Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Our Big Weekend

This last weekend was a big one! My husband, Jordan, had his very last exam of his degree on Friday and he is officially done! It has been a long 4 years and it feels really good to finally have a husband who is not a student. On Saturday was Jordan's birthday, and on Sunday was his very first Father's Day as a dad! I knew this weekend was coming for a while and really wanted to make it special for him. But I also knew that we are in a tight financial spot so I had to be creative. Here's what I did!

On Friday I booked a babysitter for the evening and planned to meet Jordan at the University when he finished his exam. Then we would head to Famoso for dinner (courtesy of a gift card from a lovely friend)! I bought a bottle of sparkling cider and grabbed two wine glasses and planned to surprise him with a toast in celebration when he came out of his exam.

Unfortunately, he was done his exam early and I didn't get out of the house before he was finished. So I got him to meet me at the restaurant instead. It also starting pouring rain like crazy but I didn't let it discourage me. When Jordan pulled up to the restaurant I was standing in the rain with the bottle and glasses and we toasted in the rain! We then had a great time having dinner and dessert, Jordan opened his grad present, and we headed home to watch a movie before bed.

The next day, for Jordans birthday, I got up early and made a yummy breakfast. We ate together, Jordan opened his birthday gift, and then we packed a picnic lunch. I secretly packed an extra sandwich because we were going to pick up our friend Mitchell on our way to ELK ISLAND! Jordan didn't know we were bringing Mitchell so that was a surprise along the way. I had never been to Elk Island before so it was exciting. We drove out there and randomly found the Canada 150 chairs so, naturally, we had to do a photo shoot!

Next, we had a picnic lunch and a yummy birthday cake that Mitchell brought! Afterward, we went on a nice walk in the woods and it was great until the mosquitos drove us out. We saw so many Bison and just watched them for at least half an hour.

Once we got back into town we dropped off Henley at my in-laws, went for burgers and took a nice drive. After that, we had dessert with my in-laws and went home to bed. The next morning, Jordan opened his Fathers Day gift and we went to church. Afterward, we went out for an awesome lunch with my in-laws! That afternoon Jordan spent time with Henley while I had a nap. It was lovely.

It was a great weekend and it was so fun to celebrate Jordan and spend so much time together! Stay tuned for an in-depth post about what Father's Day means to me! 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Henley Grows; Two Months

Today Henley turns two months old. As cliche as it sounds, I can't believe how fast time is flying and how quickly she is growing up. It truly feels surreal that two months has passed since that crazy weekend where I (and a team of highly trained medical professionals) brought her into this world. I feel like I have just met her and yet like I have known her my whole life. 

My love for this girl keeps blowing my mind as it grows and grows. 

Although some may argue that babies can't have a personality until they are a bit older, I completely disagree. This girl is a completely unique individual with a lot of personality traits to get to know already. Here are just a few things that Henley loves:

1. Change Table Time
She seriously hates having a wet diaper. Sometimes I forget how much she hates it and I will have no idea why she is so upset, but as soon as I start to carry her towards her nursery she will instantly cheer up. And then when I place her on her change table all is right with the world again. 

2. Mirrors 
I don't think babies know how to be vain so I think this one is just very normal for her developmental stage. Her baby swing has a mirror on the mobile hanging above it and her play-mat also has a mirror hanging for her to look into. She also has this book, which has a mirror on the front that she loves. 

3. Butt Pats 
Nothing calms this girl down more than butt pats and if she is tired this will send her right off to dreamland. We truly pat her to sleep every time she naps. 

4. Music
Henley will give me such a big smile and stare at me when I sing. I hold her during worship practice sometimes and she just loves it. Her dad and I also basically sing everything that we ever say to her. Something about babies brings out the inner musical star in all of us. 

5. Mommy and Daddy
This one is probably very obvious but I think it deserves to be mentioned. Nothing makes her smile more than when her dad or I smile at her and talk to her in a happy voice. And nothing makes us smile more than her smiling at us. It's a perfect exchange. 

As far as sleeping goes, Henley doesn't sleep too well yet. She usually wakes up every two hours all night long. There have been a couple nights where she has slept a little longer but not much. She usually sleeps in our bed with us (controversial I know, but this is what we decided to do) but she does sleep in her bassinet quite a bit too. We are trying to get her to sleep in it more but it is tricky as babies do love to be close to their mama and night feedings sure are easier for me. One thing that has helped her stay asleep longer is this swaddle/sleep sack.

As far as eating goes, Henley eats about 50/50 breast milk and formula. There are a lot of reasons why she eats this way but I will be writing a post all about that in the future so stay tuned.

We love this girl so much and we love watching her grow so much every day. Stay tuned to my blog for monthly updates as Henley Grows.

Friday, 9 June 2017

My Birth Story; Introducing Henley Esther Brown

It is so hard to believe that my baby just turned 2 months old. I never expected to take such a long hiatus from this blog at the end of my pregnancy but pregnancy and labour are unlike anything I could have ever expected. It has taken me this long to be ready to talk about that weekend, but here we go.

On April 9th (the day before my due date), at 5:30 am I woke up with cramps. They felt very similar to Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been having for months, except my lower back was also hurting a lot. Remembering what my doula had told me, I got into the bathtub to see if they would go away (a hot bath will usually get rid of Braxton Hicks contractions, which is a good way to see if your contractions are real or not).

They did not go away.

They got more and more intense. Until this point, I hadn't woken up Jordan but I couldn't hold off anymore. I called him into the bathroom and he sat with me for a few hours while I worked through these contractions that were about 3 minutes apart. I was texting my doula about my symptoms and she was advising me to stay at home and wait it out. I did so until about 9:00 am. At that time my midwife came and checked to see if I was dilated at all. I was 4 cm and she told me I could stay at home longer or I could head to the hospital now. The pain was quite excruciating so I opted to head to the hospital where there were some options for pain management.

Once I was at the hospital I tried a few different pain management strategies, wanting to have a natural birth with no epidural. I got in a hot shower, tried laughing gas, and tried all sorts of breathing techniques. I was having back labor and it became too much for me. At this point, I had been in labor for about 10 hours, was about 7-8 cm dilated, and I asked for an epidural. It took a few hours to get the epidural as the midwife was struggling to get an IV started in between my contractions, which were only about 40-60 seconds apart.

Once I finally received the epidural, it had to be done twice to be successful, but let me tell you, it was GLORIOUS. It did not remove my pain entirely but it dulled it to the point that I could fall asleep. I slept for a few hours.

At 11:00 pm, 16 hours into labor, I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push. And push I did. For 3 hours. It was the most excruciating thing I have ever experienced and I hope you never have to experience back labor. After 3 hours I was at the end of myself. I had thrown up so many times and I could not handle the pain any longer. My midwife called a doctor in to check me. My baby was very crooked and the doctor said that it would never come out this way. She tried to flip the baby manually but it would not work. At this point, I was told I would need a C-section. Once I signed the consent forms they wheeled me away. 

They made my husband wait outside the OR so they could prep me. While they were prepping me we discovered that my epidural was not working properly and I still had too much feeling in my lower body. They pushed more medication, I threw up, but it was not working. The anesthesiologist told me I would need to be put to sleep. I was also told nobody could join me in the OR since I was going under. I was hysterical. I started crying and asking questions but there wasn't time. 

They threw a mask on my face and told me to think happy thoughts to I could have good dreams...and I was out. 

2 hours later I woke up in recovery. I was once again hysterical as my anesthesia wore off. A few nurses told me everything was okay but they didn't know anything about the procedure because they were not in the room for it. 

All they knew was a GIRL! 

I cried and asked repeatedly when I could go meet my baby. They kept telling me "soon". They told me my baby was with my husband and they had been doing 'skin to skin' for 2 hours. Another nurse came and told me that my baby had been born unresponsive...not breathing. They had done CPR and after 5 minutes my baby was breathing on her own and completely healthy. I was so completely overwhelmed but all I could think was "just take me to her". And they did. 

They wheeled my bed back to our room where my baby was with Jordan. As I rolled in I saw her head, covered in thick dark hair. They immediately placed her on my chest and I was completely overcome. 

She was born at 2:27 am on April 10th (her due date), weighing 8 lbs 6 oz. We stayed in the hospital for 3 days while I recovered and we fell madly in love with this daughter of ours. 

My labor was nothing like I wanted or expected and there was a lot of emotions and trauma for me to work through in the weeks to come. I am still working through it now. I do plan to write and share about that in a later post. But my girl is here and she is safe, and I love her more than I could say. 

Meet my daughter; 
Henley Esther Brown