June 30, 2010

Last year...

Last year at about this time of night this is what I was workin' on...

El año pasado, más o menos a esta hora de la noche, esto es lo que yo estaba haciendo... (disculpame por no haber traducido todo esto en español... haré mi mejor esfuerzo para traducirselo, en estos días Mami...)

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Sunday, June 29th, Alejandro and I were headed to Walmart for our bi-weekly grocery shopping trip. I debated on whether or not to go because I was enormous and because I was having contractions. I wasn't too concerned about the contractions because I had had the same thing happen the week before with no resulting labor or delivery. But as it turns out, this week would be different. We managed to get through the grocery store and then got home and I went to bed. I slept through the night - well, except for my 3 nightly trips to the bathroom - and woke up the next morning at about 7 or 8 a.m.

My contractions had not gone away. In fact they had stayed consistent in timing and seemed to be a little stronger. I started to think that this might be the "real thing," and that maybe I should cancel the Mary Kay appointment I had scheduled for that morning.

Can you imagine how that would have gone?! "Now put on the cleanser. Go ahead and rinse. (hard sucking in breath) One moment, this one's almost done! ...Ok, now here is the moisturizer." What a disaster that would have been!

Ok, anyway, so I cancelled my appointment and called Alejandro to tell him that I thought I was in labor, but that I still had a while to go and not to panic (yeah right) or come home yet. Then I decided to shower, realizing that I should take advantage of the opportunity before things got too far along. Then I called the photographer who is also a great friend of mine and a trained mid-wife. She was able to listen to me suck my breath through each contraction and confirm that it was indeed the real thing. Then she and I started packing our bags.

By about 9:30 or 10 a.m., I wasn't able to do much except for breathe through contractions, so I called the hospital and the nurse advised me to come on in, even if I though might be sent home. Better safe than sorry. I called Alejandro and told him that it was time for him to come home and for us to go to the hospital. At this point, I still sounded calm and collected. ...but not for long!

My memory's a little fuzzy, but it seems that there was a sudden change in the next half hour, because by 10:30 I had called Alejandro back and said, "I JUST NEED YOU TO GET HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!" He was out at a job-site, and had to get back to the warehouse to then drive the Jeep home to me, but he made it across town in record time!

When Alejandro got home, the routine went like this: Alejandro takes the fastest shower of his life. Alejandro coaches Renee through a contraction. Alejandro puts his clothes on. Alejandro coaches Renee through a contraction. Alejandro grabs 3 things to put in the suitcase. Alejandro coaches Renee through a contraction. Alejandro puts those three things in the suitcase and grabs three more things. Alejandro coaches Renee through a contraction. Alejandro makes two sandwiches. Alejandro coaches Renee through a contraction. Alejandro... You get the idea.

Finally we made the (very uncomfortable) drive to the hospital. I think I was able to relax a little mentally then, because you see, I was born in the car (I'll have to post this story another time) and so my "birth plan" was mostly just to make it to the hospital!

At 11:30 a.m. (I think) we made went into triage. (This is where they decide if you're in enough pain to be admitted to the hospital.) They did take one look at me and knew this was the real thng, but when they measured me, I was only one centimeter dilated, so unless I was going to take an epidural, they weren't ready to admit me. It turns I was having back labor and very intense contractions, despite the fact that I was early into active labor. Back labor is a type of labor in which the mother feels most if not all of her contraction pain in her lower back. Danny's head was down (good) but his back was positioned against my spine (bad), rather than being positioned against my belly button. It was excruciatingly painful. So rather than send me home, the blessed nurse let me spend the next several hours in triage.

By 1 or 2 p.m. I decided to accept a temporary pain medication that would allow me to sleep some and rest for more intense labor later on. Ths turned out to not be such a big rest, because I could still feel much of the pain. It just kind of knocked me out in between each contraction.

Then we decided to head down the hall to the tub to do some labor there. I welcomed any change I could get!After a few stops in the hallway... ...I eased my big belly into the warm water.
After a while I was ready to be dry and get off of my knees, so I waddled and Alejandro walked back down the hall to triage. It was now close to 4 p.m. I was still only 3-4 centimeters dilated, but I was completely spent. I really wanted to do the whole thing naturally, but I was exhausted. The nurse encouraged me that I should be very proud for making it that far without pain medication , but she warned me that when my water broke the contractions would be twice as hard. In addition, I was fighting each contraction, which hindered the productivity of each one in getting me to the goal: 10 cm. I decided (with a mix of disapointment and relief) to take an epidural. I was then admitted, and we headed back down the hall to a labor and delivery room.

Then, things got much more fun! I was able to relax and sleep and we began a very long waiting game.
Alejandro took the opportunity to call his mom in Costa Rica.
We hung out and talked.
And I slept as much as I could.
Alejandro was great at helping to move me and massage me. I had no control of the lower half of my body and all I could feel was tingles from the waist down. (Not really my favorite feeling.)
We laughed and when the nursing staff left the room we smuggled me some snacks! I was SO hungry! I had not had anything to eat since about 1 p.m. and my pregnancy craving for chocolate chip granola bars hit its peak!
By p.m. I had made it to 7 or 8 centimeters. I will always remember it as a fun day spent together in the best adventure of our lives! Finally by about midnight I was 10 centimeters dilated, and it was time to push!
However, the doctor said that my contractions weren't strong enough to get the baby out (due to the epidural) and if I didn't take some Pitocin I could be pushing for hours. I somewhat expected this.
After a few more preparations, the doctor started to "suit up." I had to laugh! She was covered head to toe. When I made a comment, she said, "Well, I'm the one in the splash zone!"
I pushed for about an hour, and at 1:19 a.m. on June 30th, our little guy arrived! The moment I'd waited for had arrived, and I was absolutely elated. Look for Danny's little foot in front of Alejandro's stomach in this picture:
The cord had been wrapped around his neck, so I only had him on my tummy for just a minute before he was whisked across the room for his airways to be cleaned out and for him to be cleaned up.

It was so surreal and amazing. I remember holding his head in one hand and a foot in the other and thinking they were so tiny! I rembember looking at him and being struck by the powerful realization that here was a little person who I was meeting for the first time, with a unique look of his own. Yet he had the features of my husband, my brother-in-law, and I (particularly my brother-in-law's eyes) and he looked so familiar! As if I'd always known him. It was the most powerful thing I've been struck with in a very long time.
When he was across the room, all I could do was pray, "Dear God, let him breathe now. Let him be ok." Within a minute he let out a little cry and I breathed a sigh of relief!
Proud Papa looked on in love and awe and the emotions hit him.
I reveled in the sights and sounds of my little boy across the room while they cleaned me up.
Alejandro went back and forth between me and Danilo.
He weighed 5 lbs, 10 oz.s and was 18 3/4 inches long.
His lower lip made its debut early. Now I know why! Is that killer or what!?
And at long last I got to hold him and it was unspeakably amazing. All I could do was stare and attempt to memorize every detail of his little features.
Father in heaven, thank you for the best gift we've ever been given.
Thank you for our family. Thank you for Danilo.

June 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Danny!

Danny's Birthday party was a GREAT time!  We celebrated a few days before the actual day at Bear Creek Regional Park, here in the Springs.  All kinds of great friends and family came and we enjoyed a beautiful day outside. 

Melissa and Caleb
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Grammy and Janelle
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Grandpa Shaun
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Grammy
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Janelle and her daughter Emma
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We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, blew up balloons, jumped when they popped, ate lost of food and had lots of laughs!

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My mom showed up wearing the almost the exact  same outfit as me. 
Yeah, we're dorks. 
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Annie
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Adria
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Melissa, Janelle, Kelly and Adria
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Brian and Janelle's:  Matthew, David and Emma
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Matt and Annie
(Their little one, Lydia, was there too... but she still snoozes a lot.)
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Danny discovered that he likes potato salad!  He didn't eat much though.  He must've been saving up for cake.

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Hoping to avoid feeding our one-year-old a lunch of entirely sugar and junk, we opted to try and make our own cake.  Ha!  My advice to future parents:  Just resign yourself to feeding them junk.  It's only once.  They'll survive. 

The baking of the cake is an entire saga of sheer hilarity to be shared at a later date...  But suffice it to say for now that we were up until 2 a.m. on the sugar high of our lives, baking a banana cake baking what turned out to be banana bread with cream cheese icing on top. 

Anyway, this is what the cake looked like at 2 a.m. the night before: 
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This is what the cake looked like by 2 p.m. in the summer heat the day of the party.  Oh well, it still tasted pretty good (to my surprise).  Danny liked it, and that's what counts, right?

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We sang and clapped.  Danny was a little clueless.
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He We blew out the candles.
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Aaaaaand Danny dove it.  Well, actually, I stripped him down to his cute cloth diaper and then he tried to figure out what to do. 

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Ah, isn't first birthday-cake fun!?

There were more games and laughs...
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And then time for presents...
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All in all, I'd say the day was a smashing success.  We had a great time, and so did our one-year-old birthday boy. 

Happy Birthday, Danny!