Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pavlov's Pecan Roll



I have a degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Child Psychology. In school they drill into your head all the different theories and Psychologists who did studies trying to learn behavior patterns.

One of the most talked about and one of my favorite experiments was Pavlov's Dogs. 

If you don't know this experiment, let me tell you! Ivan Pavlov had these dogs. He put them in kennels and right before he would feed them he would ring a bell. He tested how much saliva was in the dog's mouth each time he rang the bell and fed them. Eventually the dogs learned to associate the bell with food. So Pavlov would ring the bell and the dogs would instantly begin to salivate because they knew food was coming. You can also read about John. B Watson and poor "Little Albert" once these experiments were tested on children.

Anyway, the point of my story.

Deep down, I'm a very weird and sentimental person. I remember the strangest things and hold on to the oddest memories. 

Over Easter weekend, while I was in the hospital having Olivia, my mom brought me several packs of these pecan rolls shaped like Easter eggs. I LOVE pecan rolls but I never remember that I love them until I go into a Cracker Barrel. However, they are crazy expensive in Cracker Barrel so I never buy them.

Mom had somehow found like 20 of these and I have been slowly enjoying them over the last 2 months.

Today, I ate my last one. Eating my last one triggers a Pavlovian response of all my memories from the hospital. It makes me sad because these Pecan Rolls are what I specifically remember eating in the hospital in the middle of the night while I was holding my brand new baby girl.

Now my big girl is 2 months old. As odd as it is, I miss the calm of being in the hospital. I miss sitting in bed and having Josh in the bed next to me 24/7. I miss hearing the little plastic bassinet being rolled down the hallway towards me and getting so excited because they were bringing me my baby girl! I miss my nurses constantly checking on me to make sure I was doing ok. I miss the immediately relief of not being pregnant anymore. I miss the texts and calls from my friends being so excited Olivia was finally here. I miss my family being 10 minutes down the road, especially my mom. I miss the look of pride and admiration my husband gave me when he was helping me out of the hospital bed so that I could go to the bathroom. I miss the newness and excitement to start a new phase of life.

All these deep thoughts came back today when I pulled this Pecan Roll out of the cookie jar and realized it was my last one.




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Olivia | Labor

So labor. Was not as hard as I thought it would be.

Ha! Bet you didn't expect that!

Don't get me wrong...labor was crazy insane hard and crazy intense. But it wasn't what I expected.

See I don't lose control. I don't cry often and I'm not an overly emotional person. I only scream if bees, roaches, or horse flies come at me or someone jumps out at me and scares me. Other than that I am cool, calm, and collected.

So after years of watching women on tv scream and yell and cuss at their husbands. After years of hearing the horror stories of all kinds of things happening I just didn't know what to expect.

It was the contractions. That's what I was scared of. I was so worried that I was going to become so consumed in the pain of contractions that I would not be able to breath or think or speak. I worried I would just lose my mind and become delirious and lethargic and just give up.

I was also scared of the epidural. I'm not a fan of needles, but I will say pregnancy kind of makes you get over your fear of needles...not completely but not as scary.

Also, I had planned to have some great, artsy, black and white photos of my labor. That didn't happen. I didn't realize until AFTER I birthed the child that no one had taken any pictures. Let me tell you now...if you have the chance to have someone take labor photos for you...DO IT! I have 6 pictures that Josh took on his phone and they are all from the same spot. I'm so sad that I completely forgot to give my camera to someone...anyone...and have them take photos. I don't have any of the pictures that I wanted.

So since Christmas week, I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. They didn't hurt, but I was having them pretty much every evening from 7-9 PM and randomly throughout the day.

Like I said in my previous post, I scheduled myself to be induced on April 13th. I was supposed to be at the hospital at 6 AM.

At 10 o'clock on April 12th Josh and I headed to bed. At 10:19 I had what I thought was a Braxton Hicks contraction that kinda hurt. When it passed I really needed to pee. I got up and almost didn't make it to the bathroom.

As soon as I sat down my water broke. Now...it's not like the movies. In the movies it's one gush and the woman starts laughing or whatever and is like OMG I'm in labor. That's not how it was for me.

I sat there and was like...what is happening? Am I peeing? I called for Josh and he came in the bathroom and I said, "I'm pretty sure my water is breaking but I don't know."

I just sat there because I couldn't get up due to the liquid that was still randomly escaping my body quite quickly. Josh went to get my mom who, poor thing, had just fallen asleep.

She came into the bathroom (which initially was weird because I'm a super modest person...lol more on that later). Anyway, she came in and asked what had happened.  I explained and she said, "yup, kid your water broke."

I eventually was able to get up and get a few of my things together. Josh did EXCELLENT at packing the car with the things on the list I made him.


He did forget my purse...which had my gum and ID's in it. Other than that he did awesome.

We got into the car and headed to the hospital. Which, I know you're thinking, "sweetheart you are supposed to wait until your contractions are 5-7 minutes apart before going to the hospital". Well I tested positive for Strep B so I was told as soon as my water broke I needed to come in so they could get me on antibiotics. I took that very literally.

We got to the hospital at 10:40 and I was checked in pretty quickly. I was impressed. I was worried I would have to sit in the waiting room through contractions but I still hadn't had any that hurt so I was happy.

I got wheeled upstairs to a delivery room and told to put on a hospital gown. Here's a gross part...if you don't want to read it skip down to where it says "START HERE".

So, when your water breaks...it doesn't just break once then stop. Nope, it continually leaks out. You are basically uncontrollably peeing until you are out of amniotic fluid, which for me was about 5 hours.

When she asked me to strip down and put on the hospital gown I asked if I could leave on my underwear because I had planned accordingly and had a pad in. Sadly she said no that I needed everything off so they could check me easily. I walked to the bathroom, stripped down, and put on the hospital gown. Then I made the walk of shame back to the bed. I say walk of shame because I left a trail of fluid from the bathroom to the bed that the poor nurse had to wipe up. She gave me a towel to put down there once I got in the bed so that helped.

It was, in my opinion, the grossest part of labor. Josh would probably say different because he had a different view...but for me that was the grossest.




START HERE

So, I was in the hospital gown, in the bed, and checked in. My nurse checked me and I was 2cm dilated. At this point it was about 11:15 and I had to get my IV. I was super scared of the IV because it has to go in your hand and I had never had an IV in my hand before. It wasn't horrible but it did hurt a lot. Amy and Karen got to witness me getting the IV.


Around midnight the excitement wore down and the nurse came in and told me I should "get some rest".

Of course when you are going into labor for the first time your mind is thinking anything but going to sleep. Josh folded out his little chair and laid down. We turned out the lights and I attempted to "rest".

I think I dozed off around 1 o'clock, but I'm not sure. I don't really remember.

Then, at 2:30 AM I woke up to pain. It was horrible. My back hurt, my hips hurts, my abdomen hurt. I started moving my legs back and forth in the bed and breathing but it hurt. I remember it being stronger at some points, but I'm going to be honest, I don't really remember the pain stopping.

You know how when you have period cramps and it just constantly hurts all the way around your lower waist? That's how I was. It would get worse, but it never went away. I tried timing my contractions, but I honestly couldn't keep track of them. I couldn't tell when one would end and the other would begin.

I labored from 2:30 - 5:15 while Josh slept. I don't hold that against him...honestly I wasn't even thinking about him. I was just breathing. Around 5:20 Josh woke up which was really good because at 5:32 AM I had a HORRIBLE contraction. Josh held my hand and rubbed my forehead while I breathed.


After that contraction passed I felt sick so then I had to breath through that so I didn't throw up. I was scheduled to be checked and started on Pitocin at 6AM. So I called the nurse and asked if she would come check me early and if I was anywhere near 4cm I wanted to get the epidural because I hadn't slept, I was in pain, and I had just had a horrible contraction that I couldn't handle if I had again.

My goal was to make it to 5cm before I got the epidural...just FYI.

She came in and checked me. "Sweetheart, you're still only at 2cm."

WHAT THE HECK?! I had labored for 3 hours with NO CHANGE AT ALL?!?!

I asked her what I could get for the pain because I was so tired and everything hurt. She said, well I'm not going to give you the Epidural this early, but I can give you some Stadol.

Stadol was the drug I had been told by multiple people not to get so I paused. I had decided before labor I didn't want Stadol. Crap...I didn't know what to do. Then another contraction hit and that made the decision for me. LOAD ME UP WITH STADOL PLEASE!

Let me tell you...she put the stuff in my IV and within 5 minutes I was floating on a cloud. I asked her how long the Stadol would last and she said about 2 hours. I dozed off and was asleep until about 7:00. Best hour of sleep one could have gotten while in labor.

At some point in there my mom came in the room with my purse and some food and coffee for Josh, but I don't remember that visit.

At 7:00 I woke up and Josh said, "hey Shannon will be here in just a minute is it ok if she comes in?" I said sure then dozed off.


I woke up again and Shannon was in the room with coffee. All I remember from that visit is thinking, "oh no, my mom brought Josh coffee a while ago and Shannon brought Josh coffee too...I hope she doesn't notice the coffee mom brought him cause that coffee was probably cold now and so hers will be hot." Then I fell asleep.

I woke up again around 7:30. At this point the Stadol had worn off but my body was having Pitocin induced contractions. So in my opinion this was MUCH easier to deal with because these contractions were actually stop and go. I knew exactly when one was happening and when I wasn't having a contraction I wasn't in pain. It was much better than what had dealt with earlier in the morning. However, the contractions were a lot stronger when they were happening.

At some point between 7:30 and 8:00 Brittany came in the room and said she saw my name on the board and that I had not been assigned a daytime nurse yet. She asked if she could put her name down. I said sure. She laughed and said, "well since I know you personally I wasn't sure if it would be weird for you or not". I didn't mind at all.

She left for a little while and I really don't remember what happened next in any certain order. At some point after 8AM I got checked by Brittany and she said I could get the epidural if I wanted because the Anesthesiologist was about to go into 2 surgeries so she could get him to me now but if I waited it could be a while. I didn't know at the time how far along I was but since I was allowed the epidural and I had been in labor for 6 hours at this point I agreed to get it. At 9 he came up to the room and Josh had to leave.

They explained to me that I couldn't move while getting the epidural and that if I was about to have a contraction to let them know so they could stop but I still have to be very still and not move. When the epidural was in I would feel a cold sensation. Here we go...this was one of the scary parts of labor that I was freaking out about. I was about to get a massive needle inserted into my spine and I couldn't move or I might be paralyzed. I was TERRIFIED.

So Brittany had me move to the side of the bed and she came and stood in front of me and held my hands. The Anesthesiologist started. I was focused on not moving and breathing as best I could. The whole process took....get this....10 MINUTES! I had 3 contractions while he was putting the epidural in and for each one I said, "I'm about to have one!" and he held all his instruments still, Brittany held my hands and I'm pretty sure I squeezed the mess out of them while I breathed through the contractions...but I didn't move an inch! After each contraction the Anesthesiologist commented on how still I was. Brittany said over and over, "I'm so impressed with how calm and in control you are". I'm sure she says that to most of her patients, but either way it goes she made me feel like a champion. At one point I apologized to Brittany if I had bad breath because I was deep breathing all up in her face. The Anesthesiologist laughed and said he had never heard a woman in labor worry about how her breath smelled.

The Anesthesiologist said he was done and he was going to begin the medicine and that I should feel cold once it was in. That was a crazy feeling, being cold instantaneously then going back to normal just as quickly.

After they were finished the Anesthesiologist joked about how much tape he was putting on the cath so that it wouldn't move. He said he liked his job because women were so excited to see him and all he had to do was give them the drugs. He said the hard part is later when they have to take the tape off and the woman was yelling because that hurt...he said he didn't have to deal with that...he made the nurses do it. He and Brittany joked about her having to take the tape off and how I wasn't going to like her very much.

All in all though, I was so impressed with how calm I was during the epidural. I was worried I wouldn't be able to handle the pain and it would get messed up or I would move, but it's amazing how your mind can just leave your body and you can be in control of yourself. I had never experienced something so overwhelming that I was forced to overcome that and be in complete control...if that makes sense.


Anyway, the epidural was done!

Around 9:30 my doctor, Dr. Williams, came in for the first time and was her usual, "Hellooooo, how we doin?" She asks that at every doctor's appointment when she comes into the room. She has to greet so many women a day that I assume that is her "go to" phrase.

I told her I was good now cause I had gotten the epidural. She looked at Brittany and Brittany said I was 6cm dilated.

WAIT WHAT?!

No one told me I had made it to 6cm! Ladies and gentlemen...I made it to 6cm without an epidural! 1cm PAST my goal!

I was so excited. A little backstory: At my last doctor's appt, Dr. Williams asked if I was planning on using medication. I said yes, that I wanted an epidural but I wanted to try to wait until I was 5cm before I got it. She kinda muffled laughed and said, well women handle pain differently so you can get it anytime, but we prefer you wait until 4cm. I joked asking her if she thought I was reaching by saying I wanted to hold out until 5cm to which she again replied, "women handle pain differently." She's been my doctor for a year now and has had to poke and prod plenty of times...she knew I was a weenie with pain.

So anyway, I told her I had just gotten the epidural so I actually made it to 6cm before I had gotten it! She probably didn't care and I probably looked like a goof smiling like a drug head...but I MADE IT!

Dr. Williams told me they projected me to progress 1cm an hour so they should check me at 2:00 PM she would be back around 2:30 PM to start pushing. Woohoo!

I have NO CLUE what happened between 10 and 2. I don't remember any of it. 4 hours of my life and I have no clue what happened. Maybe Josh can write a blog from his perspective.

I remember at some point feeling contractions again so I asked if my epidural was wearing off. The Anesthesiologist came in the room and fiddled with the machine then I felt that cold sensation again. Then boom...pain away.

At 1:45 PM Brittany came in to check me and said I was ready to push and that Olivia's head was right at the opening to my cervix so it shouldn't be long now! At 2:00 PM Dr. Williams came in and sat down on the end of my bed to check me. When she checked she said, "Yup, she's right there! We're going to start pushing!"

She explained that I pushed during contractions and rested when I wasn't having one. So I started pushing. At 2:35, for some reason, I heard Dr. Williams say, "let's get her on some oxygen."

I don't know why I had to be put on oxygen, but within 30 seconds there was an oxygen mask being put over my face.


Once again, I have no clue how time passed or what I did in what order but I pushed for....dun dun dun...3 1/2 hours!

Yup you read that right. 3 1/2 hours of pushing. Olivia's head got stuck between my pubic bone and my tailbone. I would push and she would come out just a little bit then when I finished that set of pushing she would go back. She was so close to coming out that they were telling me I could reach down and touch the top of her head. I politely declined that offer. There was too much to freak me out if I put my hand down there.

So, at this point all I remember of labor was the different positions the nurses had me in during labor. At one point a nurse came in and Brittany told me she had magical powers to get babies out. I don't remember her name, but she was really nice. She had me rolled over on my side with one leg up in the air...which I was not doing on my own...someone was holding my leg cause...well...epidural.

That didn't work and that nurse got called somewhere else so then it was back to Dr. Williams and Brittany. Then a nurse named Kathy came in. Kathy was awesome. Kathy was adventurous. Kathy had all the ideas of things to try. My mom came in at some point in all of this too.

Remember at the beginning of this blog when I said it was a little weird to have my mom come in the bathroom while I was sitting on the toilet...yeah all that modesty went way out the window!

Mom came in and helped with all of Kathy's crazy ideas. At one point Kathy asked, "do you think you could get on all fours?"

Um...what?

You do know I have an epidural right...so like...I can't move. I could kinda feel my right leg but my left leg was dead weight. How was I supposed to get on all fours and stay balanced????

But let me tell you, with the help of Kathy, Brittany, my mom, and Josh...I got up there!

I remember talking about farting during this process of being on all fours...not sure what sparked that conversation other than the fact that I probably had to fart...but I remember talking about it.

I'm telling you....nurses don't get enough credit. They deal with all kinds of junk.

Anyway, all fours didn't work so I got back down on my back. We tried other various things and nothing was happening.

By 4:45 I was starting to get delirious.

At 5:00, Kathy came in with a sheet with two knots on each end. She said we were going to play tug of war. She gave me one knot and she took the other. Brittany had my right leg and Josh had my left. When I would push I was told to pull on the sheet. We did that for about 10 minutes and we started making progress but still no baby. I was out of strength to pull on the sheet so we went back to regular pushing.

At 5:10 my blood pressure and Olivia's heart rate began dropping. We were hitting critical at this point. I remember saying over and over in a very slurred manor, "I don't know what's taking so long...why won't she come out..."

Dr. Williams left the room...not sure why but as soon as she walked out Brittany moved from my right leg to where Dr. Williams was and looked me right in the eyes and said, "we're going to get this baby out".

I started pushing again and all of a sudden Josh started yelling, "GO GO YOU'RE ALMOST THERE! DON'T STOP!!"

Then Brittany yelled, "GET DR. WILLIAMS!"

I leaned up further because I was pushing harder and there she was! I saw my baby girl's head in Brittany's hands! Dr. William's came running back in and was gowning up. I specifically remember her yelling , "GLOVES!" and putting on her gloves telling me to stop pushing. I laid back down and tried my best not to push but I knew she was literally hanging out of me and I was so excited that I was almost done that I wanted to push more!

Dr. Williams got situated and had me push 2 more times then BAM! There was my girl! At 5:22 PM my baby girl was finally here!! When she came out everyone in the room went, "WOAH!"

My big girl was 8 pounds 14 ounces!!

I laid back and within a few seconds she was up on my chest. She was already so clean and perfect...I was worried cause some babies come out all covered in gunk. She was just a little gunky in her hair but overall very clean!


She only laid there for a few minutes then Josh cut the cord and they took her to examine her. After a few minutes the nurse came back over to me and said Olivia was running a fever of 102 and they needed to take her to the pediatrician.

Then they rolled her away.

Dr. Williams was still stitching me up because I tore.

I don't really remember much else from that evening except the high points.

They finally brought Olivia back to me at 7:30 for skin to skin.

When they took her away again the nurse came in and told me I needed to get up and use the bathroom.

Y'all....getting out of that bed after childbirth was horrible.

After everything I had been through this was when I cried.

It wasn't as hard as childbirth, but I was off of pain meds, my body had been through crazy trauma, my tailbone was bruised, and I had like a million stitches.

When I finally got off the bed and stood up blood was everywhere. I once again left a nice trail to the bathroom that the poor nurse had to clean up.

I tried and tried and tried and I couldn't pee. I sat there for 5 minutes then started to pass out so the nurses got me situated with the massive mesh underwear and massive pad and helped me into the wheelchair.

I had to put my head down to regain my composure before I could get back into the bed.

Once I was back into the bed, the nurse looked at me sadly and said, "sweetie, since you didn't pee we have to do an in-and-out cath."

Also, again...horrible pain! I had already been cathed once, but I didn't feel it cause I got it after the epidural. I also didn't feel them take it out. But after you go through childbirth and the pain meds wear off...absolutely everything down there is sore. I mean...I birthed out 8 pounds and 14 ounces. I didn't want anything going up in anywhere near that area of my body.

Josh held my hand and I started breathing like I was having a contraction all over again. I cried, and moaned, and grunted, and breathed. Then they pulled it out and I felt better.

Then the nurse told me I needed to get out of bed again and into the wheelchair so that I can go to my actual room.

So again, I huffed and puffed and made it to the wheelchair.

They rolled me to my room and I huffed and puffed and made it into the bed.

I was down!

At 12:20 AM they brought me my baby girl again and this time she was washed and swaddled and her skin was a beautiful pink/tan color! Her temp was normal, but she was connected to an IV that was in her right hand. I was so stressed out about moving her around with that IV in her hand. They had it wrapped up nicely but I was scared.

We had some perfect snuggle time together and I just stared down at her. She was perfect. Absolutely beautiful. I honestly don't know how she turned out so beautiful...and so early too. Most babies are like...you know...a little awkward looking. But Olivia...man she came out cute!



We snuggled and fed and snuggled and fed and slept and snuggled and fed for the next 2 days. On Saturday we were supposed to be able to go home so the nurses took Olivia's IV out of her hand, but the pediatrician said she wanted her on antibiotics for the full 48 hours from the time the started her on them so when they brought her to me Saturday morning the nurse told me they had taken her IV out but then had to redo it so it was now in her left arm. Y'all...I cried all over again.

The nurse left me in the room with my girl, Josh had gotten in the shower and I just sat there alone and cried.

I just sat there telling her I was sorry. I know it wasn't, but I felt like it was my fault. She came into this world pretty traumatically, then had a fever, then got poked with needles for the first 4 hours of her life. We didn't get skin to skin until 2 hours after she was born so I was so scared for her. She came out and was immediately alone. She didn't have me to warm her and make her feel safe.

So after 2 days of holding it in, I just sat there and cried because I couldn't help her. She was so perfect, but she was sick and I couldn't help her.


Some of y'all are probably feeling bad for me...some of y'all are laughing because you know I always jump to the worst conclusions...some of y'all are probably rolling your eyes because I was being over dramatic. But I was doped up on pain meds and I hadn't processed anything that had happened the last 2 1/2 days until they told me they had to give her a second IV and I finally saw her right hand and she had a little bruise from her previous IV.

I was a new mom...cut me some slack.

Saturday afternoon my nurse came in and had me sign my discharge papers. I was free to leave but Olivia had to stay one more day. I asked about feeding and she said since I was breastfeeding I could stay in my room until Olivia was released and they would bring her to me, but I was no longer considered a patient. I chose to stay at the hospital...obviously, but I wanted to run home for a bit to grab a few things.

I fed Olivia then grabbed some of our stuff and began to walk to the car.

I slowly made the walk all the way down to the car. We got in the car and once again I started tearing up. I was going home, but my sweet baby girl was staying in the hospital. She was probably in her plastic bassinet in a corner all alone. This wasn't how this was supposed to happen.

I got home and rested for a minute and convinced Josh to sleep at the house so he could get a good night's sleep before Sunday church. Josh drove me back to the hospital, got me settled then left to go back home.

I resisted crying this time, but I don't like being away from my husband...especially after the last few days we had had.

Around 8:30...guess who came wandering back into the room! You guessed it...it was my awesome husband. He had his church clothes on a hanger and a bag of candy. He said he didn't want to leave me alone just for a few extra hours of sleep so he was going to stay with me. He's awesome.

Sunday, Easter Sunday, was a new day! I woke up, Josh left me to go to church, my mom came and brought me breakfast, we watched Keeping Up the the Kardashians...which I never watch lol. I was told that morning that the Pediatrician would be in my room shortly to release us to go home. At 1:30 after we still had not heard from her, mom suggested we take a walk down to the nursery. I was doing MUCH better at moving but had not walked very far.

I got down there and there was my baby girl in her little plastic bassinet with NO IV!! This was the first time I had seen her since Thursday without being attached to an IV machine. We talked to the pediatrician and she told us the reason she was running a fever was because she and I had different blood types. So it ended up not being anything serious. We were given the papers and were released to go home!!


We rolled Olivia back to the room and I finally unswaddled her without fear of messing up her IV. I laid her down and just looked at her! She was perfect! I was looking at her whole body for the first time since Thursday. I got her dressed in her going home outfit, which by the way was almost too small because she was so big!


We walked down to the car and got her all settled in! We were going home!!



Next on the blog...life as new parents!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Olivia | Pregnancy

So pregnancy. It's waaaaay harder than I expected.

Josh and I have been married for 7 years, we got married when he was 21 and I was 20. I had always said I wanted to be 25 years old or be married for 5 years before we had kids.

Well, when I turned 25 we were living the dream. Josh was making $80,000 a year. We decided there was no better time than the present to have kids. We began trying, then one dark Wednesday we got an email. "You will receive your last paycheck on Friday you will need to contact your supervisor to determine if you need to come into work for paperwork today and to clean out your desks."

The company Josh was working for shut down with 2 days notice. I was finishing up school so I didn't have a job. We were jobless and all of that combined put a halt on having children.

Josh decided/was called to go into ministry. During the first two years we made $12,000 a year and lived in a trailer with a roommate. Definitely not the time to have a baby.

Our third year we got a raise and moved into a house and decided it was time to start trying for kids again.

At this point I was 27 and Josh and I had been married for 6 years. We had always joked that since we weren't quite in a place financially to have kids that we would get pregnant really quickly or get a surprise baby. Well, we started trying. 6 months later....we began to wonder what was taking so long.

At 9 months, I got worried. I casually mentioned to a friend who is a nurse that we had been trying for 9 months with no success and she said I should come in to get some blood work done. I went and had blood work and $400 later we were told everything looked normal so it was time to take steps to get Josh tested.

We paid off our $400 bill and we were sitting at a year of trying at this point. It's easy for a woman to get tested by the way because she has yearly visits with a specific doctor who can also help with reproduction. Men on the other hand, don't have that luxury. So it took some searching to figure out who might do tests on men involving reproduction.

Once we found a doctor we were going to schedule an appt. Josh usually does personal phone calls, like bills and insurance stuff on Fridays so on August 5th he was going to call and make his appt.

Now, for me, every month was emotional. I don't usually express my emotions publicly but I had gotten to the point where every month when I would start my period I would just stay home and cry.

Well in August, I was late. I had been sick with a cold so I figured that might have messed me up a little. I was supposed to start on a Friday but nothing happened. Saturday...nothing. Sunday...still nothing so I started thinking I needed to get a pregnancy test but I was dreading it. I knew it was going to be negative.

On Monday I went and bought two tests, but I read that you were supposed to take them in the morning so I missed my window and I wanted everything to be by the rules just in case. Well, Tuesdays are praise team practice and I couldn't face everyone knowing I had gotten a negative test so I put it off. Same thing on Wednesday, I had to go to church that night and just didn't want to be sad so I kept the test boxed up in the drawer.

Thursday, August 4th rolled around and I had nowhere to go and no people to see. That was my day. Josh told me he wanted to be awake with me when I took the test and unfortunately I woke up at 5:45 really needing to go to the bathroom. So I woke Josh up and went to the bathroom. We waited 2 minutes...pacing the bathroom floor. The timer went off and we looked. 2 pink lines!

I was pregnant! After a year of trying though I didn't believe it (hence the 2 tests). So I said, we're not going to get too excited until I take the second one the next morning. However, that evening I felt AWFUL. I was so nauseous that nothing sounded good. I just laid on the couch.

Friday morning I felt fine and I took the second test. 2 minutes later...2 pink lines! Friday afternoon...sick again.

Saturday...woke up sick and sick all day.

This continued for 5 1/2 months. But we'll get to that.

So I scheduled my first doctor appt for 2 weeks later when I was about 6 weeks along.



I went to my doctor's appointment and my doctor wasn't actually there so I just had an ultrasound. While she was giving me the ultrasound she kept the wand near my right side. She mentioned that I had an odd shaped uterus and she was going to put that in my chart to have my doctor look at.

I scheduled my next appointment for a month later so I was 10 weeks along at that point. About 2 weeks before that appointment I noticed a hard spot the size of a plum on my right side near my hipbone. I read about it and chalked it up to my uterus getting hard prepping for baby. When I went to my 10 week appt I mentioned it to my doctor and she felt it. She said it felt like a hernia, but she wanted to see it on an ultrasound. So I walked over to the ultrasound tech and she looked at it again. She didn't know what it was so she called my doctor into the room and she looked at it. She couldn't tell exactly what it was, but said it looked like a mass connected to my uterus. She said she was going to send me to a maternal fetal medicine specialist in Jackson to get a second opinion.

We got in the car after that appointment and immediately Josh turned to me and said, "I need to be real with you for a minute."

I looked at him knowing exactly what he was going to say.

He said, "You know what I am going to say, but I want your opinion before I say it...what do you want to do if this is cancer?"

I just started crying and said I didn't want to think about that right now. I just wanted to see what the doctor said.

My doctor put in the notice to the specialist and they called me two days later to schedule an appointment. A week later in the beginning of October we headed to Jackson. I was a nervous wreck.

It took us 2 hours to get called back and another hour sitting in the room before we saw the doctor. We had an ultrasound and the doctor took a look and determined the lump was a Uterine Fibroid about 4cm which was the size of a plum. He asked if I had experienced any pain or if the lump hurt. I said no, I wasn't in any pain. He sadly informed me that would probably change but there wasn't much I could do about it. Take warm salt baths, use a heating pad, and take tylenol.

We went home with happy news overall! Fibroids were fairly common and depending on how big they got was to how easy they were to deal with during pregnancy. Mine was fairly small, anything under 5cm was "easy". Anything from 6-9cm was "more difficult" and anything 10cm and up might cause "complications". So I was good!

At 12 weeks we announced our pregnancy to the public...which was really nice because I was tired of lying to everyone about why I was so sick...although I'm sure everyone knew.


About 2 weeks later at the end of October on a Sunday night as we were getting ready for bed something didn't feel quite right. I went to the bathroom to find blood. I told Josh and he immediately said we have to go to the ER. At 11:00 we left the house and went to the Emergency Room. We were there for about an hour when a girl came in and said she was there to do my ultrasound. She wasn't an ultrasound tech but she knew how to work the machine so all she really was there for was to find the heartbeat. She easily found it within just a few seconds and said everything looked good however I should rest until my next doctor's appointment (which was in 3 days)...that was also our gender appointment!

Wednesday, Nov 2nd, we headed to the specialist in Jackson to find out the gender of our baby and maybe find out what had caused the bleeding. We were there for 3 hours but we finally got called back and they started the ultrasound. Within minutes she knew what we were having and asked us if we were really really sure we wanted to know. I said YES WE NEED TO KNOW! Then she announced, it's a girl! Our sweet little baby that we had prayed for for so long was going to be a little girl....y'all, my husband was ecstatic! He wanted a girl so bad! We didn't get any specific answers about the bleeding, but our doctor said everything looked normal. In fact our little girl was so perfectly healthy!


We continued with pregnancy and still holding strong with the morning sickness even though it had gone down to every other day instead of everyday.

By Thanksgiving I began having back pain on my right side toward the end of the day. Every evening I would have to lay down with a heating pad. I still wasn't really showing. I had a tiny bump but it was barely noticeable.


My next appointment was with the specialist in Jackson on December 15th. By then I was having significant back and rib pain most of the day. It hurt sitting in the car and it hurt sitting in the doctors office. We got called back and they started my ultrasound. She said everything looks great with our baby girl, but the doctor needed to come in and talk to me about my fibroid.

About 15 minutes later, the doctor came in and said, "well everything looks perfect with your baby girl. However, your 4 cm fibroid is now a 10 cm fibroid and it grew very rapidly in a month and a half."

There was nothing they could do, as everything was still very healthy, but I was now considered a "high risk pregnancy" and I just needed to take it easy.


Christmas this year was on a Sunday, so Josh and I got up and went to open the church like normal. We had praise team and I was scheduled to sing that day. I helped Josh set up the church, then stood during praise team practice, stood during the service, then after service we cleaned up and locked up the church. My ribs were killing me! I had to have Josh help me in the car because I couldn't bend over. We got home and I laid on the couch and cried. I couldn't move without pain in my side. My parents left my sister's house in Alabama that afternoon and got to our house that night to have Christmas with us and spend the night so they could continue their drive home to Texas. I ended up going to bed because I just couldn't get comfortable. At 4 o'clock that morning I woke up to Josh getting in and out of the bed. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "I'm pretty sure I'm sick."

We stayed up the rest of the night because as long as he was sick I couldn't sleep. Finally at 7 I heard my parents moving around and I went to tell them Josh was sick so we wouldn't be able to go to breakfast with them and they should just head on home so they didn't catch it. They were gone and I was left in the house alone with my sick husband.

We ultimately decided he should just stay in the bedroom and I should go to the guest room until he was better. Y'all...whatever stomach bug he had...lasted the whole dang week. We had to cancel all our Christmas plans and all church practices. I spent all week trying to keep the house clean so I didn't catch whatever he had. On top of all this, the rib pain I was having just kept getting worse. I couldn't do much of anything for more than 20 minutes without having to go lay down and take a break.

Finally, by Friday Josh got better and we were able to talk to each other face to face again. He helped me clean the house one last time then we went to the church on Saturday and set up for the Sunday morning service.

Our next doctors appt was here in Vicksburg on January 6th and that was my glucose test.  Of course, we woke up that morning and it was hailing outside! We were not giving up so we got in the car and very slowly made our way to the hospital. We arrived and everyone was really impressed we were there! They said that almost everyone had cancelled their appointments because of the weather. We got called back immediately and I was given my orange drink. It really wasn't that bad. We went back out to the waiting room to wait for an hour before I got my blood work done, but I got called back for an ultrasound. My ultrasound tech (who by the way is amazing) asked what all I had done so far and I told her I drank my drink and now I was waiting. She was impressed I was ok with getting an ultrasound, she said normally people like to walk around to take their mind off their gurgling stomach. I told her I actually wasn't feeling too bad. So she started the ultrasound and we were just chatting then she asked me if a 4d ultrasound would freak me out. I told her NO! We were planning on getting one but we hadn't made the appt yet. She said, well I don't have any other appointments today and they are about to shut down our office due to the weather, so if you want one I don't mind doing it. I was like oh yes that would be awesome!!

So I got a 4D ultrasound. Y'all...according to those pictures, my kid was going to be adorable! She had the cutest little cuppie lips and little button nose! I was so excited.



By February, I was finally starting to show but my pain in my side had gotten so bad I couldn't stand or sit for very long and I would have to lay down on my left side to be comfortable. I went to the doctor on February 2nd. I was 31 weeks pregnant and that morning I was having sharp pain in my side that came in waves. I told my doctor what was happening and she checked me. She said baby was growing great but my fibroid had shifted. I now had two dislocated ribs. I needed to take it very easy for the next few weeks. I needed to at least make it to 34 weeks. I was put on "partial bedrest" until after 34 weeks. I wasn't allowed to be out for more than a few hours at a time, and not do anything that could raise my blood pressure or cause me stress.

After that appointment Josh told me I was not to schedule myself on praise team anymore, I needed to reduce my responsibilities at the church, and no more photography. I spent the next three weeks trying to take it as easy as possible. Better said than done, but I made it to 34 weeks!


I had my baby shower when I was 35 weeks. Unfortunately I am 8 weeks postpartum as I type this and I am still working on Thank You cards...because well...I'm a horrible person. So if you are still waiting on a card from me...I promise it's coming.


After 35 weeks, pregnancy was kind of a blur. I was told for months that I would probably not carry full term and that I was a high risk pregnancy and would probably go into labor very early. So from 35 weeks on I kept thinking...any day now...any day now.

FYI, I went into labor at 40 1/2 weeks and that story will be for another blog. Do you know how slow time feels when you think to yourself "any day now" for 5 1/2 weeks????

I went for an appointment on March 27th and they did one final ultrasound. Everyone was great, but the fibroid was now 14 cm. The size of a grapefruit. WOAH.


It felt like FOREVER. People at church were constantly telling me, "I was hoping you weren't going to be at church today" or "you still haven't had that baby yet?"


My mom was planning on coming from Texas to stay with me for a month to help out and we had all gotten antsy about me going into labor quickly so on Wednesday April 5th my mom drove over to stay because the waiting was getting frustrating.

While my mom was here we tried everything we could to get the baby out. The term "walk it out" was taken a little too literally. I walked SO MUCH between April 5th and when I went into labor.

At my appt on April 10th I scheduled myself to be induced on April 13th.

FINALLY, on April 12th at 10:19 PM...I went into labor.


To be continued...