"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Zoya’s Birth Story, Part 1

Phew, so we finished Zoya’s newborn photos today and also her baby poop turned yellow (which means she’s now getting a decent breastmilk), and with those two so very important milestones achieved, I feel like I can finally relax and really enjoy her and get to blogging and other nonessentials! Also, stressing over whether or not your newborn will be good for her newborn photos… biggest first world problem EVER!

Zoya’s delivery was originally scheduled for Friday morning at 10:00 AM.

On Thursday I went by the hospital to finish my registration and get blood work done, and find out what time they wanted me to arrive. I was told not to arrive later than 8:30 AM.

Friday morning, Nick and I drove to the hospital and we were so excited and ready to meet our girl! Unfortunately upon arrival, we received the news that our delivery had been bumped back until noon. Looking back on it now, I don’t know why we were so bummed about a two hour delay because it wasn’t that big of a deal except that I was hungry and the girls had been asleep when we left and I hadn’t been able to hug them one last time and other silly things that really don’t matter now… but we had been so buoyant and and ready to go and then we had to wait and it was a little bit of a let down.

Nick and I waited in the waiting room for a little while why they readied our set up and recovery room. We were able to chat with two dads whose babies had just been delivered that morning and that was fun. It turned out well for us because once our room was finally ready, we were put in a super nice LDR room. They brought us into it. I put on a gown and was strapped into a baby monitoring system and got rigged up on an IV. I had been having a lot of contractions in the days leading up to the delivery and it was fun to watch them on the monitor! Several of them were quite strong and painful, we were excited that Baby Shaka seemed ready to go too. Nick was so helpful and kept helping me with all of the equipment they had me hooked up to, which had to be unhooked and wheeled every time I had to use the restroom. Finally I told him that I was fine and could do it and that I didn’t need help. Of course on my way out of the bathroom that time I had toilet paper stuck to my foot, which received a prompt “But I thought you could handle it yourself…”

After that, all we could was hunker down and wait. And then we waited. And we waited. And we waited. At 11:20 our nurse came by and said that our Doctor had finally arrived and needed to do the c-section scheduled before us, but that ours would probably happen very shortly after that. So we waited some more! We finally cuddled on the bed and watched HGTV for a while and my stomach growled at every single food commercial. And FINALLY at 1:20 PM our nurse came by and said that the c-section was finished! That was a LONG c-section surgery. We later learned the back story to that c-section. The mother had previously had a large ovarian tumor removed while pregnant with her first baby and so had a large, vertical incision that had developed a large keloid scarring. Bless her heart! Our doctor takes his scars seriously and so he had taken extra care to make both her incision look as good as possible and also get rid of the giant keloid that had developed. It really made our annoyance at having to wait seem small in comparison.

After that, even though we were next, the Doctor and nurse needed to eat and get the OR ready again and then everyone just seems to move slower in West Texas so it was almost 3 before they wheeled me into OR to get ready for surgery. Here is Nick all scrubbed up! He wasn’t too keen on posing for me.

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Thankfully everything went smoothly getting the spinal! I wasn’t nervous about the spinal, and thankfully my anesthesiologist was the second nicest I’ve had so that really made it even better. He kept making a lot of silly and mildly dirty jokes that normally would bother me, but they just kind of seemed to fit the light mood, and I liked that he interacted with me a lot as opposed to OR doctors that I’ve had that completely ignored me.

My friend Che had really impressed me with the importance of making sure that I had the birth that I wanted, even if it was a c-section. So prior to the surgery, I had made a decison to be very firm in my expectations and what I wanted. The first was that I wanted to wear my contacts. I had asked before but I had received some push back and let it go. This time I wanted to know why I wasn’t able to wear them and it turns out there was a small possibility that something could go wrong and they would have to tape my eyes shut. I didn’t think that that chance was worth the discomfort of not being able to see so I stayed firm and received permission to wear my contacts. I was also firm about wanting a belly binder put on me on the operating table. My doctor didn’t have much experience with them and said he would use surgical tape to bind my stomach, which I thought was a good compromise. At some point between then and the surgery though, he got a hold of the binder for me and also used it on the previous patient with the keloid scar. Later he seemed so excited by them and very proud that we were both using them! I think he may make it a best practice for his surgeries. Smile

The first part of the surgery went smoothly, and soon our little Baby Shaka was out! She was beautiful and at first looked so much like Isla to us. She was also smaller than I felt she had a right to be given the new stretch marks that I gained during this pregnancy, but I’ll forgive her for that. Her cry was so little and not strong at all, just a sweet little precious cry.

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Unlike with Gemma, they had to take our girl away to the nursery until the surgery was over and my MANDATORY 1 hour recovery room waiting period was over. I had been so upset over that because with Gemma’s birth she was on my chest as soon as they wheeled me out and I am pretty sure I had Isla within an hour as well, but I had made peace with it. So I readied myself for the second half of the surgery, where they stitch me up.

If you’ll recall, with Isla’s birth I screamed and was in a lot of pain and was put under general anesthesia during this part. This is the hard part of the surgery and the surgeons are not gentle. Thankfully with Gemma I had had a spinal so I didn’t feel much at all and I had also asked for a relaxant to help me get through this part because I was so stressed about it. It was great! I felt relaxed and not anxious and I didn’t feel anything so I asked for these again with Baby Shaka. The anesthesiologist kept making a joke about waiting until I saw the baby before giving me the antianxiety stuff so that I wouldn’t forget that I had a baby. That was strange to me because I was completely lucid for Gemma’s birth and I didn’t understand, but I chalked it up to his joking. My doctor informed him that I didn’t even drink so to make sure to give me the good stuff! That’s not true, I’ll have maybe a glass of wine a few times a year, but I don’t get drunk, that is for sure.

Before I knew it, I was having an out of body, completely psychedelic experience! Straight out of that 70’s show, swirling colors, not aware of my surroundings acid TRIP! It was crazy. It turns out he gave me some derivative of PCP, which is a valid drug to use in those situations and I just had a bad reaction to it. It was really crazy. Needless to say, I will probably opt out of that part of the next c-section if we have a fourth. By the time I came to it enough to really understand what was going on, the surgery was over and they were wheeling me to the recovery room. I kept falling asleep, but as soon as I was with it enough, I asked for my baby so that we could start nursing. Honestly in hind sight, I was probably in no state to hold an infant, but the nurse brought her to me anyway! That whole time period is pretty hazy, but baby Shaka was born at 3:24 PM and they brought her to me a little after 5. Given how groggy I was, I could not have held her any sooner anyway, so the mandatory one hour recovery room wait, didn’t end up being such a big deal anyway.

Thankfully she latched really well immediately! They moved us to our hospital room and I was still pretty groggy. While I sobered up, we waited for Nick’s parents with Isla and Gemma to arrive!

Part 2 coming later…

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Introducing Our Zoya Patricia

Everyone has probably already seen this on Facebook, but Zoya Patricia was born on September the 12th at 3:24 PM weighing 7 lbs 4 oz at 19 1/2” long!

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Birth story to follow…

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So Close…

I am down to less than 36 hours until my c-section. I really have been meaning to blog more this past week, but I have been so busy getting ready. It’s amazing how much energy I had once I kicked the various illnesses that I have had the past several weeks, and also how many last minute projects I had to take on that had been let go while I wasn’t feeling up for them. But I do wish that I had had a chance to blog more and finish my home tour and share on my girls before they became big sisters and where they are in their development and maybe even write a bit more on c-section preparedness.

Never before in my life have I felt so covered in prayer. Both prayers for the birth and prayers for a difficult family situation that has made these later days of the pregnancy so stressful. I have had such peace around the coming weeks and the c-section. This morning however, was a different story. I woke up and I just felt so overwhelmed and well, scared and worried about the surgery, worried about Gemma being so young and needy, worried about how gross my house was about to get, and what felt like 1 million other things. I didn’t even know where to begin to pray or what to ask for!

Thankfully a friend’s blog reminded me of a Bible verse that was exactly what I needed to hear today (also click on the link to learn about invisible illnesses and my very brave, strong friend’s journey in dealing with hers).

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:26-28

I asked the spirit to intercede and I am feeling much better. In the past week my house has been cleaned, my hair has been done, freezer meals prepared, snacks bought, Big Sister Day items gotten ready, got everything sorted out for the cord blood banking, was able to attend Book Club (yay!), spend a lot of time with my big girls and get them to and from their things, tons of last minute things picked up, visited with friends and shared meals with other new moms, gotten laundry done (and done and done) and many other things I’m forgetting because it’s after midnight and I’m tired. Sure I cut a few corners on cleaning (ignore the spots on my mirrors), I need to contact insurance about the new breast pump they will supposedly provide me with, and my toes desperately need a pedicure, but it’s ok. I’m happy with the state of things heading into this birth.

Tomorrow, I have to head to the Doctor to get some preop bloodwork done and get my paperwork all together, get Isla to preschool, purchase her a booster seat because she’s a 40 lbs now, get Big Sister Day items set up, buy a birthday gift for a kid’s party Isla is going to, get her to dance, spend time with my for now baby Gemma, and I’ll probably forget many of those things in addition to things that I have already forgotten. My in laws are coming which I am so excited about, and we will have a nice last meal at my favorite Asian food place here (it’s in the mall food court because I am classy like that). My girls will be in the best possible hands with their grandparents! I don’t worry for a second about Isla, but Gemma is so little to be away from Mama for even one night, let alone up to three! But it’s going to be a great day.

Because the next day… we get to meet our newest treasure! I can’t wait.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Preschool, Swim and Dance!

Today was Isla’s first day of preschool! I thought about posting her picture to Facebook, but it seemed a little anticlimactic since everyone did the whole back to school picture thing weeks ago… so instead, I am just posting them here.

Love this little cheese ball!


She’s so cute it makes my heart ache sometimes, the thought that the Facebook world NEEDS to see this is running through my head right now… resisting… the urge… to showboat the… cutest kid ever.

I dressed up both my girls in Aggie gear this morning and it was quite the chore getting pictures of them both together! I’ll spare you the progression of pictures, but they are pretty funny and cute (if you’re anyone but Gemma). Isla takes her responsibilities as big sister seriously, even if the request was directed towards Gemma and not her. Sigh. She is so rough no matter how much I work with her, but it’s toughened up Gemma so that’s probably a good thing.

Here’s a couple of outtakes…030034037

This was the best I managed to get! Not exactly the holy grail of family photos… Smile


Isla of course did great at drop off and it helped that her seat was right across from her best friend Blake! She barely said good bye.

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I meant to do a little preschool questionnaire, but I just forgot… however I have been asking her what she wants to be when she grows up and I inevitably get one of two answers.

  1. I am just going to be myself!
  2. I don’t want to grow up. I want to stay a little girl forever.

Both perfectly acceptable answers for a 4 year old. I feel like I am doing something right because I want her to enjoy her childhood and I want her to be comfortable just being herself.

In the words of Soren Kierkegaard…

“Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself!”

A wonderful goal for any person.

Gemma and Isla started swim lessons yesterday too! Isla got right back into the swing of things. Gemma cried a lot, which is to be expected however she LOVES to swim and is pretty fearless and that was apparent to her Coach and she was very cooperative, even through the tears. I could also tell she liked her instructor, she just wasn’t sure about being in the water without Mama (she is a total mama’s girl) and also the other toddlers in her class cried a lot. I feel bad because I barely watched Isla, but it was so interesting to see how Gemma handled her first non parent-and-me swim lesson. Even with the crying, I was so proud of her. She is going to be a great swimmer! None of my pictures are very good.


The above picture is the instructor teaching Gemma how to roll over to float and sing a song if she is scared. That’s a skill that could save her life one day, even though it looks like she is being tortured!

I did get a few blurry, blurry pics of Isla. Dork. I have no idea what she was doing here. Love her. Love her. Love her.


And Isla started dance lessons today! I only got one picture of the back of her, doing her very vigorous shuffle taps Smile. She is going to love ballet and tap. One of her little friends from preschool last year, whose mom I am also friends with has lessons right after Isla. I am hoping that she can get into Isla’s class on the wait-list so that my friend and I can chat. As it is, it’s nice to run into her coming and going.

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Life is good right now! These years with littles really are the best ones. Smile

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

38 Weeks and Our Day in Balmorhea!

So, after being the easiest pregnancy of all times EVER, this one has really turned into a doozy the past couple of weeks! Although I am now mostly over my sinus infection and completely over pink eye, I started to feel really achy and nauseated yesterday and now I’m running a low fever and also… losing my food to put it mildly! It’s not fun, but it’s ok. We will get through this, and I am really proud that I managed to get the girls to their swim lessons today, make 8 freezer meals and dinner, fold a mountain of clothes, get the recycling sorted and to the curb on time and get all 3 of us ready and to my eye Doctor’s appointment on time. I did relax with some Tylenol during quiet time and just read… even though after 2 weeks of being pregnant and sick my house is as gross as it has ever been! Cleaning it will just have to wait. Oh and I was up all night with contractions! Thank goodness for warm baths or else I would be so miserable.

Also, tell me, is this not the CUTEST newborn onesie you ever saw? Even with the rough couple of weeks, I do love my littles and I am so looking forward to meeting our littlest baby princess. I get so happy thinking about it, I just have to make it through the next 8ish days.


This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, and after two plus weekends of everyone or at least someone feeling sick and gross, we wanted to do something fun. Nick suggested we go to Balmorhea on Sunday. At first I resisted because I was 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, but then I started to get excited about the idea of making a little day trip and doing something fun with Isla. Plus I have been crazy emotional, and Nick has been working to keep me busy because I am happier when we go out and do things instead of mope and wait for baby.

Side note: I wouldn’t even cross the Causeway Bridge over Lake Pontchatrain after week 36 with Isla! Now I am making all day excursions out into the dessert. By Baby #3, I am not even remotely worried about going into labor early since I never have!

Balmorhea is a desert spring that the Army Corp of Engineers turned into a beautiful, giant swimming pool. Because it is spring fed, there are little fish and turtles that live in it, and it is deep enough to attract a lot of scuba divers. It then flows into a little river that flows into a local lake.

Here are some pictures that do it justice stolen from Google images! We actually visited last year, but I never blogged about it. It’s really lovely and such a nearby treasure.


One thing we have learned on all of our trips is that the less I plan, the more fun we have! We just come up with a lose agenda and go from there. So our plan was to get up and get going as early as we could, stop at Wal-Mart and then head to Balmorhea, which is about 2 hours away. Well, you know how things go with kids! We didn’t even arrive until 12:30 PM, and there was a 1 to 3 hour wait to even get into the park. When we finally got in, the park ranger informed us that this is their busiest weekend. Now we know for future reference!

We thought about going home, but we took the opportunity to teach Isla and Gemma about a little word that begins with P… not, not planning, but perseverance! We waited in that loonnngg line for an hour and a half and we finally made it into the park Smile.


Also, you know you have a mama’s girl on your hands when your 18 month old would rather sit in your ever shrinking lap rather than pretend to drive! We love this little cuddle bug pipsqueak so much!


Anyway, once we got in, we swam to our hearts content! It was SO hard to swim being so pregnant so I mostly stuck to the sides. It’s very slippery at the bottom and also it gets very deep in many places, so it’s best to bring a float. It’s also coooolllddd, but very refreshing once you get used to it.


After her first time in the water, Gemma was a little bit traumatized. She crawled right into her stroller and refused to get out. She did much better our second time around in the water!


We brought along a watermelon. It’s just not a trip to Balmorhea without watermelon!


Oh and here’s a throwback Wednesday! Gemma trying her first food, watermelon, at Balmorhea last year Smile.


We really thought Isla would do the high dive, but she was too scared! I don’t blame her. No way would I do that in one million years.


Nick did it though!


Isla did really well off of the low dives!


We had such a wonderful day and I am so glad that we were able to make it work out in the midst of all of our sickies and have some last minute fun, fun, fun before Baby Shaka’s arrival!

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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