Sunday, March 23, 2014

Riley's Birth Story

We had a baby!

This is the first chance I've had to blog since our little boy Riley Finn Thomas joined our family 5 days ago.  There seems to be so much that I want to write about before it is just a faint memory, but finding the time to do so right now is not that easy.

I mean, you'd think laying around recovering from a Csection in an oversized chair in our living room most of the day would allot for ample amounts of time to have a computer on my lap catching up on blogs and emails. But on the contrary I find myself in an oversized chair cuddling a very cute sweet baby almost nonstop all day long - and I would much rather do that.

Day-old makeup with a 5 day old sleeping baby...soaking in all these moments.

Heck, even when I'm sleeping I am still cuddling with a baby on my chest and in my arms.

Yeah, we pretty much snuggle nonstop all day long and I love, love, love it. I feel very selfish because I want to hog all the time with this sweet thing and not give him up to anyone else to hold.  But, of course, I'm not the only one who wants to hold baby Riley, so I must share him I suppose.

Riley's Birth Story

I want to write about Riley's birth story while it is still fresh on my mind.  

I have so many emotions going through me right now - regarding Riley - that it would be an injustice to not include the many reasons why he himself is a miracle to me. To Will. To everyone.  And in order to do this, I have to go back and include some backstory to his pregnancy.  I don't want to make this a novel, so I won't share all the nitty gritties (You can go back to July/August of last year on our blog to do that), but I do want to bring up a few things.

Deciding to Have Another Baby...

We knew that we wanted to have another baby.  But given the many circumstances surrounding both Preston and Taylor's pregnancies and births that made them both very hard on me (especially Taylor's), I knew that I wanted to wait a long time before having baby #3.

Will kept pushing most of 2012 to get pregnant, but I was not ready yet. Towards the beginning of 2013, I was also finally losing the rest of the baby weight and feeling really great in my own skin.  I was the fittest and thinnest and healthiest I'd been in over 5 years and it was getting more and more difficult to want to give that up to get pregnant again.  I was also having a lot of big things going on in my music career that I wasn't ready to give up either.

However, towards the end of June 2013 I had some personal revelations through prayer that it was time. It was time to try for another baby and despite all of my worries and anxieties over the situation,I received an answer to my prayers that the Lord would provide for me and I would be blessed.  This needed to happen, and I knew it.

That helped me to feel calm about the situation and move forward in that direction. So we then tried for a baby.  And not ever knowing how long these sorts of things take, I figured I still had several months before anything would happen.

I was wrong.

I got pregnant right away and a few weeks later found myself completely shocked by a positive pregnancy test in hand. I think we were both very shocked, but both very excited.  

Again, it was revelation to us that Heavenly Father had plans for our family and this child was READY to come and be part of our family.

We're Pregnant

The first few weeks of the pregnancy were easy. I was still able to work out at the gym and aside from being really tired, I felt pretty good. I was starting to have hope that due to two prior miserable pregnancies, I was finally being blessed with an enjoyable one.

However, about 7 weeks into it, I started spotting. A lot.  And I thought I was having a miscarriage.  It happened on a Saturday and my doctor's office said there wasn't anything they could do about it until Monday since I was still so early on.  It was the longest, hardest weekend of my life - it seemed.  I was so sad, and so afraid. Everytime I got up to use the bathroom I was terrified of what I would see.  I also forgot to mention by that time the nausea also started.  And so not only did I feel sick to my stomach, but an emotional wreck and fearful that I would lose the baby.

I started to just accept the possibility that this was a miscarriage so I wouldn't be totally shocked when I went in on Monday for an ultrasound.

Will and I went in on Monday and got an ultrasound, and to my surprise, there was a strong heartbeat on the screen.  A very obvious thump-thump in a little pile of black and white mass on the U/S screen.  The only concern was that the gestational sac was oblong, when it should have been circular.  The doctor told us that usually with an oblong sac, it means it is a threatened miscarriage.

They said we could come back in a week for another ultrasound to see if anything had changed.  The doctor did say though, that having a strong heartbeat (which he did) was a good thing though.  

I stayed on bed rest most of the next week just to be on the safe side. I was so incredibly worn out and literally slept ALL day long and only got up to use the bathroom or eat.  Some sisters from the Relief Society helped out with our boys so that I could simply rest.

A week later, we went back to the doctor. I was again very nervous about what we would see.  As soon as she put the ultrasound up on the screen, I could see the heart beating even before she confirmed it.

And once she confirmed that the baby had a healthy heart beat of 174 bpm, she also said that the gestational sac had rounded out and "looked completely normal".  

Tears came into my eyes and it was literally the best news I had received in a long while. I felt such a feeling of relief and gratitude to the Lord.  During the week leading up to that ultrasound, I knew that there were many people praying for me. Many friends put my name on the prayer role at the temple (several temples) and I was in many thoughts and prayers. I KNOW that this helped so so much. 

Once we received the great news that the baby was healthy, AGAIN, I knew that this was a miracle baby that was meant to be here.  He had survived bleeding, an oddly shaped gestational sac that technically stastistics said should have miscarried.  He was meant to be here.

The rest of the pregnancy was physically better than my first two in many ways - I continued to work out at the gym until I was 36 and 1/2 weeks pregnant.  I had many discomforts though - like acid reflux daily, food aversions, sore hips and more.  But my toughest battles were not physical - they were emotional and mental.  I did not share with many people because I didn't feel it was something many could understand or relate to, but I got through Pregnancy Depression when I am pregnant.  And with this 3rd pregnancy, it was the worst it had ever been.  I would never do anything to harm myself, but there were many times when I wanted to die because there couldn't be any other relief than death.  Sometimes I would sit in the bathtub and just cry.  There were days when I wasn't sure how I would make it through and do everything that was expected of me.  

As a normal person I am usually very ambitious and have an ability to look at issues and say "Okay this is how we are going to fix this, and these are the goals and steps I need to take in order to do so.".  But when I am depressed during pregnancy, it is like when I face situations like that - my brain doesn't have the capacity to figure it out for some reason. I feel a huge sense of being overwhelmed and I can't logically work through things to fix them or address them.  I feel very inadequate because of it, and then my mind thinks the worst things about myself because I'm unable to perform at my optimal self.  I am not sure how to explain it. But take my music for example, while going through pregnancy depression I had many times when I wondered why people would even like my music or find me talented whatsoever. I had no muse, no inspiration to do more. I felt very alone and talent-LESS.

And trying to explain these feelings to people or why I was the way I was - I knew would be met with comments like "You're having a baby, you should be happy!", or "Who cares as long as the baby is healthy."  Will and I discussed me going on anti-depression medicine during the pregnancy, but I decided not to because I didn't want to take anything that could possibly hurt the baby in any way.

Instead I did receive a beautiful Priesthood blessing from my Dad one night (while Will was out of town on business) where he blessed me that every cell in my body would have added strength, and I would have the help of angels around me to do what I could not.  

Literally the next day, a woman from our ward called me and asked me if I needed anything.  During our phone conversation, somehow she said something that made me open up and drop the facad of "everything is fine", but I broke down and told her that I had been depressed and yes I did need some help.  She said she felt very inspired to help me, and for the remainder of my pregnancy she was there for me every week to help me - whether it was to help my boys get ready for school or for the day, or take them so I could rest, or come over and help me fold my laundry or just simply talk to me.  Her name is Catherine, and she truly has been a God-send this entire time.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, I started to physically feel miserable.  Around 34 weeks along I started to feel done, and as though I couldn't bare any longer. There were a few days in a row where I simply cried about any tiny little thing. I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night so miserable I would sit on the edge of the bed and cry.  I wasn't sleeping well, I had acid reflux like crazy, restless leg syndrome, my hips and pelvic area were the worst.  Just walking was becoming very hard because it felt like my ligaments were not very strong and I would pop and crack and be sore. The baby's head was also pressing down on things and making it so my right leg would go numb quite often.  My belly was growing to huge sizes and becoming very uncomfortable to hold up. I needed to lay down a lot to take the pressure off. I also suffered from things like hemorrhoids which were so bad that friends had to take our boys for several days because I was not able to walk and felt like crying my royal head off from the pain.  

There was much more that was going on too, but to say the least I was just physically miserable and ready to be done.  And I NEVER wanted to be pregnant again.  It was too much.  I felt like if I had to do this again, I would really die next time.  And ya know, people would try to help and say encouraging things to me like "You'll look back and miss having a baby in your tummy" and I felt like the worst person in the world thinking in my head "No, I really won't miss that."

I also was feeling like the world's worst mom to Preston and Taylor. My patience was so small and I found myself yelling at them a lot, and they were also getting away with a lot of things because I was too tired to be consistent in discipline.  I felt bad because they watched way too much TV instead of having things to DO.  Luckily, I knew they were young enough that they would forgive me and forget this whole period where I was a "mean mom". :)

So in summary, while the pregnancy was better in some ways, it was also worse in others. I also greatly worried if I would bond with this baby or not.  It is hard to admit that even though I knew that he was meant to be here and that I was meant to be pregnant again, I knew that I was also just following the Lord's Will. It was not MY will, per se, but it was His.  And I was having faith in everything.  But it was often hard to feel excited, and I felt very disconnected with the baby. Not just because of everything I've already said, but also because it had been a long time since we'd had a baby in the house and I wondered if I would re-adjust to that or not.

Towards the last couple of weeks of the pregnancy though, I finally started to feel some real excitement about meeting this baby.  All the miserable things about being pregnant were beginning to feel like they would soon be over and I would have a baby - which was very surreal but exciting.

The Birth

Now to the GOOD part. :) The really really really good part of this story...

I was scheduled for a Csection for Sunday, March 16th, 2014 at 7:30 a.m.  This meant that we had to be at the hospital by 5:30 a.m. to get prepped for surgery.  I was required to fast the night before so that I would have an empty stomach for surgery.

Saturday (the day before), Will took the boys up to my parents house as they were scheduled to spend several days there with them.  They were able to catch a little bit of my brother Mike's 50K race.

Tessha (Will's sister) had been staying with us since Wed of that week and having here there to help out was a huge blessing.

Tessha, Elizabeth (Will's other sister), and I went out for lunch and got pedicures on Saturday as well. I really needed this girl time!  And it was great to have nice looking toes for the hospital (which I got a lot of compliments on from the nurses, by the way).

Funny, as we were talking out of the nail salon, a woman asked me when I was due and I said "Tomorrow" as I was standing up.  She took a look at me all stood up and said "WHOA. I hope you have your hospital bag packed with you in the car right now!"

Comments like that usually annoy me, but nothing could really ruin my mood this day. :) I was having a baby the next day!

Later that evening, I made sure to have my hospital bag all completely packed...

And then I set my alarm clock for 4:15 a.m. - knowing we had to leave the house around 4:45 a.m. and then laid down.  Will spent some time packing his hospital bag as well and getting everything ready.  We finally both had lights out around midnight.

But of course, luck would have it, I couldn't sleep.

I had restless leg and arm syndrome, acid reflux, and my mind kept worrying about everything - from making sure I wasn't forgetting anything for the hospital, something going wrong during surgery. Oh, and I also was having random contractions that were getting stronger.

So I didn't get any sleep at all and eventually just got up and started getting ready to leave for the hospital.

I was ready by 4:45 a.m., and was waiting for Will to finish shaving and taking a shower. And then he also gave me a blessing before we went to the car. His blessing was very sweet, but I was having more and more contractions this entire time and as soon as the blessing was over I just wanted to LEAVE as soon as possible

We got in the car and it was pouring down rain.

As we were driving to the hospital, I started noticing that the contractions were pretty regular and so I started timing them. They were coming every 4 minutes.  And they were getting more and more painful too. I was having to concentrate on breathing through them.  I was annoyed that Will was eating his cereal painfully slow while driving -and I just wanted him to hurry it up already and drive faster. was pouring down rain and he was smart to drive a bit slower while he ate his breakfast.  But given that I've already had 2 Csections and going into real labor would be dangerous for me, I was nervous about the contractions and just wanted to get to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:33 a.m. (I remember because I was timing the contractions).  We parked and went to the front desk, and they were expecting me (said "Jennifer?"). I gave the receptionist my insurance card and ID and told her that I was also having contractions.

A few minutes later, a nurse came and walked us back to our room where we would be for the next few hours.  They had me change into a big stay-puff-marshmallow of a hospital gown and then laid down on a hospital bed where they then hooked me up to an EKG and a monitor for the baby's heart beat as well, and then one for contractions too.

They also had to get an IV in me, which was not easy considering I was so dehydrated from fasting all night long  I usually warn nurses that I am not the easiest person to poke with needles anyway, but they never seem to want to listen to I usually end up with nice things like this:

which now 6 days later looks like...

Anyway, I think the IV fluids helped (once they got the in - it took about 4 different nurses to have success and I got pricked like 10 times).  My contractions pretty much stopped and laying down helped as well.  But man I was beat. No sleep all night long, contractions, hungry, dehydrated, etc....I was ready to just go to bed. Haha.

As it got nearer to the 7 o'clock hour, I was given anti-nausea medicine to drink (gastly stuff let me tell ya!), and also antibiotics for pre-surgery.

I remember I kept mentioning to Will that this all seemed to surreal.  We were getting ready to have a baby!! And it was planned!  I didn't have to go to through 20+ hours of labor this time!

As it got nearer to 7:30, Will was asked to put on his surgery scrubs - which honestly looked more like a bio-hazard suit. Haha. And then about 5 minutes to 7:30 my nurse had us both walk over to the Operating Room.

The anesthesiologist met us there, and had me sit on the edge of the operating table. He told me he was going to put a numbing shot into my back and then he was going to insert the spinal block into my spine and would need me to slouch forward and curl my back as far as I could.

He gave me the first numbing shot and then tried to insert the spinal block but OUCH, I could feel everything.  I have had some lower back issues for years and it is very sensitive in that area - even to the touch. It felt like he was pushing on a nerve and so I couldn't help but flinch in pain.  This was very bad because the area he needed to insert the needle was in millimeters.  He couldn't do it if I was moving or jumping around in pain.

This was me waiting for the doctor to give me some more shots to numb the area...I was feeling very nervous too.

The area still never got completely numb, but I just had to suck it in and endure the pain and try my hardest to not jump or move while he put the spinal block in.  And eventually he did get it in. The whole thing took about 25 minutes - which is way longer than normal.

After he go the spinal block in, they had me lay down flat on the operating table while the tinglies started to set in from my feet all the way up to my chest area.

That is the part of everything that always makes me feel the most uncomfortable. I mean you would think the surgery itself would, but it's really all the drugs and weird feelings happening all at once that make me the most uncomfortable.  And even though they gave me anti-nausea medicine, I started to feel nauseous and was pretty sure I was going to need to throw up very soon.  Thankfully though, the anesthesiologist (John) was on top of things and gave me some sort of miracle drug into my IV that helped me out a lot. He called it a "calming medicine".  Whatever it was, it took away my nausea an helped me to settle down and not be so nervous or freaking out.

Here is me when I was a little freaked out. Will kept helping me out by making sure my gown was not up and around my face - which always makes me feel a little suffocated.  

During this time, my OB and the assisting OB were taking their time making incisions into each layer to get to the uterus.  It was taking longer than normal because this was my 3rd Csection and there was a lot of scar tissue to go through.  Also, by the time they did get to my uterus it was extremely thinned out.  I guess too thin to use their normal tools and so my doctor had to request a different tool before cutting.

During all of this time, Will was talking to me and asking me if I was all right. John was asking me how things were going and was also giving me a sort of play-by-play on what was going on on the other side of that blue curtain (even though Will was actually filming quite a bit of it so if I ever choose to watch some gorey videos of my Csection one day, there they are).

Over to my left were the bassinets where they clean and weigh the baby.  It is always exciting to see those baby stations over there - knowing that in only a few moments, a new little baby would be in them!

A few minutes more and John told me "They are getting ready to deliver the baby now, you are going to feel a lot of tugging and pulling."

I started to get very excited...and yes I could definitely feel a lot of tugging and pulling. No pain whatsoever, but just lots of pressure and tugging.  And during the tugging, I could hear a faint cry which sounded very gurgley...and then it got louder.  And then. he was out!  Our little baby was born.  My doctor held him up to be sure Will could get a photo of him....

I couldn't see anything that was going on, but all I could hear was his gurgley cry and tears started to form in my eyes and stream down the sides of my face. I waited for them to bring him to the side where the bassinets were so that I could get my first glance at him.

I couldn't see him yet, but could see the nurse was cleaning him off and they were taking his birth weight and measurements.  The nurse did say "It looks like he's got a little bit of red hair, wow gorgeous!"

Awwwwe, my heart was just melting as I was looking over at him.  He did not look like Preston or Taylor to us though (they looked very much alike at birth), so Riley was definitely his own person.  I was overjoyed to see that he came out with red hair though - I was really hoping for that. :)

He weighed in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

The next several pictures are very special to me...

This hospital started doing a new procedure only a couple of weeks prior - where they started to allow Csection moms to hold their babies skin-to-skin right after birth.  This is quite normal for vaginal deliveries but unheard of for Csections.  They asked me before the birth if this was something I was interested in, and of course I said YES.

When Preston and Taylor were born, after they were weighed and cleaned they were immediately given to Will to hold while I got sewn up from surgery.  So the first 45 minutes of their lives were in the arms of their daddy. :)  I was a little jealous of this, but also felt it was a special rare opportunity for Will -because dads don't usually get that opportunity either.

But to FINALLY get the opportunity to hold my baby right after he was born, and skin-to-skin, well, it was indescribable.  It was a flood of emotions all at once.

Riley had been crying and as soon they put him on me, I started talking to him and he stopped crying. Instead it sounded like a "I know you" kind of sweet whimper. It was soooooooo cute and it melted my heart.

After a couple of minutes. the nurse put him to my breast to see if he would be interested in nursing. and he was! It took a few seconds for him to latch on, but then he did and it brought him more comfort.  It brought me comfort as well to see that he needed that.

Sorry, I tried to find a photo that didn't show too much and this was the most "modest" I can find. Granted, giving birth is NOT a modest experience at all and so I hope you understand this is quite modest given the circumstances.....

To me it is beautiful.

I got to have skin-to-skin time with Riley for almost an hour. It took longer for them to sew me up afterwards and so I got more time with the little guy. It was a little piece of heaven to me. 

I did start to fee; a little shakey and weak and nervous again during the surgery though and asked John to give me some more of his special juice. but he said a side effect is that it causes you to forget some things and he didn't want me to forget any of this time with my I just sucked it up and tried to concentrate on my beautiful baby instead of the surgery.

After the doctors were done sewing me up, Will took the baby for the first time, and then they moved me to  different bed and then wheeled me back to the room we were first in earlier that morning - so a 2 hour recovery.

I was still numb and couldn't move, and was feeling very very tired, exhausted, and weak from surgery.  So I just laid there and enjoyed the morning light while feeding Riley.  Again, I can't explain how happy I felt to have this special baby.

I worried about not bonding with him, but it was an instant bond and I couldn't possibly be any more in love with this little spirit from heaven.

Will and I had about 45 minutes with Riley in the recovery room (the room where we first got checked into). I had some ice chips - still way too nauseous and dizzy to try eating anything.  But Will ordered French Toast.  The hospital was amazing and allowed Will to order anything off of the menu.  

Eventually, one of the nurses came in and gave Riley his first bath to get all of the birth stuff off of him.

Some more photos of beautiful Riley Finn...

After the bath, they moved us to our permanent room...

Later in the afternoon, we had some visitors.

Will's sister Tessha came by to visit. She had been staying with us and now she was on her way back home to Portland and so she stopped by on her way through to finally meet the baby.

And then later on, my brother Mike and his wife Emmy and their oldest son, Alexander, stopped by to visit...

It was great to see everyone, but WOW I was tired.  I was still really dizzy and remember dozing off a bit during conversations and not being totally there.  I also hadn't ordered any food until towards the later part of my brother's visit.

Again...sorry for the nursing pic, but you can't see anything...

Later that evening, around 8:00 when it had been 12 hours since my surgery, my nurse said it was time for me to try to get out of bed and make a journey to the bathroom.  This was EXTREMELY difficult. My pain level was very low just sitting in my bed, but when I tried to move it was like knives cutting me.  And the weird part is with Riley being out of my belly now, there felt like a weird shift in gravity in my stomach so whenever i tried to stand up, I felt like my insides were falling.  The nurse actually brought this up before I did and said it is perfectly normal.

It took me a while of sitting on the edge of my bed so I wasn't too dizzy to try getting up, but eventually I did it and made it to the bathroom. It was sooooo hard and I totally cried afterwards.  My nurse decided to order me some pain meds, so eventually later on I was getting some Percocet and that helped a lot with the pain management.

Will and I got some good sleep that night as Riley slept through most of it.  We got interruptions for pain medicine and diaper changes, but that was about it.

The next morning, it was so wonderful to wake up to this little person...

Around 8:30 a.m., it had been 24 hours since my surgery and so I was able to get my cathedar out, as well as all of my IV's. I was free!  This meant trying to get up and out of bed again and taking a shower.  It was still very hard, but much better with pain medicine.  And taking a shower was really nice! I got to wash off the iodine from surgery and some of the dried blood, and wash my face and body. It felt really nice.

Of course, not super crazy about my postpartum body...but it was just REALLY nice to feel clean, to brush my hair, and put a little foundation and mascara on.

I also ordered some good food off of the menu since I had my appetite back...

But mostly, all both Will and I did most of the day was eat, sleep, and take care of Riley....we were both exhausted.  I think I fell asleep mid-eating too, haha.  And I really could not keep my eyes open for much...

The highlight of Day #2 in the hospital though was seeing our boys.  Grandpa brought them down in the early afternoon and they got to meet Riley for the first time.  Oh, and I forgot to mention at this point we still hadn't officially named Riley yet.  We were mostly sure about Riley, but still hadn't come up with his middle name yet.

Anyway, back to the boys, it was really fun to see them and their reactions to the new baby...

Taylor was very interested in the baby, but Preston not so much.  He didn't really want to hold him, but was more interested the balloons and toys that Grandpa was going to get for him after they were done with the hospital - haha.

My dad had been looking forward to come seeing Riley, and it was neat to see him hold him. He sat there and held Riley for about 45 minutes, many times just staring at him with tears on his eyes.  I know that my Dad knows the hardships I go through during pregnancy and delivery - and it effects him a lot. He expressed his appreciation to me for going through everything to bring these special boys into the world.

Our first and only family portrait together so far....

More pictures from the hospital...

I was getting up and out of my bed every few hours, and though it was still very difficult, it was nice to get up and out. We even went for an evening stroll down the hallway - haha :) 

Though it is very nice to have nurses get you everything, eventually you just want to get home and stop being interrupted every hour by some sort of vitals test or someone coming into your room.  So Tuesday afternoon, after 60 hours in the hospital, we packed up and got ready to bring Riley home...

Since Coming Home...

It is now Sunday, the 23rd (my original due date).  And Riley Finn is 1 week old.

I will tell you that so far, it has taken me 3 days to type this blog- in between sleeping, feedings, one-handed typing, and snuggling...

I have had so many thoughts running through my head this past week.  The biggest is LOVE, and MIRACLES.  When I was going through the pregnancy, and often (OFTEN!) asking Heavenly Father to just please reveal to me a little bit of what He knew so I could feel more connected to the baby, so I could feel more in tune, or could have a small glimpse of that "glow" feeling that moms feel; to know that was doing something divine.  I never received answers like that that I wanted, but I did know that this baby was meant to be in our family and I had faith that all would turn out.

And since Riley has arrived, it has ALL made sense to me.

I fell in love with him the moment they placed him on me after he was born, and I am so so incredibly happy. I can't even describe the difference in how I feel now compared to one week ago.  

I feel like I want to hold him all day and not lose any time with him.  I want to not take him for granted and to enjoy every newborn moment.


Riley will be our last baby.

I always said that I didn't want to go through any more pregnancies - both because they are very hard on me and I'm getting older, but also because I was worried that having another would probably kill me off.  I was a little bit sarcastic about that last reason, but I did often wonder how my body could possibly even do this a 4th time. I was pretty sure I was done.

Will, however, didn't want to make any decisions while I was pregnant - though he completely respected my opinion on it and knew that I had and have gone through some intensely horrible stuff while pregnant. 

At one of my recent doctor appointments, we discussed the possibility of a tubal litigation.  This is where the doctor shortens the Fallopian tubes - making it so the eggs can't travel down and be fertilized. it is a permanent birth control and so she encouraged us to not do anything permanent unless we knew for certain.  I was worried about my uterus though because when Taylor was born, my OB had told me that my uterus around the scar tissue was so thin they could see the baby through it.  But I figured 3.5 years was plenty of time for it to heal.  But we learned from my OB that it doesn't just heal - it's just the way that the skin is going to be because of the wear and tear.

We decided that once they had me open for Riley's Csection, my doctor would take a look at my uterus and decide how bad it was and if it was a uterus that could handle any more pregnancies.  She said though that in her career she had only had to tell like 2 women that their uteruses were bad enough that they shouldn't have any more children - so it's most likely not going to happen.

However, during my Csection, once they had Riley out I asked the doctor how things were down there.  We learned that my uterus was actually VERY thin -she compared it to crepe paper and it was falling apart; so much that she couldn't use her regular tools when opening me up for the surgery.  She said that she definitely did NOT recommend me having anymore children due to how thinned it was.  

So, just like that, within a matter of minutes, the decision was made for us and we told her to go ahead with the tubal litigation.  And due to this 2nd surgery, it took longer than normal to do that and then to also sew everything back together.

After everything was done, and I was wheeled back to my recovery room, my doctor eventually came in to talk to me about how everything went. We learned that it was really bad - so bad that she almost couldn't even do the tubal because there was so much scar tissue it took her a while to get it all unstuck from other organs so she could work on them.  And it took a lot of carefulness to sew the uterus closed due to the very thinned area.

My question to her was then, "Well, if my uterus was so thin, how was it that I was able to carry a baby then? I mean, shouldn't I have ruptured?"

She just looked at me and said "You were VERY lucky.  Just extremely lucky."

It wasn't luck.  I know this baby was meant to be in our family - and I was watched over by the hand of God and his angels during this entire thing.  No joke.  I really firmly believe that.

It all makes sense now.

It was simply important for Riley to be here, and I was his vessel.  And furthermore, now that we know 100% we are done having children, even though i knew I didn't want to be pregnant again - it is a strange bittersweet feeling knowing that in a matter of minutes during surgery the decision was made and then donewith.  It has surely made me appreciate EVERY single moment with Riley even more.  All of his newborn sounds and noises, grunts, cries, cuddles, eye contact, nursing him, and more...all means so much to me.  I don't want him to grow up each day because I just want him to stay small so I can enjoy him longer.

My heart has been so full of love this past week.  I am so grateful for Riley, and my husband, for our children.  It has put many things into perspective for me.  I am also grateful to have my pregnancy-depressive feelings replaced with such overwhelming feelings of love and gratitude.  I have felt so positive and hopeful.

I don't know how to accurately describe all of my feelings.  I've just been full of love, is all.

Here are some more photos from the past week...

I wrote this on my Facebook wall this morning

And....this is pretty much what I do all day long. Snuggle my baby and sleep. Ha. 

Posting a photo or video here and there is very fast and easy in comparison to writing a status, email, or talking on the phone- hence the many photos I've posted this week. But since many of you have asked how I'm doing and since my husband has the baby right now -I thought I would do a quick update on me.

First, I couldn't feel more honored or more humbled to be Riley's mom. He is truly a special baby, and has been an absolute angel. Because he is our last baby, I have really been soaking up every single moment with him. The newborn phase is only a short few weeks and I want to be a part of each moment. He is truly my first priority right now and I am so happy, like the tears-of-joy kind of happiness I look at him and think what a miracle he is and how lucky I am to be his mom. I can't explain it - but it is pure joy and happiness.

Riley is doing amazing for a newborn. He sleeps a LOT, and has a few moments of alert awake time here and there. He is sweet natured. He is a tiny little guy - currently about 6 pounds 14 ounces and so I'm working on making sure he continues to nurse and gain weight (he was born 7 lbs 5 oz and it is normal for infants to lose weight the first 2 weeks).

I am healing slowly but surely. This was my 3rd Csection and so been there and done this before, but I also had another surgery at the same time this time around, and so I am recovering from 2 surgeries this time. I am super exhausted and so Riley and I take a lot of naps together. I am on Percocet (painkiller) and so it makes me a bit tired and loopy as well. My incision area is super sore and so I have to be really careful about walking, getting up out of a chair, bending over to pick up something, and more. I am also still very swollen from surgery since they pumped me full of fluids, and also you swell anyway after having a baby too.

I have some good help. Will took this entire week off from work and has been the most amazing and supportive spouse during this special time. My Mom, Carolyn has been here since Wednesday and she has been a huge help as well. I can't drive and so she took Riley and I to our doctor appointments, and has also been on top of making sure I get my pain killers and perscriptions exactly on the hour when I need them. She also gets up with me all night long when Riley needs a diaper change, to be fed, or whatnot. She also helps take care of our older two boys. So she pretty much does everything I can't right now as I'm recovering from the Csection. Last week, Will's sister Tessha stayed for a few days and helped before the baby came and our house hasn't been this clean in a while. That is super nice. Next week, another one of Will's sisters, Grace, will be flying in to spend a week with us and helping with the baby after my mom goes home.

We have had some very generous people from our church bring some meals over to us and that has meant a lot - since our home is adjusting to the baby and it is nice to not worry about cooking dinner sometimes. Friends have also offered to take our two older boys for playdates - although so far they seem to be enjoying time with Grandma.

Speaking of the boys, they are adjusting well. Taylor (3 yrs old) is always asking to hold the baby and is very interested in what Riley is doing. But today we noticed he is lacking in attention when we discovered he smeared my Victoria Secret lotion all over our dresser, and pushed thumb tacks into my leather music studio chair. I think he misses one-on-one time with me and is a little jealous of the new baby. Preston (5 yrs old) was not super interested in the baby at first, but in the past couple of days he has started to ask if he can hold him and he has been very sweet to Riley.

In the past it has usually taken me a little more than 2 weeks, sometimes 3 weeks to be back on my feet and walking around normally. I am just trying to take care of myself right now and get a lot of rest, and not push anything since last time I had Pre-Eclampsia 10 days after I gave birth to Taylor. I am not sure why that happened. And so this time I am just trying to stay off my feet so the swelling can go down and I have been monitoring my BP which is doing very well so far. I'm hoping and praying that this time nothing like that will repeat itself.

I am not one much for phone calls or emails right now, so I apologize for not getting back to people quickly or at all. Thanks for your love and support, and hopefully this update will answer questions from many friends where otherwise I would have to be replying to a lot of emails and I'm not up for that yet.

Anyway - so that is the update with Riley and I! I am just very very happy and so in love with this adorable gift God gave our family and have been soaking in the snuggles and mama/baby time.