Tuesday, May 31, 2011


They say a baby changes everything.

They're right, and what was once a blog about a long awaited pregnancy will now slowly transform into a the chronicles of a family of three as we learn to raise our littlest love to glorify her creator the best way we know how.

But coming home with a ridiculously beautiful newborn-no matter how much she acts and resembles a tiny cherub-requires adjustments that even an obsessive compulsive type A personality like me couldn't possibly have prepared for.

And I since I'm all about being dramatically graphic, not in the least bit modest and completely honest, I'm not just talking about the usual life adjustments of finding a breast feeding friendly wardrobe, learning to venture out into the world with a newborn, and dealing with the lack of sleep.

It's more than finding a balance between life before and life after baby, much more than the difficulties of transforming a blog with previously numbered titles by weeks of pregnancy and side line pictures of a growing belly.

I'm thinking much bigger changes, like the baby blues; infertility style.

I had no intentions of falling victim of this popular disorder, and there was no reason too because I'm an infertile. I waited a lifetime for this moment, and there was no way I was going to waste a second of it wallowing in sadness of any kind-hormonally induced or not-after the birth of my miracle.

So I was completely blindsided when a wave of sadness hit me as soon as I got out of the delivery bed to take that first postpartum shower. As I gathered my clothes and toiletries, I looked down and realized my hard earned, once occupied, perfectly rounded stomach was suddenly missing; in its place was a slightly squishy-but surprisingly flat-rendition of what my stomach looked like ten months ago.

As I stood there in wonder, my hand rested lightly on what used to be the home of my tiny human, but instead of the subtle movements and vibrant pulsations of life inside, I just felt emptiness.

And as I undressed and stepped under the soothing spray of hot water, the tears started to fall.

I realize this may earn me some negative criticism as most girls would be thrilled to find that so soon after giving birth their ginormous midsection had given way to a smooth surface free of stretch marks, and loose, deflated skin. But the infertile in me worked for years to gain that swollen belly and it was my proof, my obvious statement worn loud and proud that I was no longer infertile, because my once broken body was finally capable of producing life.

And in the absence of it, I became infertile once again.

To me, I fought hard for far more than the gorgeous baby sleeping soundly in my room as I type this. I desperately wanted it all, and God so graciously answered my prayers. He gave me my hearts desire when in the most dramatic fashion possible, He granted me the privilege of not only having a child, but the experience of carrying her inside of me and birthing her into this world as well.

So why-during those first few days-wasn't it enough? How dare I waste one second in sadness, mourning the conclusion of my pregnancy when my amazing delivery experience resulted in a healthy, vibrant, stunningly beautiful little girl who is perfect in every way?

Because infertility-and the lasting result of the damage it causes-is a nasty beast.

As I looked down at my deflated stomach that day, I thought to myself, what now? I spent years reaching this point in my life, praying for this, preparing my body for this, writing blogs about this, building up anticipation for this, and suddenly, it was over.


As an infertile, I don't have the luxury of knowing that I'll be pregnant again some day. I may never experience that gift again, and I think that very well may have been the basis of my sadness, the craziness behind my short lived baby blues.

I loved every single second of the entire process, and to me, there will never be another time in my life that I've ever felt as useful, as important, and as beautiful as when I was carrying my daughter. I'll be grateful every day for the rest of my life for that privilege, and for the comfortable pregnancy God blessed me with; but that day, it just wasn't enough to stop the baby blues.

Now, four weeks later, those baby blues are all but vanished. The infertile in me still misses being pregnant, and I suppose I always will. But now I'm in a better mindset to look back and rejoice in the blessing of my pregnancy, and hope for a future pregnancy has already crept it's way in too.

After all, God did bless us with two frozen embryos.

Now I can spend more time adjusting to this new life and coming up with new blog titles, posting more pictures of my baby doll, revealing her nursery and learning to sit still and maybe watch a little TV while I love on my mini-me.

Tonight, in a rare moment of forced down time, I watched the latest episode of the Little Couple on TLC. I stared intently at the screen while they followed through with their third cycle of IVF, and cried ugly tears as their cycle was once again canceled and there dreams were crushed.

Because I remembered being there.

My own past struggles felt so fresh and raw as I continued to watch that screen, a flood of emotions bringing back feelings of my own defeat after countless cycles came to an end with nothing to show for it but the same negative pregnancy tests over and over again. I was taken back to the feeling of pure agony as the heartbreaking realization that I may never be a mother drew so close I could taste it.

Then, as I looked down at the most beautiful baby girl I'd ever seen resting contently in my arms while I watched T.V, I cried again.

She's perfect and beautiful and amazing in every way, and I don't deserve her. There are so many others out there who never got the chance to have a baby of their own, so many amazing women who would never find themselves crying in the hospital shower because they were sad they weren't pregnant anymore and there belly was gone.

So many girls who are still fighting for their dreams of becoming mothers, who wouldn't fight back tears the day after coming home from the hospital as they passed the spot on a trail where they used to have to stop to urinate at every lap, no longer feeling the urgency to pee because their pregnancy is over.

Ladies who could care less that they spent there pregnancy wearing ninety percent of their pre-pregnancy wardrobe, but suddenly can't find a thing to wear because being a milk cow hinders their attire selection; they are too thankful to be successfully breastfeeding a tiny miracle to cry about it.

But even as these mindless, hormonally induced thoughts and feelings cross my mind, I spend just as much time fighting back the tears welling in my eyes because I have an answered prayer falling asleep on my chest, and the dream that is my new life has me shedding a different kind of tears.

Big, ugly, happy tears.

Because God chose to give me a daughter, and it still takes my breath away.

We wanted to give her a Bible name, something that would be a sort of testimony to God's faithfulness, but we couldn't find one that we both liked. So instead, we found one that isn't a true Bible name, but it's still biblical.

Scarlet is the color often used to describe the the blood that Jesus shed, and grace is used in reference to the result of that shed blood for the remission of our sins; God's free gift of unmerited favor. And though we didn't immediately realize the correlation until after my husband announced the first name and I suggested the middle name simply for the sound and flow, it quickly became something special, more than just a pretty, old fashioned name.

Just like her name, she's our unmerited favor.

Our gift.

And at only four weeks old, she really has changed everything.

“From this day forward, You shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter, And my arms will be your home.”
-Author Unknown

Monday, May 16, 2011

{40w4d} Part 2

Just like my pregnancy, the birth of my tiny human was perfect.

It sort of breaks my heart to finish this story-to close this long awaited chapter-but I need to complete it before I forget all of the amazing details.

I left off with the doctors telling me that I had until midnight to progress on my own, or pitocin was threatened to speed things up because of my group B strep diagnosis. And since I was holding strong to every intention of having my tiny human enter this world in the most natural way possible, pitocin was not on my birth plan.

And after the shock of actually being in labor began to sink in, and the fear of rejection for urinating on myself had been diminished and been replaced with the very real and imminent fear of loosing my bowls on the birthing table, phone calls were made and family started arriving as the news spread.

And though my dreams of laboring in the form of roaming the halls and showering were crushed by the fact that my sweet miracle was still sitting at negative three station and was in danger of a prolapsed cord, the nurses were amazing, and they were so happy to hear our story and the gender surprise that they let me do everything else I wanted without a fuss. I ate four mini bagels with cream cheese, drank water like a fish, and was even allowed to keep my sundress on instead of an uncomfortable and unflattering birthing gown.

By the time midnight rolled around, I had progressed to three centimeters dilated and was given the OK to continue to labor on my own with instructions for the next shift change to check me around seven in the morning. My tiny human was still setting at negative three station though, so I was advised to take an ambion and rest a while I still could. I was a little hesitant to take the sleeping pill since I'd never had one before, but I figured I should take their advise and get as much sleep as possible while it was still possible.

Regretfully, all the ambion served to do was cloud the next few hours.

Shortly after it kicked in, I started to feel the contractions, and just like I expected, they felt like menstrual cramps. I don't remember every little detail like I wish I did, but I do remember my husband sleeping hard in the recliner chair next to me, and my parents standing on either side of me, counting the contractions and rubbing them away as they came.

I remember having to force myself to breath through them, but they still weren't unbearable. This, I remember thinking, I can handle.

Somewhere around the next shift change, the nurses came in to check me and found that I was one hundred percent effaced, dilated to five centimeters and my tiny human had finally dropped low enough for me to wander around the floor like I had always planned.

Unfortunately, wandering the halls and showering through the end stages of my labor never happened.

Because after I finally got up and used the restroom, the contractions started coming fast and hard, and in a still groggy state from that darn ambion, I gave in too quickly and pleaded for the epidural. My mother-knowing my birth plan and me-tried her best to ease my back labor and encourage me to try the shower like I had always wanted too, and in the two minute break in between contractions I agreed.

Then another one came, and I disagreed.

I'm pretty sure I was experiencing back labor. And my mother seemed to think that after getting up and moving around, I had probably worked my way into transition quickly and she was desperately trying to help me hold on to what she knew I always wanted, what she knew I could push through, offering to have the nurses come in and check me again, thinking that if they would tell me I had progressed quite a bit the news would give me the strength to continue on naturally.

But regretfully I gave in, pleaded for the epidural and told the nurses the anesthesiologist had exactly two minutes to get in there as I grabbed on to everyone and everything standing in my path while my uterus clamped down over and over again, taking my breath away each time.

Because I swore my baby was trying to come out of my spine, and I wasn't ready.

And I was tired and groggy.

Sometimes I still think back and it breaks my heart to realize that I gave in so quickly at the first sign of heavy pain; after all, this was what my body was made to do. I had made peace with the fact that it was going to be painful, but I was determined to birth my child as natural as possible and I as a sort of throat punch to infertility, I desperately wanted to experience everything about the birthing process, no matter the expected anguish.

But then I think about the rest of the story, and I know that what happened next wouldn't have been as special had I been screaming and throwing things around the room as my littlest love entered into this world.

Because the epidural was perfection.

It hurt like crazy going in, but once it was complete, I was pleasant once again. My legs felt warm and heavy, but I could still move them, and the previous pain felt by the contractions was nonexistent. I was able to take a quick half hour nap, and since it was nearing eight thirty in the morning I was soon bright eyed and ready for the slew of welcomed visitors that followed.

The next few hours passed quickly, and each cervical check showed me progressing beautifully and painlessly. By the time I had reached nine centimeters, a friend was touching up my makeup and everyone was anxious to meet our sweet little angel.

Before I knew it, it was time to push.

As the nurses danced around and everyone said there goodbye's and I love you's, we learned the the doctor was down the hall doing a circumcision and we had to stall for ten more minutes. So as I got into position they turned off my pitocin to slow the contractions back down and said it was time to get started.

Then as the last wave of goodbye's hit, the sweet nurses let me know that if I didn't mind, they didn't mind.

And I didn't mind.

So in true celebration of the miracle about to enter this world, we had a party in the delivery room.

Even I was surprised at my lack of modesty as I sat there, legs held up by my husband on the left and my mother on the right, trying my best to push low and hard like they told me too, but trying to also refrain from having a bowel movement on the table.

I'm proud to say that I did not-in fact-have a bowel movement, and there were about fifteen witnesses to prove it.

Miracle number one.

Then after the doctor arrived and about forty minutes of painless pushing ensued, I was told to reach down and feel my baby's head full of hair.

Miracle number two.

Then, amidst the cheering of a room full of people, the head of my littlest love emerged and as the doctor twisted the head around to face up, I heard a few people in the room murmur that it looked like a boy. And as the doctor released my baby's shoulders and arms, he asked me if I'd like to pull my child the rest of the way out myself.

So as I reached down and held tight to the slick, vernix covered skin of my child's underarms, I gave one final push and pulled my tiny human out, sliding my sweet baby onto my own sundress covered chest. And on the way out, I was the very first to see that I had just given birth to the most gorgeous baby girl, born at 12:26pm.

Miracle number three was wet, slimy and screaming, but she was a solid eight pounds, nine ounces, and twenty and a half inches of all kinds of beautiful.

It didn't take long for the cord to stop pulsing before my husband cut it and handed his daughter to the NICU nurses who rated her at perfect apgar scores of nines, and handed her back for our bonding time as the doctor finished delivering the placenta and stitching up my slight third degree tare.

I will never forget the strong emotions in the room felt by all who witnessed this miracle-this precious baby who started out as a mere beta of eleven-enter into the world. Shouts were released, tears were shed, and the love felt in that hospital room was enough to last a lifetime.

She breastfed immediately, and loved her first bath. And other than a case of jaundice that left us in the hospital for two more days after her birth, she is ridiculously alert and perfect in every way.

She sleeps and only wakes me up once in the middle of the night to feed. She was in church the very next Sunday, which also happened to be my first mothers day, and she loves her turquoise Moby wrap.

We are blessed.

Sweet Little Miss Scarlett Grace, welcome to this crazy world.

"I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing, when they, so fresh from God, love us."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

{40w4d} Part 1

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him."
1 Samuel 1:27 (KJV)

Scarlett Grace was born on May 3rd, at 12:26pm
8lbs, 9oz, 20.5" long
She is perfect in every way

"Everything she ever wanted, all those dreams and now they're finally here...God is smilin' down on them tonight, and she wants to stay right here, make it last for a hundred more years."
-Francesca Battistelli

Monday, May 2, 2011


I thought I was peeing myself.

Today felt different, but not different enough to make a fuss. My husband found a four leaf clover and brought it to me while we were at work, and we laughed about it possibly being a sign. I made sure I printed out my call list so that my husband, mother, and sister knew who to contact in the event that God would allow us to go into labor on our own, but still worried that I'd have to be induced next week.

Then, after coming home from work, I decided against shopping for last minute things and opted instead to head home and take a nap.

I wasn't asleep for very long before I was woke up by a noise from outside, and as I rolled over to get more comfortable, I felt like I had just involuntarily leaked a little urine.


So I got up to go to the bathroom and found my pantyliner fairly soaked, but there was no blood, cramping, or contractions, so I decided to try and finish my nap.

But just as I got settled into position, it happened again.

Another quick bathroom check revealed the same findings, so I decided my nap time wasn't going to happen. And as I headed into the kitchen to find something to eat, I felt it again.

This couldn't be my water breaking; I wasn't feeling contractions, I had no blood, I hadn't lost my mucous plug and there just wasn't that obvious gush they talk about in birthing class. But just to be safe, I texted one of my connections in the labor and delivery land and was strongly advised to head in and get checked, just in case.

I debated for a good fifteen minutes whether or not I should go in. I didn't want to be the girl that cried wolf, especially not the girl that cried wolf because she couldn't control her bladder. But my group B strep diagnosis was heavy on my heart and I knew that if I was indeed leaking amniotic fluid, I'd never forgive myself if I ignored it out of fear of rejection and my baby suffered because of it.

So a quick call to my husband, a re-application of makeup and fifteen minutes later, we were headed to the hospital with our bag in the backseat, just in case. I made sure my husband knew not to let anyone know where we were going, because I couldn't stand the embarrassment that would ensue when our family found out I was in the hospital after peeing myself.

Everything felt so surreal once we were admitted to labor and delivery, where they asked me to pee in a cup, drew my blood, and hooked me up to monitors. I still felt like I was going to be sent home at any minute, and even began apologizing profusely for peeing on the nurse as she checked my cervical position and dilation.

She smiled and said she wouldn't be needing my ferning slide to check for a rupture, because I hadn't just peed on her after all. In fact, after moving the baby's head up slightly, she had opened up the floodgates and I had just leaked a large amount of amniotic fluid all over her.

My water had broken earlier, but the baby's head was acting as a plug, explaining why I had no major gush of fluid before.

Suddenly, I realized I wasn't going back home. And now here I am, listening to the rush of my baby's heartbeat on the monitor while an IV administers the antibiotics for my group B strep, waiting for my husband to bring me a bagel for fuel.

I'm contracting every six to eight minutes, but nothing strong enough to feel, and I'm still only dilated to a two. In just a few minutes, I'll start to roam the halls and see if I can get something moving along before midnight, because that's when they'll begin pitocin to get this party started if I can't manage it on my own.

This is what I wanted, to go into labor on my own. This is what I prayed for, what I asked others to pray for. And now I'm here, in a hospital bed, less than twenty four hours away from meeting my little miracle, and it still doesn't feel real.

Soon, I'll start feeling contractions, and it will be time to find out if my tiny human is a boy or girl.

And we still haven't even finalized names.

I also never got that darn enema, didn't get to take a shower, and never found the perfect going home outfit; but I did paint my toenails, get a spray tan, my hair is colored and my makeup is on, so I suppose I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

It's time.

"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinetly rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever..."
-Isak Dinesen