Please check out Little Painted Polka Dots for my handmade goodness!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nella's First Christmas

She is only 5 days old and it is Christmas Eve.  *Must start tradition now*  I planned ahead.  I phoned the North Pole and asked Santa to gather up some Christmas Jammies for the four of us - Daddy, Mommy, Hope and Nella.  This Christmas, and every Christmas after that.  I asked him to deliver them on Christmas Eve.  Because I've spent the past 31 years behaving so well, he happily obliged.  I love that Santa.

We left out cookies and milk for the big guy and we snuggled up for bed.  Christmas morning was met with sleepy eyes, as to be expected when your best Christmas present ever is already in your arms...and she doesn't sleep through the night.  We rolled out of bed around 10am and proceeded with more Christmas traditions.  Grandma Jenny's stockings were filled and laid out (to heavy to hang at this point) and presents were under the tree.  We took turns opening our gifts.  Jer got these crazy shoes he had been wanting. Nella (and Daddy) bought me a beautiful flower pendant necklace with Nella's birthstone.  We surprised Hope with Red Wings tickets.  Nella got her first pair of TOMS, her Love You Forever book, and a beautiful silver cross necklace that Daddy picked out.  Diesel was spoiled with toys and treats.

Around 2pm our house was filled with love and laughter.  Story book, huh?!  Nana, Papa, Beckey, Mike, Olivia, Grant, Tamara, Lil' Mike and Grandma Jenny came over to spend the day.  We opened more presents, took turns loving on Nella, ate delicious food and played Catch Phrase.  So fun!  Grandma Jenny played too!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nella Celina {Birth Story}

Sunday, December 18th
Today is induction day. I'm tired. No more red raspberry leaf tea. No more squatting, pineapple, acupressure, or evening primrose oil. Nothing. I've done it all and it hasn't worked. Today I will let go and let God. It's all up to Him anyway.

I spent my morning curled up on my parent's couch, breaking out in random cries. I tried so hard to contain it, but my emotions are just too high. I got in the shower while my mom was on her way home from church. When I came downstairs Jer handed me a $100 bill and told me to go get a pedicure and a nice lunch with my mom. He wanted me to be able to relax and take my mind off things. For the most part, it worked. We went to Don Pablo's for lunch, then to LUV for a pink pedicure, then we picked up Beckey (my sister) and went to the casino. Dad chipped in $40 and said it was for Nella. It was a nice afternoon and I'm so thankful for my amazing husband who puts my needs first. Thank you Jesus for my Jerry. As the night came to an end, my emotions soared. Beckey asked mom to say a prayer for Nella and I on the way home. It was beautiful and it brought me some peace.

By 7:45pm it was time for Jerry and I to get going. He loaded the car and I fought back tears as I sent prayers up above. We hugged and kissed my parents goodbye. Arriving at the hospital was uncomfortable and uneasy. Our midwife, Joanne, wasn't there yet and I didn't really click with the nurse. Rochelle was nice, but just not the nice I needed. She gave me conflicting details and again, I was uneasy. I felt slightly better once Joanne arrived, but that was short-lived. She checked me and I was still closed. Therefore, it was not an option to strip my membranes and send me home and we couldn't attempt the foley bulb. It was on to the cervidil, which means a pic line inserted in my left hand and being tethered to the monitors for constant fetal monitoring. I keep reminding myself that it is not my plan, but His. This was around 10pm. Joanne checked on me another time or two and then went home for the night. She encouraged us to get some sleep and said she'd be back first thing in the morning. Jer and I got settled in for the night, holding hands and watching TV. We finally started to relax and drift by about 12:30am but that too was short-lived. At 1am the house doctor came in to tell me that they had called Joanne because Nella's heart rate had decelerated three times since the cervidil was put in. Our baby girl was in some distress so they had to remove the cervidil. She checked my cervix and I was dilated to one. I was also having regular contractions every 4 minutes. So, although things weren't super smooth, they were progressing in the right direction. With regular contractions, plus staff interruptions, sleep was non-existent at this point. I tossed and turned, breathed through contractions and prayed for morning.

Monday, December 19th
By sun up my contractions were stronger, but still manageable. I was dilated to three and things seemed to be going well. Dr. Levin even stopped in to say that I was doing good. He said it looked like my body just needed a little jumpstart and that we should have a baby by evening! I was so positive and excited at this point. I welcomed each uncomfortable contraction with joy in my heart. I knew they were bringing me closer to our baby. I talked to my mom who was leaving work early and Jer talked to Beckey to tell her to be ready. My contractions picked up. They were quite strong and about 2 1/2 minutes apart. Whenever I would stand up to go to the bathroom there was concern because Nella would decel quite low. I didn't realize that this was a serious concern. I just thought it happened because I stood up. Sometime this early afternoon I realized I was leaking. My water broke! Yay for my body doing it's thing! Unfortunately there was meconium in it. A slight heartache. I knew that we'd now have extra docs in the room at birth and Nella wouldn't be put immediately on my chest after birth. That was the moment I had been waiting a lifetime for. Instead, they would cut the cord immediately and she would have to go to the ped incubator by my bed to get cleaned up and suctioned. I cried it out for a moment, mourning again another piece taken away from my perfect birth.

I continued to labor on the birthing ball and in bed. My contractions were strong and I definitely had to breathe through them. With Jer's help, doing the Bradley techniques we had practiced many times over, I was able to get through each one just fine. He'd rub my back, remind me to relax my entire body, and breathe through my abdomen. He was a champ. At this point in the day, I was dilated to 4cm. I was feeling rough and working through some contractions in bed. I tried to get some rest and so did Jerry. We just laid next to each other and he would hold my hand or rub my back. Our peaceful afternoon soon shifted. After a few interruptions from the nurse and our midwife, I was given the news. I remember standing, leaning forward on the bed, doing some pelvic rocking. Both Joanne and nurse Julie came in showing their concern. Even doing nothing, while just laying in bed, Nella's heart rate was decelerating too low, too many times. Joanne asked me to stay in my standing/rocking position (because Nella's heart rate was stabilized and strong in this position) while she went to call Dr. Levin. I knew where this was going. Oh dear God. Jer and I stood in silence while Joanne was gone. Jer brought the birthing ball up on the bed for me to rest on and he rubbed my back. When Joanne finally came back in the room, we knew. She tried to be as gentle as possible. She explained that a few decels during contractions were okay, but there were just too many of them. Our little Nella was in distress and something wasn't right. Joanne was concerned for our baby and so were we. I said something along the lines of "Just say it! I have to have a c-section?" "Yes. I'm sorry." was all she could say. I asked her when and she told me within the half hour. There is no describing the way I felt at this very moment. There was fear - for the surgery, for the unknown, for the health of our precious baby. My fears went so far to the extremes that I can't even put them into words. There was heartache - for not having the birth we had planned for, hoped for and prayed for. There was disappointment - in myself and with my body, that I just couldn't do it. Disappointment for my husband - he wouldn't get to witness this beautiful miracle of our natural childbirth. Also for my sister and mom, that they would not get to witness it either. And for myself, for what I felt like were dreams lost.

Jerry called my mom to tell her to come now. My sister was already with her and my dad. I could see the sadness and concern in Jer's eyes and it hurt me. The next few minutes were a blur. I changed into the hospital gown, had an IV put in that pumped saline through me so fast that my hand and arm felt frozen and my parents and sister arrived. My heart hurt. I know that a c-section isn't the end of the world, but it was surely not a part of my plan. I felt bombarded by doctors and nurses all doing their thing while trying to keep me informed. We took pictures as a family and hugged each other (Jer lightened the mood by being his usual silly self...putting his hospital scrub shoe covers on his hands instead and doing other silly things.) In an instant they were wheeling me away, down a hallway on display for all to see. That departure was so fast. I was ripped away from my parents, my sister, my love and my dream of how it was supposed to be. There is no explanation other than the power of prayer and our great God that carried me through all that happened next.

I couldn't keep my eyes open. The sterility of the operating room, the bright lights and shiny metal instruments and the sea of blue scrubs were just too much for me. There were people on all sides of me telling me that I was doing great. I didn't feel like it. The spinal wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but it was also not "just a little mosquito bite" like the anesthetist said it would be. I felt some grinding discomfort and at times had to say if it was on the right side, the left side, or the center. It fluctuated until I no longer felt it. Head down, shoulders relaxed, chin to chest and arch your lower back like a shrimp. That's what I remember them telling me. Finally, I felt like a 200lb paper weight, hot, heavy and unable to move. I guess that was successful. Then, there he was. My love, my rock, my husband. He sat my by side, holding my hand. There were times when I really thought I would puke, but I never did. I prayed and I breathed. I looked up at Jer for comfort. Again, things were blurry. I remember hearing a razor... or was it a saw? I wasn't sure at the time. It was just a razor. I felt tugs and pulls and pressure. Never pain though, unless you want to count my heartache. I heard joking and laughing, Jerry was included in this. I'm glad he was able to relax a bit. Then I hear the doctor say "Here comes the baby!" followed by my precious little baby's cries. I cried out "Is that my baby? MY BABY!" There was a lot of crying coming from her and I took that as a good sign. I caught a tiny glimpse of her goopy little body as she went from my tummy to the table. Oh dear God how I wanted her in my arms, on my chest. That was the moment I had longed for for 42 weeks.  They had to clean her up and clear the fluids out. That seemed to take forever, but that is only because I wanted my girl so badly. They told us that she would get cleaned up and go to daddy first, while I was cleaned up and put back together. They took her stats - 14 1/2 inch head, 21 inches long, 9lbs 2oz, born at 4:01pm. Our beautiful Nella Celina was finally here! No one held her yet but at this point Jerry and Dr. Levin went to let our family know the good news. I remember jokingly saying to them as they walked out to tell the family that "it's a boy!" I asked the nurse to see my placenta. It was in a bucket. She's lucky I didn't ask to take it home.

Next thing I know, I'm being given my baby. She was wrapped in a blanket and all I could see was her precious, beautiful face. They laid her close, right up near my face. Immediately, our eyes met. I was looking down at my daughter and her little eyes were staring right up into mine. "My precious Nella, it's me. It's mommy!" She wouldn't look away. That was OUR moment. I knew everything would be okay. I had my girl in my arms and we were off to be reunited with daddy and introduced to Nana, Papa and Auntie Beckey. As we were wheeled through the halls we heard the chimes that play when a baby is born. Someone walking beside us said "Hear that? Those are for you!"

I felt pretty delirious for the rest of the night. Our girl was sticking her tongue out searching for food from the moment she was born. She was hungry! I had to lay flat on my back for awhile so I had no idea how to feed her. Nurse Julie helped. With the aide of my mom and sister we fed Nella her first meal. One held my breast, one held my baby. It makes me laugh a little now. I felt helpless. Just like little Nella, I had to be fed too. My dad fed me ice chips and my mom fed me applesauce. Jer sent out texts, photos and phone calls, all the while beaming with pride. We visited for a couple more hours and during that time we talked to Dr. Levin and Joanne. We were told that the cord was wrapped around Nella's head in an up and down way. I remember hearing the doctor say that he'd never seen anything like it while we were in the OR, but I didn't know what he was talking about then. Her cord was acting as bungee, preventing her from dropping, which explains why she never did. That is why her heart rate kept decelerating. Every time she tried to drop, the cord would put pressure on her head. Dr. Levin said that there is no way she would have ever been able to be born vaginally. Our God had other plans for our girl. I don't want to imagine what the outcome might had been if I had given into their pressures to take the cytotec. There was no turning back (and no monitoring) with that like there was with the cervidil.

After mom, dad and Beckey left, we settled in for our first night as a family. Sleeping was again non-existent but the love was overflowing!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Baby Love - The Weeks Go By {37 weeks - 41 weeks}

Baby girl, I carried you in my belly for 42 weeks and 1 day.  I love you so much!


Monday, December 12, 2011

I want our baby!

I was doing so well.  Cherising these last few moments of just "Jer and I."  I enjoyed some quiet time and some quality time.  The house is cleaned, laundry done, meals stocked in the freezer, holiday baking complete, presents purchased and wrapped, baby clothes washed and folded, and everything is finished.  Now we wait.  Each one of these last 8 days has seemed to go on forever.  Each morning I wake up and expect to feel slightly different.  My heart sinks a little each morning as I awake feeling great, just like the day before.  I don't expect to feel bad (and I'm thrilled that I haven't), but I expect to feel different...something!  Especially because each and every day I get a phone call or a text from multiple, wonderful people in my life asking me just that - "Do you feel anything today?  Anything different?  Any pressure? Any pain?"  All I can do is smile, thank them for asking, and tell them no. 

I'm ready and excited and I am a bit scared.  I've always been afraid of the unknown. I know that God is holding me in His hands and I shouldn't worry, but I do.  I know that I can do this.  I know that my body was created to give birth to a precious baby and without a doubt my heart is ready to love and raise a child.  I just need to keep reminding myself that I can do this.  I will do this. 

Today marks 41 weeks and 1 day.  I have an appointment with our midwife on Wednesday.  She'll check to see if and how things are progressing and we'll talk about our options at that point.  As of right now, I will be induced on Sunday the 18th or Monday the 19th (my choice)  if Nella hasn't arrived on her own before then. 


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Due Date

Today is 12.04.11.  I have written and typed that date on so many different things in the past nine months.  All for one reason though - that is the date our baby Nella is due.  That date is today, and well, I'm pretty sure this day will come and go without her birth.  I know that it is just an estimated day and that she wasn't going to automatically appear on this day. Although, the planning would be a lot easier if it worked that way.  I fear that I will go to sleep tonight with a slightly lonely heart.  I love being pregnant, but I'm pretty sure that I will love being a momma more.  I'm ready to have that opportunity.  Both Jer and I are anxious and excited for her arrival.  Sweet Jesus, I just want to hold my baby!  I am perfectly fine going a few extra days.  I feel great physically, for the most part.  Like I said, LOVING being pregnant over here.  My anxiety is set to get the best of me though if I don't keep it in check.  I pray for peace and for a healthy little baby and a nice labor and delivery experience.  I love that there isn't much for me to do except sit back and leave it up to God.  Sometimes there is great comfort in that.  Other times it's hard.  For now, I will take a deep breath and know that God is placing His final touches on our baby girl.  Before we know it, she will be here and this amazing pregnancy will just be a distant (but wonderful) memory.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Just some thoughts

- I "think" I have had my first taste of heartburn.  To be honest, it wasn't that bad.  I have taken Tums on three different days.  I have it so easy compared to Jer (as far as heartburn goes.)

- I don't think she's dropped yet.  A friend told me last week that I look like I had.  My mom told me the opposite yesterday.  I agree with my mom.  At times, I still feel her all up in my ribs.

- I can't believe I'm going to have a baby in a week  (give or take.)

- I just made, and ate, eggakooga with homemade blueberry sauce.  At 9pm.  I'm pregnant, so I can!

- I'm excited for Christmas, but not at all like I normally would be.  I have a feeling that this is the beginning of things feeling differently.

- I'm almost done Christmas shopping. 

- I love my husband.


Friday, November 25, 2011


I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

I have so much to be thankful for.  So much that is obvious and abundant, and so much that I often take for granted.  As I stated on Facebook - "Blessed and thankful doesn't begin to describe it."

We spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house.  They just moved in a few months back and this was their first time hosting a holiday.  She did a remarkable job!  We celebrated this joyous day with my sister's family, our parents, my husband, and my sister's husband's family.  Full house, full hearts and full tummies were abundant!

 Two of my favorite people... my sister and my husband.
Like Mother, Like Daughter.  I love these beautiful girls!

This is how we do.  Dancin' fools! 

Who needs a potato masher or a mixer when you have a PASTRY CUTTER! 
"My turkey didn't come with giblets!"
One hungry dog who was happy to see his momma and daddy.  Gimme the turkey!!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Full heart

37 weeks and 5 days.  That's where we're at.  We have about 2 weeks left to be a family of 2...well, a household of 2.  I have a beautiful step-daughter whom I love dearly, but she doesn't live with us.  Our home will soon be filled with a little baby girl who will be loved beyond belief.  Soft pinks and bright pinks will be even more abundant than they are now.  Bouncers, cradles, cloth diapers and toys will make an appearance.  Are we ready?

For now, I am enjoying the calm.  Sure, my feet are swollen - like hippo size, but so is my heart.  I am so blessed to have an amazing husband.  Truly, he is a gem.  We have our moments (because we're human, and I'm hormonal), but he is doing such a great job at this "I have a pregnant wife" thing.  He cooks dinner, helps with the dishes, serves me drinks in bed, does the laundry without prompting.  He hears my whimpers in the middle of the night when I'm tossing and turning -  because it's hard to sleep with a watermelon in my stomach - and he instinctively, half-asleep, reaches out to me.  His hand finds my back and he rubs it.  He asks if I'm okay and if I need anything.  I know he is sleepy so I say I'm fine and his warm, strong hands help me fall back to sleep for a bit. It's a nice feeling to be loved and cared for. 

I just had to take a moment to reflect on my full heart.  I'm thankful to God for where we're at in our life.  We've been married for a little over a year and we have a beautiful baby girl due to fill our world with joy any day now. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

They have my heart!

For the past 12 years I have had the honor of being an auntie.   It has been one of the best things in my entire life.  The love I feel for these two precious kids is incomprehensible.  It is huge.  They have my heart and they always will.

They spent the night with Jer and I this weekend.  When I went to pick them up, I was greeted before I even made it all the way out of the car.  They both had handmade birthday cards for me.  I am loved and it is wonderful.

I have been so quick to fast forward through the Fall this year.  I have something big taking place this winter and I guess I'm anxious to get there.  Having Livi and Grant over this weekend gave me the chance to slow down and enjoy the Fall, which is my favorite season, and have a little Halloween fun. 

We made mummy dogs for supper and sipped apple cider.  We got in our jammies, stopped at the corner store (Corner House Store, as Grant calls it) to grab some snacks, and the four of us set out to Romeo to see all the cool Halloween houses on Tillson Street. 

After a fun night, we settled in at home.  I woke up early the next day to make everyone breakfast.  I love these two kiddos so much.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Baby Shower

It was a lovely day.  We were surrounded by friends and family.  Friends and family that love us and will love our precious Nella just the same.  Jer and I are blessed to have each other and blessed to have a collection of amazing people who fill our lives and hearts with goodness.

My mom and my sister, again, put together a beautiful shower to celebrate another milestone in our life.  Last year it was our wedding... this year, our sweet baby Nella.  We are so grateful!  I love you, Momma! I love you, Beck!  Thank you for an amazing day.