Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Welcome, Lillian Paisley . . . A Birth Post

Loveys, she's here.

Lillian Paisley Bruce was born March 17th at 1:19 a.m. It's kind of a cool story actually.

We went to the doctor on the 16th--our last appointment before Lillian's due date on the 23rd. We did blood work and a urine test (my blood pressure was high). The doctor called that afternoon, and at that point, we realized I had preeclampsia. I was right over the borderline so it wasn't so bad, but still, the doctor recommended we go ahead and induce. Honestly, I was thrown. We'd talked about inducing that Friday, and that's what I'd expected would happen. I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared to have the baby right then. So everything felt rushed to me. Jeff finished up his work and came home. I added a few things to my overnight bag, and then we drove to the hospital around 2:00 p.m. More than six days ahead of schedule.

I was feeling anxious, loveys.

We got to the hospital, checked in, and were taken to our room. The whole time I kept thinking, What am I doing here? It's not supposed to happen yet! Ready or not, this was happening. They put me on antibiotics for a couple of hours before we started Pitocin. Once we started the Pitocin, we could see from the monitors that there were some contractions, but honestly, I didn't feel hardly anything. And after a few hours of this, the nurse checked me and I was still only barely 4 centimeters dilated. I'd been at three and half that morning! So basically, we were getting nowhere. That was discouraging. The doctor wanted to break my water, but I wanted to wait until the epidural for that. Still, there didn't seem to be a good reason to get the epidural when I wasn't feeling any pain. We waited a little longer, then went ahead with the epidural, mainly to get things rolling. If you know me, you know that I'm terrified of this process. However, the anesthesiologist was a rock star and did an amazing job. Afterward, the nurse recommended that Jeff and I get some sleep while we could. It was already after eleven and I was exhausted. I had no idea when we'd be in active labor. So we turned out the lights and both went to sleep.

I woke up right around 1 a.m., feeling contractions. Obviously this was uncool since I'd had the epidural to avoid feeling contractions. I woke up Jeff so that he could be sure to share this scariness with me. I paged the nurse and said I needed assistance. (Does this sound like I was being calm? I wasn't. The contraction that woke me up was really intense and I was hurting.) Nurse Ashley came in and I told her I absolutely needed the anesthesiologist to come back to do something about the pain I wasn't supposed to be feeling. Nurse Ashley was really calm despite my anxiety. She paged the anesthesiologist and then asked me if I wanted her to check to see whether I'd dilated any more. I said yes, obviously (why was it even a question??).

Nurse Ashley checks our status and then says to me, "You're 9 centimeters!" Nurse Ashley is now pretending to be calm, but she's calling for the doctor and telling me not to push. I am panicking and asking where the doctor is. Twice, Ashley tells me that the doctor is down the hall. I finally cry out, "The hall is NOT that long!! Where is she?!" Nurse Ashley says that she's on a different hall somewhere. (At these moments, while I'm freaking out and crying and saying these things, Jeff is trying very hard not to laugh.) My doctor comes in and takes control. The anesthesiologist comes in as well and I'm allowed to push the button that ups the meds, thank goodness. This helps but I'm still feeling things I wish I wasn't. (The nurse asks if I'm feeling pressure or pain. I told her THEY ARE THE SAME THING.)

In all this craziness of about five minutes, it's now time to push. Talk about a whirlwind! Seven minutes before, I was sound asleep. Now there are nurses everywhere and my doctor is telling me to PUSH amid the chaos.

Lillian Paisley Bruce was born at 1:19 a.m.

Loveys, seriously, I pushed for 15 minutes at the max. More like 10 or 12.  

I slept from 4 centimeters to 9. Is that crazy or what? Good grief. I still can't believe it.

I heard Lily's first cries and felt a surge of relief. She's here. I'm here. The scary part is over. They cleaned her up and handed her over. She's a tiny little thing. Six pounds and fifteen ounces. Considering Lincoln was eight pounds and thirteen ounces, Lily seemed itty-bitty. She's gorgeous, with dark eyes and dark hair but a little face that looks a lot like Ashtyn. Jeff and I are just so in love with her.

I think the three days in which my children were born were some of the scariest in my life. Also, hands down, they are the best days of my life. It's hard to describe how incredible it is to wake up with two children, and then go to sleep now having three. I would do everything all over again to have these amazing kids. I'm blessed by the incredible, life-changing experience of giving birth. And I'm grateful beyond words. Fear, excitement, pain, joy--so many emotions that crash together during those birthing hours. And then that intense love and awe that comes over you.


That's how I feel. Lillian is precious and we're enjoying her so much. And it's so fun to watch Ashtyn and Lincoln be so sweet to Lily! They love having a sister already. It melts my heart.

As I'm writing this, it's late in our hospital room. On the sofa bed, Jeff is holding Lillian. He just keeps looking at her and telling me she's awesome. :) I know, my love. She is awesome.

It's been a day of slow, stiff recovery for me. That's okay. The experience is so worth it. The night nurse will be in soon to check vitals. We go home tomorrow.


Oh, Lillian. You are so loved. I already can't imagine home without you. I can't imagine me without you. 

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of babies.

Lily's now whimpering beside me. Hungry again, I think. We're back to bottles and diapers and late-night feedings and baby cries.

I wouldn't trade one minute.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Waiting Game

I'm still pregnant.

I say that with a deep sigh. I know we're just about 8 days from our due date. And I know it has to happen eventually. But the waiting is hard. Especially here at the end. I'm so ready. Mom and Sara and Ashtyn and I had a date today to go see Cinderella (which was adorable). Now that my mother is here, I just feel like it's time to get this show on the road. I'm so swollen and uncomfortable. And I'm ready to meet my little Lillian.

It's been a whirlwind week. I woke up around 5 am on Wednesday (the day of my farewell lunch at work) and started to cry. It's a bittersweet moment for me. On one hand, I'm 9 months pregnant and therefore I really don't feel like going anywhere at the moment. On the other hand, I will miss my job. Friday I turned in my badge and left for the last time as an employee. That was pretty surreal, to be honest.

But sitting here at home right now, I'm feeling relieved. I'm tired, loveys. And I'm about to have a baby (I hope! Come on, Lily!). It's only a matter of time, but as the great Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part. (I happen to be a major Tom Petty fan, so I just took a major detour looking for this TP video on YouTube and watched a million TP videos. By the way Lily is dancing up a storm, she must be a fan, too. Shell, I'm thinking you and I need to go see Tom in concert again. Seriously.)

So, the countdown to Baby's arrival has begun. I'm ready and scared all at the same time. Jeff reminds me that I've done this twice before. I remind him that I've blocked out most of it. I know some women are absolute rock stars when it comes to labor and delivery.

I am not one of those women, loveys.

I'll just be real. I'm the kind who brings quite a lot of anxiety to the room. I'm freaking out before it starts. I know it will be fine in theory. But that's not as reassuring as you might think. I know it's all worth it. I really do know that.

I'll do what I need to.

I'll also probably cry and at some point say that I've changed my mind about all this. Jeff will hold my hand and wisely keep from saying that it's too late for that. As I type this, he's downstairs with the guys, watching the UFC fights. I know he's ready to get this show on the road as well. We're both anxious. He grinned at me earlier and said, "Let's have a baby today, okay?" If only it were that simple.

Grace comes in the moment, loveys.

I couldn't do it otherwise. But I know grace comes in the moment, and grace will be there for the taking when it's time. And that's what matters. It's what sees us through. It's what makes the difference.

Grace. All over the tears and fear and love and smiles and cries and excitement and worry. Those things that make us human. That make us who we are. I'm just a woman with fears of her own, frail in so many ways. That's okay. God gives us strength.

I know this to be true.

Grace like rain. It's coming.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Final Stretch . . .

Back pain, loveys.

I've had a rough week. It's still rough, to be honest. I'm in the last couple of weeks of this pregnancy and I'm feeling it. Heavy. Tired. Overwhelmed. Emotional. It was one of those weeks where things kept going wrong. Jeff took one of our cars to the shop. $800 dollars later, the problem is not even close to being fixed. The kids have made me nuts this week. Jeff has been frustrated. I've been frustrated.

Today, at least, I feel like things were accomplished. Things were checked off my to-do list. We were in full nesting mode over here. I keep having that dull ache of lower back pain, and I know we're far enough along now that Lily could come anytime. This seems to push me to want everything to be ready. I washed baby blankets today and started packing my overnight bag. I am uncomfortable to the extreme at the moment.

Jeff asks me every day when my mom is coming. I told him today that the baby's not coming yet, so my mom's not coming quite yet. He said we need her soon. He's right. Next week is my last week at work. Friday I went to my last staff meeting. My last staff meeting after ten years of staff meetings.

So many changes.

There's that whisper again. Be brave.

I'm tired at the moment. I've been sitting here, typing, and watching my tummy move up and down while Lillian seems to be doing somersaults. It's not really a restful time--being nine months pregnant and all. But there are moments. Lincoln and Ashtyn have been more than a handful this week. And yet still, Jeff and I were looking at the kids today and it's crazy how much we love them. Those two kids are absolutely adored. I'm so glad they're mine. And amid all the chaos of this week, when I told Jeff this afternoon that I was tired, he immediately had me lay down for a nap while he corralled those kids of ours. I was able to get some desperately needed rest.

True love. Being there for each other.

And I'm reminded of how blessed I am. To have this precious family. To have Jeff. To know my mom will be here soon to help. I finished organizing all the clothes and blankets and everything in Lily's room, and it just made me grateful. So many lovely gifts from family and friends. Love and support in practical ways. It makes all the difference.

We all have rough weeks. The kind with unexpected costs that overwhelm us. The kind where our kids make us crazy. The kind where we want to lock the bathroom door and have a good cry.

Some days are harder than others.

I know I'm in the final stretch of this pregnancy. It's only a matter of time before Lillian makes her appearance. Thank heavens. I feel very ready. Let the countdown begin. There might not be a whole lot of rest happening for me at the moment, but there's a whole lot of love in this house. There's chaos too. But there's love. We can't wait for our newest member to arrive.


It makes everything worth it.

I'm so glad to have this little family of mine.