! The baby's heart rate continued to drop with each, more frequent contraction and the nurses and doctors were in and out of my room almost every 5-10 minutes checking me, turning the Pitocin on and off, turning me in bed, etc. They determined something was likely compressing the umbilical cord, so they even tried re-instilling fluid back into the space between the baby and cord, using another catheter, to relieve the compression/create a cushion, but this did not work. Around 1am, the attending came to speak to Les and I and informed us the baby was simply not tolerating labor and the safest and best decision would be to proceed with a c-section. We were obviously agreeable to this.

Les quickly called both his and my families. He was given a jumpsuit, hat, and shoe covers to wear for the OR and quickly gowned up. We were prepped and taken to the OR. For a c-section, they pump extra Fentanyl into your epidural so you are still awake, but can't feel anything but light pressure from the waist down. Les sat by my head behind the curtain- I am still surprised he didn't faint!

At 2:28am on December 28, 2018, our son Hendrick Johnson Eisel was born! He weighed 8lbs, 7oz and was 20.5 inches long! Oh my...that first little cry brought a tear to my eyes. Les helped bring him over to the warmer with the nurse, all while snapping photos at the anesthesiologist's direction:) I could turn my head to the left to see our little guy- so adorable with a full head of hair! He passed his initial testing with flying colors!

The next two hours were extremely hard for me. Due to the effects of the anesthesia, I had a very severe shiver and was shaking uncontrollably. It was so uncomfortable and painful. They offered medication to combat this, but it would make me more drowsy- something I didn't want right before meeting my son. As they closed up my incision on the table, I could barely breathe and kept having to ask for more oxygen. It was pretty uncomfortable.

They brought me to recovery, where I finally got to see our son but the shivers continued and our initial time together was really hard. My sweet family came in to see me- at 3:30am! They visited quickly, before we were brought back to postpartum. The nurses offered to take Henry to the nursery for a few hours so we could sleep and although I felt so guilty to say yes, this was the best offer I could imagine at that point. Due to the c-section, we didn't get that initial immediate skin-to-skin time, nor did I get to attempt breastfeeding him immediately. In the nursery, he actually had low blood sugar so they had to give him some formula to boost that. They also wanted to monitor him for a bit as he was grunting in the recovery room- a sign of respiratory distress in newborns- but his oxygen levels and color were fine so they passed it off as just a noisy baby!

Since that was "delivery day", we stayed in the hospital for 4 days after that and left on New Year's Day 2018. During those days, Henry's weight dropped more than 11% from his birth weight (which was likely inflated from all the fluids I had, but hindsight is 20/20 and I guess they don't factor that in?) and his bilirubin was elevated at the 3-day check so we had to fix those issues, but are thankful they happened in the hospital and not at home. He pooped a few times on day one, but then didn't move his bowels again for about 3 days, which is how they excrete the bili. For these reasons, and because he was not latching well at our attempts to breastfeed, they had me start supplementing with formula immediately. Our "feeding" journey so far has been difficult and there is more information on that than I have room for here! It's something that I know a lot people struggle with and if you are reading this, please know the struggle is not alone.

Henry is doing wonderfully now. He has regained all his weight and more and is such an amazing little boy. There have been no repercussions from the distress he was in during labor and we are so thankful for a happy and healthy son.

All in all, I would say my labor and delivery was challenging, but it is funny to look back now and realize how small that was in the grand scheme of things! To have a little baby in my arms makes it all seem worthwhile. I am so thankful for a husband who was by my side every step of the way to support, encourage, and comfort me. I could not have gotten through our hospital stay and the first two weeks after without him!

The real journey is only just beginning but I am excited for each obstacle and challenge that lies before me, because I know God has so much work to do in my heart and in my life through Henry.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Week 38 Update & the Hospital Bag

Since this is likely my last post (ok definitely my last) before we meet the newest member of our family, I wanted to provide one more update about the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

First of all, I can't even believe I have made it to 38 weeks (as of tomorrow, December 23). Thinking about 9 months of pregnancy when we first found out we were expecting in May was simply unfathomable. I can't believe we have made it through almost 4 seasons waiting for this little baby to grow. And I can't believe that on a daily basis now, I am literally carrying around a full grown newborn inside of me. Am I the only one who finds that crazy? God is amazing and the fact that this baby has gone from pea size to now (according to my handy-dandy app) the size of WINTER MELON (how appropriate, but what even is a winter melon?) is nothing more than a miracle.

I am so unbelievably thankful for all that God has provided to us during this time (a supportive and loving family, my husband completing grad school just this month, health, anything we could need and want for this baby, etc) and know full well that it is only by His grace that we have any of it. As we enter Christmas weekend, I just sit here with a heart full of joy and gratitude for a Savior who sent His Son to be born and die on a cross so that we could be free and live eternally with Him. There are so many people dealing with so much right now- sickness, death, brokenness, job loss, etc- and trust me, my family has not been immune to this, but to think that we have a God who has promised that this life and these sufferings are only temporary and the future of eternity with our Lord is more than just a hope is enough of a reassurance for me to face another day. I hope that you find comfort in this as well.

Alright, now onto the real reason you visited this page today...

Month/Trimester: 38 weeks/9th month/third trimester...THE END.

Baby name: we have it all picked out, but don't want to share till he's here! 

Belly: I officially think that I had an early belly growth spurt and pop. I was showing early on but now I have definitely plateaud (probably not a word) and even though it is definitely large, many people comment that I don't look like I am at the end, while early on several people would tell me how big I was. This is my analysis anyways. If you think I am a large whale, don't comment :)

Symptoms: So as of December 12, which was my 36th week, I was diagnosed with Gestational Hypertension and advised to stop working. My blood pressures had been 130s/80s for the majority of my pregnancy and at one point, if you remember, it did shoot up past 140/90 at an office visit and I spent a short amount of time in the hospital maternity ER. It went back down but then increased again around week 35. I started seeing only physicians, rather than the midwives, as I was then deemed "high risk". I had two fetal growth scans which were both normal...actually, my kid was measuring in the 84th percentile already and at 35 weeks was already 7 lbs (GOOOOD), so there was definitely no concern for decreased fluid or blood flow to the baby causing him to be underdeveloped. When I saw the doctor on Dec 11, he advised that from that point on I stop working to keep my BP where it was and limit exertion, see him twice a week for checks and non stress tests, and plan for an early induction around week 38-39 unless the pressure gets worse in the interim. Staying home from work at this point was definitely not part of my "plan", as I wanted to be able to use my full 12 weeks of maternity leave AFTER he was here, but now that I am 1.75 weeks into being home, I am so grateful for my time to be able to rest and enjoy the quiet moments before our life changes forever! It has been worth it and I know that it has been best for me and for him. Each doctor visit and non stress test has been fine and I am officially going to be induced on Tuesday December 26th! It is not pre-eclampsia otherwise they would have brought me in ASAP.

Other than this, my hip pain isn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago. I just pee frequently and have been having off and on trouble sleeping (like every other or every 2 nights I wake up in the middle of the night). And my swelling, although there, is SO much better than when it was hot outside.

I have occasional reflux as well.

Maternity clothes: I am at the point where one of my maternity athletic leggings are too tight for me!'s definitely the end. Otherwise, only having a few wardrobe items to choose from when packing for the holiday or choosing what to wear is actually nice...not as much stress on "I have nothing to wear". 

Baby prep: It's all done, baby! I even hired a really good house cleaner (finally!) who came on Monday and made my house all clean! My biggest challenge of the week has been making sure the clean is preserved till we get home from the hospital! The nursery is complete, the freezer meals have been cooked, the car seat is in the car, the hospital bag by the door, and the house stocked with some essentials. There is nothing left but to wait! 

Essentials right now: water, my Snoogle, occasionally Prilosec, Red Raspberry tea (tones the cervix to make labor faster...hahah! stay tuned for more on that...). 

My to-do list for the next few weeks: well, my to- do list for the next few days is to enjoy Christmas with my family and be on spontaneous labor watch. And the next few weeks? Well figure out life with a newborn! Ha! 

What is in my hospital bag? Alright so I am posting this not so people can tell me "you won't need that", but to have a record of what I did pack so I can go back and let you know what I found most helpful for the future and for others planning this as well. I have one bag packed and if I don't use a certain item, or 5, then so be it!

For me:
-black lightweight Jersey robe
-black pjs from Target- this Ribbed Henley Top and matching shorts
-black yoga pants
-two plain t-shirts
-this very comfortable nursing bra
-two nursing tanks (one to wear home under a zip up)
-this Aerie Sweatshirt- which is SO cozy and currently only $25!!- to wear home
-these cozy Aerie Pom Pom Socks
-black leggings to wear home
-two pairs large brief undies, although I hear hospital net underwear is all the rage
-toiletries, including breastfeeding cream and pads, chapstick, shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash, deodorant, toothbrush and paste
-snacks: a few Kind bars, a bag of peanut butter filled pretzels, and gummy bears and Twizzlers (my husband's favorite)
-long cell phone charger
-cheap black Old Navy flip flops
-my camera

(our hospital provides things like pads, ice packs, peri bottles, etc, so I won't bring those. Also, I hear many people say they never used their nursing pillow in the hospital, so also leaving that home)

For baby:
-a footed onesie for going home (L'oved Baby) 
-extra onesie and pants in case I can't decide
-a pair of socks, mittens, and knitted booties
-a Hannah Anderson bonnet
-a knit hat from my mom
-a quilted one piece down suit from Gap...SO CUTE!
-a swaddle (mostly for pictures, as I know the hospital will provide these as well)
-his UPPABaby Mesa Car Seat and this JJ Cole Bundle Me are in the car

and for my husband...he hasn't even packed yet so I am not even going to bother with that! :)

Alright, wish me luck! And someone please provide written instructions on how to have a care for a baby and mail them to me. I think I might need that.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nursery Tour

When I started thinking about what I wanted my nursery to look like after we first found out we were pregnant, I really didn't think we would go with a theme. As with everything in my house, I envisioned neutral tones, cozy textures (he would be a winter baby after all!), and a little mix of modern and vintage. Then I decided I really wanted to incorporate wallpaper on one of the walls and after searching for days for the perfect 'boy' pattern that I wouldn't get sick of in a few months, kept with my neutral look, but was also appropriate for a nursery, I ended up landing on the Whale Migration Wallpaper from Anthropologie. Quickly my lack of theme turned into an "under the sea" theme. Coming from a family who has grown up at the beach, loving every moment and memory we have by the sea, it seemed only appropriate that this room would reflect that major part of our life and something we hope our son will find room in his heart for as well. When my mom discovered the French stuffed sea creature brand, Big Stuffed, it pretty much sealed the deal. Keep scrolling to see our favorite new octopus and whale...

With the wallpaper being the main focus of the room, I kept everything else primarily in white and natural tones. The ceiling light, ottoman, and crib bring in some modern elements, yet the dresser kept with my love for antiques. The wallpaper was not difficult to put up...for me at least! Thank goodness my engineer Dad was around to make the calculations and measure three times, cut once...unlike me who would have cut once and regretted three times. My mom and I just pretended to help, slapped some glue on, but mostly talked too much while he was trying to think! (we might have been told to leave the room once or twice hehe)

Keep scrolling through to see more of our nursery tour as well as a few more snippets from me! 

I think one of my favorite things in the room is the mobile that my dad constructed (multi-purpose for use at our baby shower and the nursery!) out of some rope, a $1 sewing hoop that was found at a flea market, and some wooden fish that were found at the Country Living Fair several years back. He added in the white piece at the top which plays "When You Wish Upon a Star" when dialed and brings a smile to my face everytime I hear it! 

Those building blocks are another favorite and were gifted to us by my friend (thanks, Tika!) from Land of Nod. The pictures and patterns on them are adorable and so well done. My mom bought the bike basket from Olliella, a brand from the UK. This is also where my sister purchased our changing basket, which I absolutely love and think is so unique! The wrap is from Solly Baby Wrap and the overalls from H&M. 

 The sweaters in the photo above mean so much to me: the grey one was knit by my mom (the soon-to-be Nanny) and is simply precious. The yellow one was knit by my grandmother (Nanny) when I was a baby and has been preserved to be passed onto our son. And the blue one (with bonnet) was also gifted to me by my mom from Luca and Lola, a beautiful line of Australian handmade knits. I can't wait for our little winter baby to wear them!

Sebastian the Lamb is from Cuddle and Kind, a company that provides 10 meals to children in need for every stuffed animal purchased. An adorable toy AND the ability to feed children is a win in my book. The tote is Pehr Designs. 

 Next up is the bear rug. Can you even believe that my mom knit this, too? She is absolutely amazing. Her vision is to see a little newborn laying on it but then as soon as he is old enough, to see him dragging it all over the place with him:) It is the softest, most adorable thing ever and it may not be "under the sea", but he is here to stay!! 

The rocker and reading side of this small, cozy room is probably my favorite corner. My dad made these photo/book ledges for us to display all our favorite reads. My mother-in-law has been sending us a few books a week ever since early pregnancy (which is the best idea ever!) and our library surely has grown! I love the illustrations on these and cannot wait to start reading them to our little guy! 

The curtains are from Anthropologie and the rug is from Target several years back. Oh and that pom pom knit blanket? My mom. What can't she do?!
 And finally we arrive to the focal point of the room: the wallpaper wall, complete with fishy mobile and Oscar the Octopus. Isn't he GREAT? And if you keep looking through the pictures, notice his whale friend as well:) 
Thank you for stopping by to tour our nursery! The only thing it is missing is the best part yet: our son. We are SO ready to meet him in just 7 weeks. He already has our hearts and I cannot wait to love him forever and ever. 

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