Saturday, October 24, 2009

Noah's Biggest Fans

In the first week of Noah's life we were blessed beyond words by family & friends who came to stay for the week or just dropped in for a minute. Whether here for 5 minutes or 5 days, we are very thankful for the continued love and support, thoughts and prayers extended to our new family.

Our first round of "fans" arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes before Noah made his grand entrance. My mom and dad left shortly after we called them Thursday morning and made the trek all the way from Pensacola... with an extra surprise in the shape of my sister, Kelly! I knew my mom and dad were making their way up, but had no idea that Kelly was coming with them until she walked in the room about an hour after Noah was born! I was so worn out and delirious but on the inside was feeling so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that the 3 of them had made it just in time, and were now getting to meet our boy for the first time. I am eternally grateful...

Because of the perfect timing of the weekend, Kelly was able to stay until Sunday...she left us with a fridge/freezer full of delicious food, a cleaner house (with one less mouse), and plenty new mama tips and tricks that have definitely come in handy. I think she was already plotting her return before she even left... and if she wasn't I know her kiddos were. While skyping with the Bullington kids, Wilson was sure to let us know that their Fall Break was only one full week of school away and then they would be coming to meet their new cousin. A little skyping action:

My mom and dad were able to stay a whole week with us! What a blessing/relief! And in Mama Bo and Papa Bo fashion, not only did Noah get a lot of lovin' but so did our house. You see, we live in camp-provided housing so there are some things that are a little rough around the edges. Well, my parents live for such projects and were busy updating, repairing, replacing, scrubbing, painting, installing, building, supplying, etc. the entire time they were here. Again, we are so thankful for their help and support. They snuck in plenty of Noah time though, too:

As I predicted, Chris' mama would not be able to stay away if Noah came on his own before the scheduled induction on the 7th. And I was right... he was born just after midnight on Thursday/Friday and she could hardly stand that it would be almost 3 weeks before she could get her hands on her first grandbaby. So, by that afternoon she had booked her flight and was on her way early Saturday morning. She arrived at the hospital just in time for us to be discharged and to meet Noah for the first time. Again, I planned the time so well that she was able to make it for a couple of days. She had to leave Booger behind, but he will meet Noah in about 2 weeks in North Carolina. We were very excited that she was able to make it to hold and love on our precious boy:

 Noah also met his first Uncle Matt and his first Aunt Heather (GiuGiu), the ones who aren't married to each other. This poor kid is going to be so confused, Heather & Matt who are married and Heather & Matt who are siblings. I promise, our family tree does fork even if we do live in east Tennessee...

We also had a very special stop-by from Noah's Grand-Godmother, Ann Thompson. She (and 4 other ladies) were on their way back to Florida from Luke Thompson's wedding in Michigan. We were sad that we couldn't make the wedding, but were very excited that Grandma Ann was able to stop for a few minutes and love on Noah for the first time. The other ladies (Mary, Sharon, Lois, and Cynthia) didn't seem to mind admiring him either.

I think those are all the photos of visitors that we have, but we had many more folks come by to offer their congratulations, drop off a plethora of food and gifts, and to get a look at our little guy. Allison brought us some delicious soup, listened to me ramble about the whole labor and delivery (thanks for that, it's good for my soul), and to hug the little munchkin. Several ladies from Bethel Presbyterian Church (Pat, Sue, Debbie) brought by lots and lots of gifts and soups from the Bethel family (thank you so much... you've really shown us what it means to be part of a Christ-centered community).  Dennis McCurry (Outdoor Ministry Team for CJK) generously supplied us with a bunch of diapers, wipes, and Noah's first (and maybe only) Volunteer outfits (thank you, you've made Chris' nights MUCH easier). And that only scratches the surface of the many cards, gifts, phone calls, and messages we've received over the past 3 weeks. I am slowly getting around to thank-you's and returning phone calls... please bear with me.

And for your viewing pleasure, one of our first family photos:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mama is Back...

There is not enough time in the day for me to write about all the things that have happened in the last 20 days, but I will do my best in providing a glimpse of our recent weeks. I will give you a few events at a time... today I will start with my account of the L&D. Here we go:

LABOR & DELIVERY: 10/02/09
We arrived at the hospital between 8-9am on Thursday, Noah's due date. I wanted to just go to the Doc's office to be checked out, but we would have had to wait another 30 minutes before even talking to a nurse about coming in, so we headed up to L&D Triage. I was the only person in there so we were seen pretty quickly. After a few "tests" to find out what was going on, the nurse quickly declared that my water had definitely broken and that we would be headed to a room shortly (which we later found out was the ONLY available room left in the unit). We got settled into the room, made phone calls to let folks know that this is definitely happening, and around 11 I was able to get up and walk around the unit. Things stayed pretty "normal" for 5-6 hours and I was able to get up and walk or shower or do the birthing ball every so often for about 30 minutes at a time. The nurse (Julie) would come in and hook me back up to the monitors and check me every couple of hours, which turned out to be one of the less enjoyable parts because 1) it made me lose my lunch every time (even though I had not eaten in over 12 hours) and 2) my contractions were consistent but I was making no progress. My contractions started to get more intense at 2-3 minutes apart around 4pm but I had stayed at 4cm since being admitted earlier in the morning. Dr. Cottam (my OB) had left at 3pm and was calling to check on me around 5pm, suggesting that we needed to change something otherwise I was going to continue to labor with little progress and wear myself out. My options were to go ahead and start pitocin or have a pressure monitor "installed" to measure what exactly my contractions were doing. Sticking with the "natural" mindset I opted for the monitor, which did NOT fair well. More lunch losing and tears in my eyes (the only time I cried during labor) and pulling the nurse's hand away... so we stopped with that option. It wasn't that my contractions weren't getting stronger, they just weren't dilating me, so I was feeling the pain and pressure with each contraction... and the weird part is that I was having what Chris called "double shots" meaning that I was having two contractions back to back with no time in between, going 2-3 min, and then having two more back to back. This was starting to get to me so I asked for Stadol (a narcotic that just takes the edge off, not a pain reducer... think 2 for 1 margaritas) before they started the pitocin so that I could relax between contractions. When they had started to get intense I was shaking and having a hard time resting between them, so the Stadol definitely helped, allowing me to relax for the 2-3 minutes b/t contractions. Once the pitocin was administered everything started moving right along... more intensity, more dilation, etc. From about 7pm on I progressed steadily, hardly opening my eyes, only talking when talked to. My focus was on breathing and relaxing, Chris rubbing my back through each contraction (also offering to play DJ with the iPod), and hoping that I could get through with only the Stadol. Also, let me mention, that Chris was a trooper... communicating with the nurses of what we wanted, holding his bladder for several hours because I wouldn't let him leave my side, rubbing my back until his arm nearly fell off, encouraging me with every contraction, among other slightly more intimate memories I will keep to ourselves. Dr. Many would be the one to deliver our baby and she was periodically checking in on us, beginning to "worry" that I would end up laboring for more than 18 hours after my water had broken, which meant I would potentially need antibiotics to reduce risk of infection for Noah. Although his heart rate remained "perfect" throughout labor, we would still have to take precautions just in case... I missed the 18hr mark by about 30 minutes. Around 10pm our nurse (Meredith) came in and checked me, finding that I was at about 8.5cm. She began to situate the room and equipment in preparation for delivery. This is when it really sank in for me... I was about to have this baby, most likely before midnight. Holy crap... Around 11pm Meredith wanted to do a "test push" to see what kind of pusher I would be, at which she quickly learned that I meant business! Dr. M was actually delivering another baby at that time, so I had to wait a few more contractions before going again to give her time to get in the room. I never understood the statement "I feel like I need to push" and what it really means, but with my contractions coming one behind the other pretty intensely, there wasn't much waiting I was able to do. I asked to continue to push, and she let me, and soon after the Dr. joined us. At this point (around 11:20pm) the nursery nurses, the Dr's assistant, and Meredith were all gearing up for delivery... one of the nursery nurses asked if he would be here before midnight so she could fill out the paperwork and Meredith indicated that she thought so. Oh man, here we go... so I will spare the details, but with Chris at my side, Dr. M running the show and the other folks offering words of encouragement and incredible support, we pushed until 12:05am when Noah Matthew entered this big new world! He came out wide-eyed and screaming at 8lbs6oz, 20 1/2inches with beautiful color and chubby cheeks (he got those from his mama). His daddy may have shed a few more tears than his mama, both proud and relieved that the "hard part" was past us. The nurses cleaned him up, the Dr. finished with me, and Noah was handed to his daddy to cuddle and love. We are now a family of three and a half...

Quirky Facts of Our L&D:
* I may never drink apple juice again.
* We heard stats ranging from 3%-10% of babies are born ON there due date... Noah missed his by 5 minutes.
* I never asked for the epidural.. I wouldn't have let them near me with a needle anyhow.
* Apparently, I apologized frequently to the nursing staff and Dr. for what was going on down yonder.
* "Hees and Hoos" of breathing are silly... just breathe slow and close your eyes to focus. I think those breathing techniques are for the entertainment of others in the room.
* Chris offered to play Mitch Hedberg during my contractions.
* You quickly lose any shred of modesty during childbirth.
* I wouldn't do anything differently... every bit of the pain was worth it.

The staff at Parkwest were above and beyond what we expected. They helped make our experience a positive and successful one... we are eternally thankful for their care and expertise that helped us bring home our healthy baby boy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

NMF:What to say? Perfection in the flesh...

Well, I'm not sure exactly what to say, you know having a new baby at home and our lives being completely changed and the lack of sleep and what not... so I am going to post a few pictures from the birth and 1st couple of days.

Noah Matthew Ford, born October 2nd, 2009 at 12:05 am. Forcing his way into the world at 8 lbs 6 oz, 20 1/2 inches long, 14 & a hair cm head. He was born 5 min past his due date and labored with his mamma for 18 hours!