Friday, October 26, 2007

Week 1

Here are some pictures of our first week home with Ford! All of the noise he makes comes from his bottom - barely a peep from his mouth! His Aunt Chrissie is wondering if he has vocal cords! I am prepared for that to change at any moment but I am enjoying this sweet, quiet baby for now! Despite the picture above Claire is still very excited about her brother - she even asked me to bring him in to say good night to her last night. She was upset about the bow in her hair in this picture but I thought it was too cute not to share. She was excited about sharing her "new ride" with Ford (the picture is his first walk outside) and kept leaning over to check on him asking "are you OK, Baby?". I'll share more pictures soon. For now it's off to breastfeed and change little diapers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ford is here!

Yea! After much anticipation and a very long wait we are proud to announce the arrival of our son - Ford McKey Shirley! He was born on October 17th at 9:58 AM. He weighed 8lbs 2 oz and was 21 inches long. He is just precious! We are loving having a newborn in the house again. It is such a sweet and brief time. We are just savoring every moment!
Here is the birth story for all of the girls who love to hear the details: We decided that the 17th would be the day to nudge little Ford into the world. We gave him 2 extra days to hang out and after trying every trick in the book to bring him on we decided an induction would be the best way to get him here before 41 weeks. All he needed was a nudge after all! When I was admitted and they checked me I was 4cm dilated and 75% effaced. A pretty good start to the day! She broke my water at 7:30 am and ran to a meeting. She forgot to leave the pitocin orders in her rush so we ended up not getting it started until around 8:30. In the meantime I started contracting on my own at around 8:00. When the pitocin started I was a little concerned because I was already getting pretty uncomfortable with my "natural" contractions. My nurse said she would increase the pitocin every 15 minutes until the contractions were measuring 200 and were 2-3 minutes apart. This is where I made the mistake of asking what pressure the contractions were currently measuring - her answer: 80. Yikes. I was really uncomfortable and didn't think I could make it without the epidural if the contractions were going to get more than twice as strong. I folded like a deck of cards and asked for the epidural. Rhett says that I am a mental marshmellow and if I had not know that little piece of information I would have made it. Baby's heartrate started having some issues so she put some oxygen on me and wanted to check me. I heart sank - I could see this going nowhere good. I feared I would stress the baby with an induced labor and end up with a c-section or with something happening to the baby. I was having contraction upon contraction and not getting back to my baseline so he could rest. She said I could be changing quickly so she wanted to see - 5 cm. That was about 9:00.
About this time anesthesia come in and asks Rhett to step out for 20 minutes. He goes somewhere in the hospital to read about sports on the internet. In the meantime everything intesifies. I start loosing control of the pain - at this point the pitocin has only been increased once to 4. My contraction pattern normalizes a little bit and baby is doing well with the O2. I sit up for the epidural and I am hopeful now that relief is on the way. It is taking way too long to get it going though (this is at UAB and a resident was doing it) I remember with Claire it was in about 30 seconds after the anesthesiologist walked in the door and I started feeling better quickly. Not this time. I started feeling nauseated and I told my nurse I felt like I was sitting on the baby's head. The pressure was intense and incredible. She told the anesthesiologist that she needed to check me "NOW". I laid on my side - epidural still not fully functional and she checked me - 7 cm. She said "lets get your foley in". The charge nurse was in the room and she said "we will probably take it right out". It was all happening so fast. Rhett walks in about this time and is a little surprised to say the least. I am in an incredible amount of pain by this point and just trying to get through each contraction. They are trying to get the narcotic bag to hook up to my epidural but realize that I am probably going to have a baby before pharmacy fills the order! They drain my bladder and then check me and my nurse says "she's complete" - it's 9:30. My Dr. walks in a few minutes later and I start pushing. I get a dose of fentanyl via my epidural about the time I start pushing. I've always heard about the strong urge to push - I don't know if I'd describe it like that. It was more the intesity of the pressure and the strong urge to get the baby out so the pain would end. I pushed through 5 contractions and in a little more than 10 minutes I saw my sweet baby for the first time. (Timecheck - 9:58) Even in that moment it is surreal to see your child for the first time. Two of the best moments of my life have been seeing my babies faces and meeting them for the first time. There is nothing like it.
So that's the story. Quick and intense. I could have made it without the drugs but I was not mentally tough enough once I thought it was going to get twice as bad. Of course there is no way of knowing that you only have an hour of labor left and not 6 hours left. I still got my natural childbirth (Rhett says I can't claim it but I say I can - I felt every last twinge of everything!) and the most important part is that I have a healthy baby.
Not only was the birth way easier and much quicker but the recovery has been much better too. Ironically the only discomfort I complained about postpartum was in my back from the epidural. It ended up causing more discomfort than it relieved. Oh well. So for all of you who had difficult 1st deliveries or recoveries - have hope! It gets easier!
Claire is thrilled with her brother. She was so excited to meet him in the hospital. She gave him a stuffed puppy when she met him and said "Here you go Baby!" and when Ford gave her a toy cash register so smiled and said "Da doo baby!" (thank you baby in Claire-speak). She was just as excited to see him the next day and when we arrived home she was jumping up and down with excitement to see him. I am so proud of her and how she has handled everything. Her little world has been turned upside down and she is doing so well. It makes me love her more deeply and in a new way too. And as far as loving another child as much as the first: Yes, what you hear is true - you do! I thought it would be different having a boy too but it's not. The love and joy you feel in your heart for your children flows from the same place whether it is your 1st or 5th, boy or girl - they are just your precious child and you love them.
I will post more pictures and updates soon. I'm going to grab a nap while I can! Thanks to all of your for your encouraging words and support.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Daddy is Dr. Seuss!

Just a quick story - My mom has been here for about 10 days now waiting for Mr. Ford to arrive. She and Claire have been having a great time. Claire loves having a playmate and Mom is more than happy to oblige. My Mom, being the dedicated educator that she is, has apparently decided there is no time like the present to start preparing Claire for Kindergarten testing. This is where it gets interesting...
Apparently, one of the items on the test is the difference between an author and an illustrator so when my mom reads books to Claire she is sure to tell her who did what. Claire's favorite book right now is "10 Apples Up on Top" - we read it to her about 10 times a day! Mom was explaining to her that Dr. Seuss wrote it and would ask her "who wrote the Apples book?" and she would reply "Dr. Seuss!". Good job C - you are one step closer to kindergarten!

Fast forward - Claire asked "Where's Daddy?" and I gave her my usual response "Daddy is at work. He works at the hospital taking care of sick people" and Claire nodded her head saying "Daddy's a doctor" - "Yes, Daddy is a doctor" - I could see the wheels starting to spin in her little head. She looked up wide eyed and excited and said "Daddy is Dr. Seuss!". Well maybe we aren't quite ready for kindergarten!

Claire started doing something wonderful this week although we are a little perplexed by it. We have been working on counting recently and she has just about nailed 1-10 on most tries ("one" was holding us up for a long time!) so I thought I'd try to introduce Spanish numbers too. I started by saying "let's count in Spanish! Uno . . . " and Claire procedes to pick up "dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete, OCHO, NUEVE!" What the . . .? Who taught her how to count in Spanish? No she does not watch Dora. No they did not teach her in school. The only thing we can come up with is a CD that we listen to in the car (quite regularly) that counts in English and Spanish during one song. How amazing those little brains are at this age. They are just wired to learn everything around them. Rhett and I are excited about her learning Spanish since we will be in Peru for at least several months next year and perhaps longer depending on his research decisions. We would love to have another language so we are making that a priority for our kids although we will be a little jealous of them and perhaps frustrated when they plot against us in another tongue!

Oh, perhaps you are wondering about the baby. No he has not been born yet. I am still pregnant somehow! We are giving him every chance but we don't want to go past 41 weeks so we will probably intervene this week if he doesn't step up to the plate. I'm going for another pedicure today - I had tons of contractions when I had my pre-baby pedicure almost two weeks ago! The polish has chipped and there is still no baby but that is the most action I've had in my attempts to nudge this baby (and it feels quite nice!) so I'm going to treat myself again. Maybe he works on a deadline and will realize that his time is up now! It's time to join the rest of us. I can't wait to see what he looks like! Hopefully we will have news soon!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Still waiting . . .

No baby news yet! We are still waiting on little Ford to decide to check out the outside world. I was 3cm in the office on Wednesday. My doctor says I'm right there - I just need a few good contractions or for my water to break. So we just wait. I really feel like I may be pregnant forever - like this is my new reality. I can't really imagine not having this big ole belly and actually being able to reach down and pick things up again! I think Claire has given up on the baby being born. She has been hearing about him for quite a while but by now she is like "really . . . where is this baby you keep talking about?". She just kind of ignores us when we try to get her excited about him where as she used to get all into it and hug my tummy. Now she occasionally brings him some socks or a paci and lays them on my belly but that's about it. Her dolls have taken over the swing bouncy seat and carseat so Ford is going to have to work it out with the triplets as to where he is going to hang out. We will keep you posted if anything happens . . .

Monday, October 08, 2007

Let the waiting begin . . .

39 weeks today and still no baby. We are being patient and trying to be old fashioned by not being induced (for one more week anyway!). I actually feel better than I have in weeks so it makes the waiting not so brutal. I've tried all of the "tricks" to no avail so I've decided to stop making life more complicated and just wait. We were hoping Ford would come a little early (OK more than a little early) on 9/28 since Rhett, Claire and my birthdays are all on 28ths but he apparently didn't realize how cool that would be and has decided to pick his "own" birthday. Typical second child . . . trying to be different.
My mom got here over the weekend to help with Claire during the final wait and while I'm in the hospital. It has been wonderful. I told Rhett we should consider taking another wife. Last night he cut the grass, I cooked dinner and Mom gave Claire a bath and got her ready for bed. I realized there is enough work around here for 3 people and by only having 2 we are each overloaded. I'm going to enjoy it while I can because in a week there will be enough work for 4 people to do!
We will keep everyone posted on baby news . . . Thanks for your prayers for Ford's safe arrival!