Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson

Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson
Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Labor and Delivery

Kayla Rae Crandall
January 19, 2013
9 lbs 1.2 oz   20.5 inches long

So, I had a baby! Obviously, that's been established, but sometimes I sit back and think, "I can't believe I did it!" And yes, I know that women all over the world from the beginning of time have been doing it but its such an awesome, crazy experience!

Saturday morning, January 19 at 6:45, I woke up to my water breaking. I made it to the bathroom and called Brett in. When I told him my water had broken, he started jumping up and down. It was so cute! Strangely enough, I felt completely calm. I told him to call my mom. She told us to call the hospital. I was a bit confused about what to do because I wasn't having any contractions. My doctor had told me to come to the hospital when the contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour. Uh.....we didn't ask about this scenario! The hospital said to come in but no rush. I called my labor and delivery nurse friend and she told me to go in.

I took a shower and got ready - still feeling great!  (although, I didn't know how much amniotic fluid was in there! I soaked lots of pads before we got to the hospital - TMI? :)) I had Brett give me a blessing before we left the house. I'm so grateful for the Priesthood and for a worthy husband that can exercise that Priesthood. Also, I knew they wouldn't let me eat after we checked in and even though I wasn't hungry, we stopped to get yummy breakfast tacos on our way. It was delicious! Now, I wish I'd eaten a bit more cause that was a long 16 hours!!
Arriving at the hospital

Ready to head to the LDR room
At 8:20, we got to the hospital, got all checked in, and I found out my doctor was on call that weekend,  hooray! I have really appreciated my doctor. He's been great and non aggressive as far as inducing and interventions go, which is unusual down here, so I was relieved he would be delivering Kayla. Since my water had indeed broken but I wasn't progressing, they started me on Pitocin at about 9:00. Then the contractions started in. I wanted to wait to get the epidural so I could experience contractions and know what to expect next time if my water didn't break. I really hadn't had many Braxton Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancy. Well, now I know - contractions are awful! All the women who go natural have my respect!

About noon, I decided I'd 'experienced' enough and wanted the epidural. The hour between asking and the anesthesiologist actually coming in seemed to last forever! I wasn't nervous about getting it and have no fear of needles, but it was pretty hard to hold still when the contractioer on my chest ns were so strong! It set in quickly and I was grateful I could still move my legs the entire time. Then came the waiting.

I was able to take a few naps, but poor Brett was so anxious and just had to sit there waiting. I felt a lot of peace during this time. Every once in awhile, I'd have some breakthrough pain but for several hours, I felt great. At about 6:00, the nurse checked and told us I was dilated to a 8 or 9! I was so excited! Dr. Tey came in to check thirty minutes later and said she had been wrong - I was only a 6. Can you say disappointment!? At 7:30, the new nurse (shift change) checked and I was complete! Hooray!

Dr. Tey is a big fan of laboring down, so we had to wait some more. She took about 3 more hours to move to the plus 2 position where I could push. I'm now grateful for that because I ended up only having to push for 20 minutes or so. Towards the end, my epidural was either running low or something, but I was feeling lots of contractions. I was trying not to cry, but it was awful! I was afraid I'd have to push while feeling all the pain, but they added more medicine before I pushed.

We did a few practice pushes and I felt strange not knowing what the "pushing" should feel like. She told me to stop while she got the doctor and then the urge to push was suddenly overwhelming! I was thinking - you'd better get someone down there, I can't not push!!

Dr. Tey walked in, geared up, and two pushes later, she was out! The physical relief was pretty powerful!  The doctor made a comment that he couldn't hold her much longer cause she was so heavy! I was a bit worried - just how big was my  baby? They took her to clean her off and suddenly Brett remembered to get the camera out! :) We were both a bit distracted. They declared her 9 lbs 1.2 ounces! All the nurses were impressed and said I made it look easy.....uh, yeah, I wouldn't call that easy, haha!
They told us that extra ounce showed up
 after they added her bracelets

Looking up at mommy!

Mommy and Kayla - instant love
When they finally placed her on my chest, I couldn't believe she was mine. Even though her face was a little swollen, I had never seen anyone so beautiful in my whole life! She opened her deep blue eyes and looked up and I was in love! We nursed for a bit and she latched pretty easily. She was completely and totally perfect!

We had about an hour before they took her for her checkups and moved us to the post-partum room. I was relieved at how quickly the feeling came back into my legs before they moved us.

They took Kayla for her checkups and about 1:00 AM, they brought her back to us. I didn't sleep more than twenty minutes that night. I was so pumped up on adrenaline and awe looking at my sweet angel. The miracle of birth is just that. My little Kayla is a miracle and I'm blessed to be chosen as her mother.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A New Understanding of Love, Gratitude, and Humility

Introducing Kayla Rae Crandall!

On January 19, 2013, our lives were forever changed in a way that I'm grateful for beyond words. In the week that has followed, I have learned a whole new meaning of gratitude and humility. This is my attempt to verbalize the most intense feelings I've ever felt in my life.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for this precious little life that Heavenly Father entrusted to us. Though its only been a week, I know without a doubt that she is a part of our eternal family. She was meant for Brett and me and we for her. I'm grateful for her little spirit, her perfect health (which I don't take for granted working in medicine), and her safe arrival into this life. Her touch warms my skin, her smiles make my heart burst, her cries are music to my ears, her dirty diapers are such a reassurance she's eating and healthy, and her presence in our home is the greatest blessing I've received.

The past week has brought me an even deeper level of love and gratitude for my husband. I've always known how blessed I am to have him and he has always treated me like a queen; but this past week, he did more than I could have imagined. When my water broke, he was jumping up and down in excitement. That excitement hasn't really gone away since. He has literally waited on me, hand and foot. He sat there with me for 18 hours of labor, held my hand through the contractions and the pushing, and the love was beaming from his face when he saw Kayla for the first time.

After we were transferred to the postpartum room, Brett helped me in ways I never knew I would need to be helped. I've always been somewhat independent but I had to let that go. I needed help doing a lot of things (having a baby is a lot of work!) and Brett was willing to do every single one of them. I know a lot of men that probably wouldn't have done the things he did. He later shared with me that several times as he sat there holding our baby when I wasn't looking, he was overcome with emotion and love. That's the kind of husband I have and my gratitude for him grew more, along with the humility to let him do everything for me.

Coming home was so exciting! We were relieved to be home in our own beds and away from helpful, yet sleep disruptive hospital staff. We unpacked and settled in to just be with our baby and that's when trouble set in. Kayla is a sleeper, which in time I'm sure will be a great blessing, but the first few days it caused some trouble. She would sleep for 7 hours straight, and despite all, and I do mean all, attempts to wake her, she wouldn't eat. I started to fear that I couldn't take care of my baby. They had told me to make sure she ate every 2-3 hours. When 7 hours had passed without her eating, peeing, or pooping, we rushed to the pediatrician. She told us we needed to supplement her with formula and that she was dehydrated. My heart broke. I felt like I had failed and she'd been in my care for hours only!

Brett reassured me and did what we were told to do. I felt like I was losing control of my plan. My plan was to breast feed only. I don't look down on those that use formula but I had decided that breastfeeding was the way for me. Those who know me know I was prepared, if not over prepared for this whole experience, except for the one problem we had. I had read everything of pregnancy, labor, delivery, baby care, and breast feeding. I had mentally prepared for the pain, discomfort and stress that would come with all of the above. I was actually looking forward to the discomfort of breast feeding and knew I would be awesome at it, after all, I was prepared, right? Wrong. Pride comes before the fall, I suppose. Somehow, I was not prepared for the possibility that she would have trouble with sucking, that she would be in a coma like state for hours, that she wouldn't wake up to eat, that her tongue would stay on the roof of her mouth, preventing my nipple from getting in her little mouth when she would try to latch. Also, I had created false hopes because she latched fairly well at the hospital.

That first night, I sat in my bed and cried and prayed more than I can ever remember. Chayla, an angel friend of mine, who also just had a baby a month earlier, messaged in the middle of the night while up with her baby to ask how I was doing. I poured my heart out to her as much as one can over a Facebook message. First thing the next morning, Chayla came to our house to help me try to nurse. She had had similar problems with her baby. Because Kayla was born on a holiday weekend, we didn't have the opportunity to meet with a lactation specialist before we left, but had help from nursing champions, as they're called. Chayla shared all the tips she could and Kayla seemed to do better. I was once again overwhelmed with gratitude and humility for this sweet woman who was in tune with the Spirit enough to answer my prayers and pleadings.

Though Kayla improved a bit in her latch, she still wouldn't wake up to eat much. We went back to meet with lactation consultants twice to receive more help. I've never accepted failure, and was determined more than anything in this world not to fail my baby. These sweet ladies sat and worked with us for hours. I was trying everything I could find to try. We expressed colostrum onto a spoon to feed Kayla, I sat with my pump for hours, praying for my milk to come in and even took herbal supplements to promote lactation. We were doing everything. The second day, we learned she had lost more weight, so we had to continue to supplement. The lactation ladies hugged and reassured me what a good mom I was. I was so grateful for their kindness, concern, and understanding.

That evening, my mom arrived. More gratitude poured from me when I saw her in the airport. I was so relieved! She had also struggled with breastfeeding me (should have been a clue for me to prepare better, I suppose), and I knew she'd understand how I felt. She too has waited on me hand and foot. She's done everything I've asked her to do. Yes, I feel a bit helpless when I'm nursing and don't want to move a muscle because it took me 20 minutes to finally get her to latch well. But I'm so grateful that my wonderful mother and husband have never hesitated to jump at the smallest of requests. Whether its a drink of water, adjusting the pillow, helping me express into her mouth while she eats, or to turn on the fan, they've both been more than willing to do everything I need. Thankfully, my sweet baby is getting the hang of things and we're doing much better together. She's eating, growing and thriving and I'm so grateful for the answered prayers! I also have a deep empathy for those struggle and are unable for whatever reason to breastfeed. Its a big struggle and definitely a labor of love.

I'm grateful for all of our family that isn't able to be here with us also. Having a baby away from "home" is scary! And though I know this experience has bonded Brett and I in a way that couldn't have happened otherwise, I wish all our family could be here to share with us in this joy. Circumstances being what they are, each of our siblings and our parents have been the support we needed to survive. I'm so excited for my mother and father in law to come in a month and then for my father and sister to come in March! I'm also grateful for technology that allows them to all to watch her grow while being so far away. Family truly is Heavenly Father's plan and the way to happiness.

I'm also grateful to all the visitors, meals, calls, texts, facebook messages, likes, comments, and even news broadcasts that have helped me feel more loved than I ever have. Not to mention the love that is pouring in on this angel baby of ours. Okay - its probably mostly for her. :) She's a week old today and I feel like the whole world loves her. Yes, I know that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not too far off. :) We are so completely surrounded by love, support, and blessings that I can't thank everyone enough. I also don't think there are enough minutes in the day to express my gratitude sufficiently to my Father in Heaven. I will not take a single minute for granted with this baby of mine. I'm sure I'll have to come back and read this to remind myself during hard parenting moments. :)

I'm even more grateful now for the gospel than I've ever been before. Eternal families takes on a whole new meaning. Brett and Kayla are my whole world, and without them, happiness would cease. How wonderful to know that regardless of what this life brings, they are both mine forever. I will do all I can to remain worthy of that potential. In this world we live in today, I'm so grateful I have the knowledge I do to raise my daughter as a Daughter of God. Brett and I will do all in our power to teach her the truth and to guide her back to her Father in Heaven. What a great responsibility it is, and I'm humbled to have it. I pray that my sweet daughter will always know how much her mommy and daddy love her.

Coming home from the hospital - Our first Family Photo!
Kayla loves her Daddy!

Nothing beats baby snuggles!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Waiting, waiting waiting

Waiting to go into labor is the most perplexing experience that I can ever remember having. I can think of no other event that is so completely unpredictable and completely imminent at the same time. Especially since there is no way I can really remove myself from the situation or distance myself until it happens (unless maybe I was into meditation). Every little sensation I have makes me question whether its a sign of labor. Any little cramp, back pain, hard kick by baby girl, twinge, stomach growl, etc. Yes, I may be a bit crazy. :)  I have read so many descriptions of labor and contractions and they are all different. The most consistent description is that they can be different for every woman and with every pregnancy. Oy! That doesn't help much. So, not only am I waiting for any little sign, I have no idea what those signs should really feel like. What a head scratcher, eh?

It may be irrational, but I have this fear I won't know I'm in labor and will ignore it. Or that I'll jump the gun and go to the hospital, just to be sent home. It probably doesn't help that my doctor was out of town this week, so I have 10 days between appointments, rather than a week, so I have no idea if I'm dilating or not (I wasn't at my last appt.) I know that women have been having babies since the beginning of time and I shouldn't worry - everyone tells me I will know when I'm in labor. And I'm sure every first time mom has felt this same way. :)

My due date is bit unique as well. According to my last menstrual period, our baby's due date is Jan. 16. I waited to go to the doctor until I was 16 weeks for insurance reasons, and they did an ultrasound that day, which is later than they prefer for the first ultrasound. According to that ultrasound (and the other 2 as well), baby is due Jan 11 - tomorrow! I've gotten different answers from the doctor's office as to which date to follow. I told the doctor I didn't want to be induced unless I had to. He said that in that case, we'll use the later date to be more conservative (which I appreciate) and plan on inducing Jan. 22 or 23 if I haven't had her yet. That being said, I'm really hoping it won't matter and that she'll come before then on her own. Right now, that seems like a forever!! I may drive myself crazy before then!

I'm getting so anxious to meet this little lady! I've been looking at Brett and my baby pictures trying to imagine what she may look like. I can't wait to see her face and hold her in my arms and hear her cry. There are so many pregnancy symptoms that I can't wait to be gone, but hat being said, I'm very much going to miss feeling my little sweet girl moving around in my belly. Nothing compares. Even when she's kicking my ribs or bouncing on my bladder, I have such a joy knowing she's in there healthy and happy.

I can't wait for this little bundle to officially join our family and to start this next great adventure in life! I'm so grateful for the blessing of motherhood, already and can't wait to see what adventures will come.