Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome to the world! Isabella Grazia

After four days of labor - yes you read right - four days - we finally welcomed our beautiful daughter, Isabella Grazia, into this crazy crazy world.  She was born on Sunday, April 7th at 11:38pm weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 inches long.  With a nice full head of black hair.
  She's already 10 weeks old and just now am I finding the time and energy to write again.  The picture above really describes the whole birth experience in a nutshell.  I'm exhausted.  Chris is so happy and overwhelmed with joy.  And baby Isa came out with her eyes wide open and alert to everything around her.  She is about a half hour old in this picture and you would never know that she had a four day journey through my womb to get into our arms. I love this picture.  The crocheted blanket in the background was given to us as a gift when I was pregnant with Nico.  I call it "Nico's blanket" and I carried it with me throughout this pregnancy.  I felt like his spirit was with us that day.

I'll share her birth story here:
We arrived at the hospital on Thursday the 4th early in the morning for our scheduled induction.  We were so excited that we were going to meet our little girl sometime that day (or so we thought!!).  I was very nervous and hesitant about doing an induction but finally agreed after both doctors suggested it's the safest route considering our history with Nico.  But I wanted to do what they call a "gentle induction" without Pitocin or heavy meds.  I was convinced she just needed a gentle nudge to get my labor started.  Plus, I was so afraid of needing a C-section by doing the induction. When I arrived at the hospital, I was dilated only 1cm and was given a cervical gel to ripen my cervix.  That should do it!  Nope.  By the end of the day, I was having small contractions and had barely dilated.  I was so frustrated...I thought she would come right away!  

The next day, after getting little/no sleep I agreed to small doses of pitocin to start the contractions.  Well, the contractions came pretty regularly but by the end of the second day, I was only dilated to 4cm.  Seriously, a whole day of contractions and I thought, for sure something has to happen today!  Nope.

Not exactly what I had in mind with the "hands off" style of birth I expected!
By the third day, I was ready for more Pitocin.  They can only give you so much while monitoring baby's heart rate to be sure she wasn't stressed out.  This day was probably the toughest for me.  I spent much of the night in a panic that something terrible was going to happen. I didn't sleep at all.  Why wouldn't my baby come?  Was something wrong?  We are so close and I was afraid that something awful would (once again) happen to us.  We would somehow be twice denied our baby that we have been praying and hoping for.  This is what must go through the mind of someone who has lost a baby, I'm certain of it.  I just can't be sure of anything anymore.  Even being this close, I wasn't sure that something bad wouldn't happen.  

Chris was amazing through it all!  Here he is giving me a much-needed back massage during a rough contraction.
On the fourth and final day, my doctor came in and we both agreed that Isabella was going to come out by the end of the day - one way or another.  I agreed to have my waters broken and continue the Pitocin.  The water was broken around 10am and the contractions started coming on with increasing frequency and intensity.  Damn Pitocin! Pit induced contractions are so much harder and longer.  But I was committed to doing this without the pain meds...ughh!

By 8pm or so, I was 8cm dilated...finally!!  Here we go!  Too bad I still had to push for a few hours and I was exhausted.  I really couldn't do it anymore, not without some relief.  The contractions were coming every minute or less.  I could barely catch my breath by then.  I agreed to have an epidural so I could rest and get ready for the pushing.  Finally, I was able to sleep a little.  The doctors were great!  They knew I really wanted to do this without the epidural and were really, really good about not giving me too much of the pain meds.  I could still feel the contractions coming on and could move my legs a bit.

After about one hour of active pushing, I knew we were really, really close!  I could feel her moving through me; I couldn't believe I was finally going to meet my baby!  I pushed and pushed and wanted her out so badly...I could hardly wait any longer!  Finally!!  At 11:38 little Isabella Grazia was born!  Her eyes were wide open and alert!  My rainbow baby was born.
Just born!

Isabella Grazia was born into a loving family, surrounded by a supportive community and so many prayers, candle-lightings and crossed fingers.  You are truly a blessing, little Isa... and have brought light into my heart once again. 

Isabella at 3 weeks

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The past 38 weeks...

I've stayed away from this space for quite some time.  Still not sure if I'll be back at writing again.  I've tried to come back with some profound words or updates on my life.  But I've been busy holding my breath.  Today I'm 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  The eve of the birth of my rainbow baby is just around the corner.  Our little daughter should arrive this week, hopefully.  I can't express the range of emotions I've gone through during these past almost 10 months.  

I've spent the past 9 months going to way-too-many doctors appointments, having way-too-many ultrasounds, taking way-too-many vitamins and giving myself way-too-many injections of blood thinning medicine.  It's the farthest thing from my hands-off approach I imagined I'd have during this pregnancy.  No midwife this time, no birth center is scheduled.  Instead, we have a doctor that comes into our appointments with a huge file with my name on it.  There's alot of history in that file.  There are lots of lab and test results in there.  We have a specialist that is very preoccupied with his newest voice-activated transcribing gadget on his computer so he doesn't need to type when he meets with us.  We're scheduled to deliver at a hospital that had over 16 deliveries on the day we went to pre-register for our delivery.  The crazy thing?  This pregnancy has been so perfect so far and so typical and our little girl appears so healthy that it's all a "precaution" as they say.  Even crazier is that I'm okay with that.  I can be pretty stubborn and set in my ways, but I am very comfortable changing courses as I need to.  That's part of the change I've experienced since Nico died.  I don't quite trust my body anymore.  I don't  quite trust that things will work out well in the end regardless of how much you want it to.

This has been a beautiful pregnancy and I love being pregnant.  I love my body, my belly, my big legs.  I love that I've gained 30 pounds to grow this little being inside of me.  I appreciate and am comforted that our little girl is nestled in the same space that held Nico for 30 weeks.  Wish me luck as I prepare for a brand new adventure!