Family Friday: Sept 28

3 Weeks old

Funny how for months I was hoping to go into labor this weekend, being that Cameron's due date was this coming Monday.  But here she is, already 3 weeks old!  It's a good example of my dad's favorite saying "Man plans and God smiles."  The timing of her early birth really was perfect, despite not being what we had planned for.  I am so thankful that we have extra time to adjust to being a family and to enjoy our new daughter before family visitors arrive in mid-October.  I'm also thankful that Johnnie and Cameron have extra bonding time before he deploys.

Life with a newborn isn't easy.  It certainly has countless moments of awe, amazement, and warm fuzzy feelings but it also has moments of frustration, isolation, and exhaustion.  It's a roller coaster of emotion but Cameron is so sweet that she is absolutely worth every sleepless night.  Besides, she'll grow up fast enough and I know that someday we'll look back on this time and smile :)

Cameron is still on a schedule of an average of 3 hours so we wake up at least once or twice in the wee hours of the morning.  We'll have a string of good nights and then she'll shake things up with a completely off night where she and I will get very little sleep... not so fun.   I try to take a nap every afternoon and I also try to accomplish something small every day.  I had a To-Do List of things to finish before Cameron was born but that was brought to a grinding halt when she arrived early.  I know everything will get done eventually, it's just going to take extra time... a lot of extra time.

Earlier this week we took Cameron for her 2+ week checkup.  She is a very healthy little girl and growing fast!  At birth, she weighed 5 lbs 13 oz.  A few days after birth (babies usually lose weight), she had dropped to 5 lbs 5 oz.  At this recent appointment, she weighed in at 6 lbs 7 oz.  She has also grown an entire inch since birth, going from 18 inches to 19 inches.  She is still a bit smaller than the average newborn but she'll catch up eventually!

Johnnie has been amazing since Cameron's birth.  He is so supportive and doing his best to care for all of us.  He keeps me sane through sleepless nights, makes sure I get some extra rest during the day, and is quickly becoming a pro at all things baby related.  He is the perfect husband and an incredible father.  I am so glad that we are partners in this parenthood adventure :)

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow
For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow,
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."
~Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Family Friday: Sept 21

I started the "Family Friday" posts when we announced our pregnancy.  Now that Cameron has arrived, I'm going to continue the Family Friday posts in order to keep family and friends (and a soon-to-deploy daddy) up to date on our little girl.  This also serves as a journal of Cam's growth and development... information that I'll later put into a book for her.

The first two weeks:

It's been two weeks already?!  I haven't really done anything but lay around, eat, and care for Cameron.  Johnnie has been super amazing, taking care of everything so that I don't exert any unnecessary energy.  I know it's definitely helped with my recovery from the C-section and I'm so grateful for all he's been doing :)  We have been getting meals from people in our squadron and from our neighbors which is so helpful and one less thing for us to worry about doing right now.

Cameron is really an "easy" baby (knock on wood).  She only cries if she's hungry or needs changed, she eats well, sleeps well, and she's so darn cute!  She is on a self-made schedule of an average of 3 hours.  I am pretty exhausted and miss my full nights of sleep but that's to be expected.

I am exclusively breastfeeding Cameron for now.  It's really convenient to do and (now that we have it figured out) it's easy.  We did have some rough moments: 1) engorgement when my milk came in which prevented a good latch and caused some damage, 2) slow let-down for a couple days which really frustrated Miss Impatient, and 3) really sore nipples from poor latch due the engorgement and constant feeding for a day/night before my milk supply was established.  One night I sat feeding her with tears streaming down my face the whole time because of the pain.  My breast pump has been my saving grace, relieving engorgement and allowing us to bottle feed her for a day or two so my nipples could heal.  Now my supply is abundant and flowing (oatmeal and cheerios help a ton!) so I can feed her on one side per feeding which gives the other side a break.  It wasn't easy to get to this point, but it's all working out now :)

It's so much fun discovering who Cameron is and what kind of things she likes.  She likes to be swaddled.  She likes to roll onto her side to sleep.  She likes to sleep with a hand next to her face.  She likes to suck her thumb when she's lucky enough to get it in her mouth.  She likes her Sleep Sheep sound machine which helps her sleep deeply.  She is the queen of facial expressions.  She smiles when she's had enough to eat :)

Weekly Photos:

I came across the "52 Weeks of Clara" photo project well over a year ago.  I fell in love with the idea and vowed to do it myself for our children some day.  While living in Korea, I stocked up on fabric at Happy Quilt to use for this "someday" project.  I am so excited to watch Cameron grow in these weekly photos!  Here is the start of the "52 Weeks of Cameron":

Pregnancy Totals (37 weeks):

WEIGHT:  According to the doctor's scale the morning of my induction, I gained 23 lbs total.

BODY:  I grew 9 inches on my waist, 7.5 inches on my lower belly, and 2 inches on my hips.

Post-Pregnancy Body:

I am amazed at how quickly my body is bouncing back after being stretched for 37 weeks!  It's been 2 weeks since Cameron was born and I've lost 20 pounds... that's only 3 more pounds to lose until I hit my pre-pregnancy weight.  Although I only have a few pounds to lose, I still have quite a few inches to lose as well.  My waist is still at +2.5 inches, my lower belly is still at +2.5 inches, and my hips are still at +.5 inch.  Because of the C-section, I won't be exercising until about 6 weeks postpartum but I am looking forward to running again and getting my body back into shape.  Until then, I am perfectly content to spend as much time as I can with Johnnie, Cameron, and Dulce at home :)

I was never one of those girls who "needed" to be a mom and I wasn't sure if I'd ever want to have children.  But when I married Johnnie, I couldn't imagine not having babies with him.  I love that Cameron is a part of him and now that she's here, I am more content than I could've hoped to be :)

"Birth is not only about making babies.  It's about making mothers... strong, competent,
capable mothers who trust themselves and believe in their inner strength."
 ~Barbara Katz Rothman

Baby G's Birth Story

Friday morning, September 7, I went to the hospital for a routine prenatal checkup at 8:15am.  My plan was to go to the appointment, stop for breakfast on the way home, work on the 37 week Family Friday blog post, and then have a girl's night out with friends.  Things didn't go exactly as planned...

This pregnancy was really an easy, uneventful one with no complications of any sort.   My prenatal checkups have all lasted an average of five minutes each.  This appointment was supposed to follow suit but my body threw a curve ball.  My blood pressure was suddenly sky high!  The doctor took my blood pressure four times before sending me for blood and urine tests and then up to Labor and Delivery for further monitoring.

Baby G and I were monitored for almost an hour in a tiny room with no windows.  Honestly, I was annoyed.  Johnnie had been away on a 10-day trip and was arriving home tomorrow.  I had laundry to do, groceries to buy, and a house to clean!  Luckily I had cellphone reception so I was able to call and text Johnnie to let him know what was happening.

After an hour of being monitored with no change, I was given an IV with meds to try to lower my blood pressure.  It didn't work.  That's when the doctor came in and told me that I was at risk for stroke or seizure with blood pressure this high so therefore Baby G had to come out.  I was being admitted immediately and would be induced... 3 weeks early.  This is when I lost it.  I can't remember the last time I cried so hard.  My husband was 4,500 miles away and coming home tomorrow and they wanted to induce me today.  This was not the way this was supposed to happen.  Johnnie had to be here for the birth of our first child!  He tried to get an earlier flight but there was nothing available.  He was already booked on the first flight out in the morning.

I was admitted, put on a lovely hospital gown, and was started on many meds through my IV.  My delivery room had almost no cellphone reception... just enough to get a text message out if I held my phone in the right direction.  Johnnie made some phone calls to neighbors, friends, and family to let them know what was happening.  My dear neighbor friends Meghan and Amy showed up soon afterwards.  They got into our house and grabbed what they thought I would need (including my camera) since I hadn't packed a hospital bag yet.  These girls stayed with me at the hospital all day, all evening, and into the next day.  Meghan even spent the whole night at the hospital with me, sleeping on a fold-out chair.  With Johnnie gone and family all so far away, I am so grateful that I didn't have to go through this ordeal alone.  Back home, Dulce was being cared for by another neighbor.  Have I ever mentioned what an amazing neighborhood we live in?!

I was started on Magnesium Sulfate through my IV as a seizure preventative.  This medication was awful and made me feel sick and dizzy; like I had a really bad hangover.  To make it worse, I needed a catheter so they could measure urine output.  A catheter is a very unpleasant thing.

Amy filled a surgical glove with ice to help relieve my headache.  I held onto it long after the ice melted so we named it the "Daddy Hand", making it my own comforting version of the Daddy Doll for children of deployed parents.

The afternoon progressed into evening and I still hadn't asked for any pain meds yet.  I was having some cramping but my head still hurt worse and I knew an epidural wouldn't help that.  I started vomiting in the early evening (my typical reaction to bad headaches) and threw up at least six times before I was given Zofran for the nausea.

Every doctor and nurse in Labor and Delivery knew that Johnnie was on his way and that I didn't want to have this baby without him.  Thankfully, they allowed the induction to proceed at a snail's pace to give him a chance of making it in time.  At 9pm I was checked for dilation for the first time since that morning.  I had gone from 0cm to 2cm... on my own.  We hadn't started any induction medications yet.  My body knew that something was wrong and was working on it's own to help Baby G come early.

By midnight the contractions were worse than my headache.  It was time for induction measures to begin and an epidural to be given.  I was started on a very slow drip of Pitocin and had a foley catheter inserted to put pressure on my cervix and help it dilate.  The epidural was terribly painful to have inserted and it didn't work quite the way it was supposed to.  I was only numb from my waist to my hip bones.  It did take away the contraction pain but only until they started getting stronger. I didn't sleep at all throughout the night and by early morning had the epidural removed and re-inserted in a different spot.  This time the insertion was quick and less painful, and the pain disappeared shortly thereafter.  I managed to get a little bit of sleep at this point.

5:00am (Hawaii time) -  Johnnie was on the plane in Atlanta, ready to take off for Hawaii when there was a commotion in the back of the plane... a woman had fallen unconscious and they were asking for a doctor on board!  The plane had to return to the gate, paramedics took the lady off, and then the plane needed to wait for more fuel.  Johnnie would be delayed 1 hour getting here!

6:00am - Johnnie's plane finally takes off and I am 3.5cm dilated.  This was a long day, hoping that I wasn't dilating too quickly and praying that Johnnie would make it here in time.

3:00pm - I am 9.5cm dilated, 100% effaced, and at 0 station.  Johnnie was due to land in 30 minutes!  Being so close, the doctor said that we could hold off on pushing even if I got to 10cm.  I am so thankful that all of the doctor's and nurses helped prolong this induction as long as they could!

3:50pm - I am 10cm dilated and Johnnie walks through the door!  I have never been so happy to see him!!!  He got off the plane, skipped baggage claim, and got straight into the car of a waiting friend, speeding through a few red lights to get to the hospital.  He had been on a non-stop 9.5 hour flight, with no way of knowing how I was doing or if Baby G had been born yet.  He made it just in time... it was truly a miracle!

With Johnnie by my side, it was time to start pushing... and that's when my bag of epidural meds ran out!  They replaced the bag but I never felt relief from the strong, painful contractions.

Pushing through the contractions was excruciatingly painful and difficult with my completely numb and slightly swollen legs.  By the second push, we could see Baby G's head.  However, she hit my pubic bone and then stopped.  I continued to push with all the energy I had for over an hour but she wouldn't budge.  The doctor said there just wasn't enough space between my pubic bone and sacrum for the baby's head to fit through.  It was time to sign the consent forms for a C-section.

Baby G was a true champ through all of this.  She never showed any signs of distress despite the extra long induction, the huge cocktail of drugs I was given, the contractions, and the pushing.  She is sure to be a strong little girl :)

The meds they gave me for the C-section were awesome.  I couldn't feel a thing except for how completely exhausted I was.  It had been almost 36 hours from when I arrived at the hospital for my "routine" check-up.  I had a hard time not falling asleep during the short procedure.  I was prepped for surgery and then Johnnie was brought in to be by my side.  It didn't take them long from signing the consent forms all the way through delivery... just over an hour.  It was pretty obvious that the hospital staff does more than a few of these each day.

Cameron Cecelia Green was born on September 8, 2012 at 7:26pm.  She weighed 5lbs 13oz and was 18 inches long.  Although she was evicted three weeks early, she didn't require any intervention and her Apgar scores were 9's (out of 10).  She is perfect in every way!

Johnnie got to cut the cord :)

After seeing our beautiful baby girl, I fell fast asleep while they stitched me up.  Johnnie and Cameron were taken to the recovery room and he had some alone time to bond with her.

We spent the next three days in the hospital recovering.  My hips, legs, and feet swelled up to ginormous size, I was on a steady cocktail of pain meds, my abdomen became bloated with air, and I couldn't pass gas for a few days so I was put on a liquid diet.  It was not a pleasant experience but it was worth it.

There is no nursery at the hospital so Cameron slept in a bassinet next to my bed.  Johnnie spent every night with us sleeping on a fold-out chair.  He was incredible throughout these few days.  While I was recovering, he was busy running between home and the hospital getting things ready and taking care of all the paperwork and legalities of adding a new person to our family.

We are so thankful to all of our family, friends, and neighbors for their help, support, and prayers throughout this unexpected ordeal.  We are so grateful that Johnnie was able to be here for Cameron's birth and amazed by the timing of it all.  Johnnie will be deploying for 6 months at the end of October.  Because of my sudden high blood pressure and the induction, he now has an extra three weeks to spend with his daughter before he leaves - it's amazing how things work out sometimes :)

Welcome home, Baby G!  You are the new love of our lives and we couldn't be happier or more excited to share our adventure of a life with you!

"As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen."
~Winnie the Pooh