Max’s Birth Story

On Monday, June 18 at 9:30am, we were admitted to Labor & Delivery after a whirlwind of events from the week prior.

The nurse escorted us down the hall to room 341 and asked me to get into the gown, get settled and that another nurse would be in shortly to do our admissions paperwork, start an IV and check to see how I am progressing.

Chris and I decide that it is probably smart for him to rush home, repack my bag and come back to the hospital with all of the supplies that we will need for the next few days.  He leaves and I sit in the bed thinking about everything to come and soaking it all in.

Our nurse, who was actually a midwife was phenominal.  She remembered hearing my story from the previous week and was very caring and reassuring that all would be perfect.

My doctor came back at 10:30am and broke my water.  No meconium or issues that he could see, but he did say that I had a tremendous amount of amniotic fluid, which probably came in handy when I fell.

Around 11:30am, he began the pitocin drip and emphasized to the nurse that I went quickly last time and that he expected the same this time.  He also asked to be alerted to any changes with my progression and that I could have my epidural whenever I felt that I needed it.

Around this time, I was contracting about every 3-4 minutes and the contractions were increasing in their intensity.  Chris came back to the hospital around 11:45am and was shocked to hear that I was at 4cm and 90% effaced and progressing very quickly.

My nurse asked me in between contractions that I had been breathing through if I wanted my epidural.  I said that I was still doing well with breathing and that I was hesitant because of possibly stalling labor so early in the process.  She reassured me that it would be fine and that she would call the anesthesiologist to come in and get me set up.

The anesthesiologist was wonderful!  She was calm, caring, funny and sweet and I am so thrilled that I was able to have her.  Unlike my previous delivery where Chris was my support while getting my epidural with Jack, they had Chris exit the room and the nurse midwife was my support while they hooked up my epidural.

Once I was comfortable, I laid back and waited for labor to continue to progress.  About 15 minutes go by, and some alarms begin going off.  The baby’s heart rate was dropping.  Hy heart was in my throat as my thoughts traveled to an unforeseen issue with the baby from the fall.  The nurses turned me on my side and his heart rate came back up.  Thank God.  The deceleration of his heart rate happened every so often after that, but was always remediated when I moved a different way.

Around 3pm, the nurse checked me and said that I was about 8cm dilated and that it shouldn’t be long now.  The nurses also changed shifts at 3pm, so my wonderful nurse midwife left and another great nurse came in.  My doctor called for an update and announced that he would be back around 4pm to check me again.

As I had transitioned quickly in my last labor, I knew that I would never make it to 4pm.  Coincidentally, I began feeling every contraction, pain- just everything and was practically climbing the walls in pain.  It was almost as if the epidural just completely stopped working.  The nurse saw the amount of pain that I was in as I clutched the rails on the side of the bed, breathed and let the tears continually run down my cheeks.  Word could not escape my mouth and I felt as if the baby was going to come at any minute.  Our nurse called the anesthesiologist, who was also new due to the shift change and was beside himself when he saw the pain that I was in.  He nervously poked me with a sharp popsicle stick and continued to try and ask me questions as I breathed heavily and continued to let the tears fall.  He said that he would give me a bola (sp?) to help with the additional pain that I was in.  Chris was smart and said to the nurse that she may want to check me again as this was similar to my previous labor.  She checked me and immediately called my doctor to come and deliver.

When my doctor arrived a few minutes later, he said that he wanted to see how I had progressed and when he looked, he asked me to wait so that he could put on his coat for delivery.  He announced that he could already see the baby’s head and that this was going to be quick.  Other nurses and the pediatrician flooded the room and he said to start pushing.

With only two pushes, our sweet and beautiful baby boy was here!  Max Russell came into the world on Monday, June 18 at 3:50pm.  He was 8lbs, 9oz and healthy as could be.  He received 9’s on his APGARS and was absolutely perfect!  I felt my mother in the room the moment he was born.  She was there watching over all of us and ensuring that this wonderful and beautiful boy was safe.

Max was cleaned up a bit and handed over to me where he almost immediately wanted to nurse.  We bonded as Chris and I soaked up every minute of our secind son’s first hour of life as he nursed and cuddled us in the hospital.

How lucky and fortunate we are to be blessed with this wonderful little baby.  🙂

Max Russell

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June 14th Nightmare

I took a much needed vacation day on June 14th so that I could catch up on some last minute things before the baby arrived.  My plans were simple: Clean the house, get the car washed, and pick up Jack early from school and spend some one-on-one time with him at the park before dinner, etc…

The day began as normal as any other and although I was tired enough to nap for 5 hours straight, I got up early and got to work as I knew my in-laws would be arriving the following day.

Cut to me arriving at Jack’s school around 3pm to pick him up and bring him to the park.  After speaking with the school director for a bit and joking that this is the everlasting pregnancy, we agreed that the weekend was a perfect time to have the baby.  Jack’s teacher applied more sunscreen to him so that we could be prepared for the hot sun at the park and off we went.  Walking outside of the school door, Jack walked over to the car and as I was walking with him, I tripped over the sidewalk and fell flat on my belly.

Immediately my eyes filled with tears as my worst nightmare was seemingly a reality.  My mind raced as I thought about whether or not my water broke, whether or not the baby survived the fall and where Jack was in a busy school parking lot.  I was sobbing and yelling for help.  Jack came to my rescue and so did two very nice landscapers who just so happened to be planting some shrubs in front of the school.  Jack began crying and I could see that he was terrified to see that his Mommy fell and was crying too.

One of the teachers came running outside to retrieve Jack so as not to scare him and another landscaper called 911 and my husband for me.  Chris showed up on the scene before the ambulance even arrived.  Calm as anything, he held my hand and assured me that the almost 40 weeks gestation baby was going to be fine. God, I love that man.

I remember poking my belly praying for the little one inside to poke back, move or show some sign that he was alright.  Cue the ambulance.

This was my first time riding in an ambulance and as terrified as I was, all I remember is Chris following us by car, praying my head off that everything would be ok and for us to arrive at the hospital ASAP.  It was the absolute longest 10 minutes of my entire life.  My eyes were focused on Chris driving behind us to gauge his reaction to the situation.  There was a time when he looked a bit worried and I felt it.  Almost simultaneously, I began feeling strong contractions that were a few minutes apart.

As the ambulance pulls up to the Emergency bay of the hospital, I feel the baby move a little bit.  My glimmer of hope is strong that this baby will be alright.  They rush me into the trauma unit as a level 2 trauma.  Literally, 20 people come rushing at me hooking me up to monitors, taking off my clothes, asking me questions and taking about 8 vials of blood while calling the hospital for an ultrasound machine and an ultrasound tech.  This experience was terrifying and I begged for them to let Chris come back with me.  The doctors explained that the policy doesn’t allow anyone back there, but he would see what he could do.

Meanwhile, Chris parked the car and was escorted into a private room away from the waiting area where he waited for any sort of news.

Finally, the doctor allowed Chris into the trauma unit and the ultrasound tech was doing an ultrasound to look for bleeding and to see if the baby was doing ok.  She checked around for about a half hour and the monitors were showing that my contractions were getting stronger and closer together, so off to Labor and Delivery I went.

My doctor met me in my room when I arrived by wheelchair and tried to cut the tension by saying “What the heck happened, klutz!?”  I explained the story and he said that they would be keeping me at least until 9pm as they performed more tests and monitored my contractions.

My stay became an overnight stay for more monitoring and more tests as they found that some of the baby’s blood had mixed with my blood due to the blunt force of the fall.  Immediately, my doctor is trying to rule out placental abruption, which could be fatal to the baby and cause many other complications.  I swear that my parents and God were looking out for me because even though I was still very worried about losing the baby, I felt a comfort and a nonverbal reassurance that all would be ok.

They kept me until late Saturday where they were able to rule out placental abruption.  So, after 18 needle picks, IV’s, countless ultrasounds and pages of contractions and fetal heart monitoring, the doctor was convinced that the baby was fine and that I was fine.

So, in the meantime, why not break my water, start pitocin or just send me to the OR suite to have a c-section?  The doctor said that breaking my water and starting pitocin, especially if there was a placental abruption, would cause much more harm than good.  So, my contractions continued, would strengthen and then often dissipate.  Often, the contractions would be pretty strong and about 3-4 minutes apart.

Why not a c-section?  The doctor did say that we could head down the hall and get it all over with, but he was almost certain that all would be alright and that I would be able to deliver vaginally when the baby was ready.

After I left, I came home, spent some time with my family and was told that I was on cervical rest and that I would need to return to the L&D unit the following morning for another non-stress test.

Sunday morning, Father’s Day, I went in at 7:30am for my NST, which showed that I was still having contractions, but there was no change.

Monday morning, my doctor asked me to come in for an ultrasound, another NST and to be checked.  The NST showed that I was having strong contractions that were 5 minutes apart (I didn’t need the machine to tell me this- I felt every last one!).  The ultrasound showed that the baby was about 9lbs, 1oz and was healthy as could be.  Thank God!

The doctor calls me in to be checked, and Chris and I had already mentally prepared ourselves for no cervical change and had already planned the rest of our day with his parents and Jack.  The doctor checks me and announces that I was 3cm and 80% effaced.  Other than almost falling off of the exam table, I was in shock.  He asked me to head directly to L&D and that he would be up in a bit to break my water and start pitocin.  I kindly said that I still hadn’t repacked my bag from my previous hospital stay and that I would run home quickly and come right back.  He responded, “I just said that you are in labor.  Get upstairs to L&D!”

Chris and I walked into the unit, announced that we were in labor and that my doctor had sent us.

(Continued in the birth story)

Turning 30

Yesterday (June 13) was my 30th birthday. It was also my sister Lisa’s birthday. She and I are 14 years apart and both of us wanted to welcome this baby to the world on our birthday, but alas, he is content where he is.

It was a bit different waking up in the morning yesterday just knowing that my age now begins with a 3 instead of a 2, but knowing how special my mother made every single birthday feel, it was difficult to remind myself that I wouldn’t be seeing her or hearing her sing “Happy birthday” to me the minute that she woke up in the morning. I really did think about her much of the day, and knowing that I would be doing this, Chris and friends of mine tried to make my day as special as they could and focused on happy and positive things. I am so lucky.

I arrived at work, and my coworkers decorated my office with everything from banners to signs and confetti on everything! The fun continued with a few of my work friends taking me to lunch and surprising me with tiger lilies. I come back from lunch, the staff has a cake for me and then I get an order of a dozen roses from Chris, Jack and Baby G2! It was such a wonderful day at work! Lots of cards, hugs and love to go around.

Chris and the boys also bought me a beautiful pearl necklace that I will cherish forever, and if I ever have a little girl, I will be able to tell her that this was my 30th birthday gift and make it a wonderful heirloom to pass down through the family. 🙂

My friend Jared met us for dinner at Olive Garden, which was wonderful, and we ended the day with Dairy Queen ice cream cake. My sister Kate also joined us for cake! I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Just a wonderful day with the people that I love.

Don’t get me wrong, I still miss my Mom terribly, but I know that she was right alongside me celebrating the day away.

This morning, I wake up with a big smile on my face as I begin the second day of my 30’s with the happiness in my heart leading the way. Lucky doesn’t describe how I feel to have these amazing people in my life. 🙂

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It All Happened Over a Deadliest Catch Marathon

It was Good Friday 5 years ago today that I said “Yes!” to one of the most important decisions of my life.  Chris proposed to me in the middle of the living room in front of my mother and my sister.

He had asked for my Mom’s permission a few days beforehand, so she knew that he was trying to plan something special for popping the big question, but in typical Molly fashion, I folied all of his plans and it came down to me eating a pizza bagel in record time after my Mom tricked me into getting my nails done and Chris dropping to one knee on the hardwood floor.

And although it doesn’t sound like the most romantic proposal ever, it is exactly what this quirky couple needed to make it official.

The holiest of holy days mixed with a Deadliest Catch marathon, the best pizza bagel ever and me refusing to eat dinner at home and enjoy the evening with my family in front of a fire all culminated to that moment.

I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell is he doing on the floor” and then when I began coherently understanding what he was saying about loving me forever and that he wanted to grow old with me mixed with my Mom and sister crying as they watched, I too began bawling my eyes out but was able to yell out “YES!!”

And looking back, its not even a thought of he picked me, it is more of a thought that we chose each other.  And 5 years later, I am so glad that we did.

1 year and 1 month later, we made it official!

Date Night Well Overdue

This year, Valentine’s Day was very low key in our house. I got out of work late, cooked dinner for my two guys and myself, we gave Jack a bath and Chris went to play soccer. Just a normal everyday night. Chris had gotten me tickets to see Lisa Lampanelli on Saturday night, complete with dinner for two and a babysitter! PERFECTION!

For the remainder of the week, I looked forward to an evening alone with my love over a nice dinner followed by the Lisa Lampanelli show. (If you don’t know who Lisa Lampanelli is, immediately stop reading and type her name into Google. You’re welcome)

Saturday finally came and after running errands, cleaning and doing endless loads of wash, we dropped Jack off with the babysitter and off we went.

It was so wonderful to be able to talk to Chris, eat dinner while it was hot and not have to rush the bill because we were trying to beat it home for bedtime. I savored every bite of my caesar salad, pasta and the strawberry creme brulee. It was truly a wonderful night, and that was only dinner!!! Note to self: we need to do this more often!

The highlight of the night though, especially after the last few weeks of sadness, was seeing Lisa Lampanelli perform. Her side-splitting humor, delivery of jokes and her ability to say things in a way that are totally wrong was exactly what the doctor ordered. I laughed and laughed until I didn’t think that I could laugh any more. She put on such a wonderful show, and truly, if she is coming to a town near you, do yourself a favor and buy tickets. Our seats were 5 rows from the stage, and close enough to have spotlights on our row for her to see us, but a few rows far back enough that she wasn’t picking on us. It was wonderful!

I am so thankful for Chris for recognizing that we needed a night off and out to ourselves. He has always had a keen sense of when I needed something and I appreciate him so much for that. God must have been looking out for us the night that we met to ensure that I was lucky enough to have one of the wonderful guys.

Below is a photo of Lisa Lampanelli performing, which again was really the highlight of the night! Thank goodness for date night!

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18 Weeks

Here we are.  22 weeks away from having this baby in our arms.  Almost halfway there.  Wow.

This week was a blur again with work.  I have been working almost nonstop and extremely long hours because of many organizational changes that my company is currently going through.  There are many uncertainties, but I just keep hoping that my work and my drive shine bright and I will be able to keep this job at this amazing company that I love so much.  This week has marked tears, triumphs, decisions that are good and bad and a lot of heart-wrenching decisions.

I just know that God has a plan for me and whatever the next branch of my life and career is, He will see me through it.  My husband will stand next to me and we will get through it all.  The next few weeks are sure to be difficult, but I am looking forward to once it is all over, regardless of what the decision is.

With the tears this week, I was on my way home from work on Friday and all of a sudden, my tire blew on the major highway home.  I lost control and swerved all over the road for a few seconds.  Turns out, the coil spring popped and cut the whole tire.  Not only are we down a car for over a week, but I’m sure it is going to be a fortune to fix.  Just another thing to add to the list.  Since we have had this car, it seems to have been in the shop quite a bit and I am wondering if for a car that only has 62,000 miles on it (almost all highway), maybe we have a lemon on our hands.  I’m going to wait and see what the mechanic says, but this is enough already!

Our little jellybean has been starting to move more and I’m sure it isn’t long until Chris and Jack will be able to feel the little jabs and kicks.  🙂

18 Week Questions:

How far along? 18 weeks
Estimated size of you: You are the size of a bell pepper
Maternity clothes? Yep.  No pre-maternity clothes any longer.
Stretch marks? Nothing new
Sleep: Eh, starting to get worse, especially with back pain.
Best moment this week: Feeling you move, maybe doing somersaults, during one of my meetings.
Miss Anything? My energy.  If you see it, please ask it to come back.  It is supposed to come back for the second trimester, or so I thought?
Movement: Yes, occasionally.
Food cravings: Tuna noodle casserole, and chocolate
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not so much this week
Have you started to show yet: Yep, and getting bigger
Gender: We will find out January 27!!!  No feeling on girl or boy this pregnancy.  Hubs is convinced its a girl.
Labor Signs: None
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On and loose.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Getting better with the moodiness, but the breakouts are terrible!!
Looking forward to: Hopefully selling our house and decorating a new nursery.  🙂

Yep, getting bigger!

Jack giving the baby some love

I’m finally back

After a long weekend, I had a short, but busy first week at my new job.  Flights were good, meetings were good, and I really like my new coworkers.  Everything was really great!

Since my flight was not until 10:30am on Tuesday, I was able to go with Chris to drop Jack off for his first day of school.  He knew something was up and that we were going somewhere when he was dressed and being put into the car around 8:00am.  We listened to music and I explained to him that Mommy was going to work and that Daddy would come to get him at the end of the day.

It was tough leaving him, but he immediately began playing with the trucks and the other kids and never blinked an eye.  He was in his element.  We got him sorted out and ready for the day, and he looked at us and smiled as I kissed him goodbye and told him that I loved him.

Once I left and the plane was taking off, my first view out the window was my husband’s office and the daycare.  That is when I promptly lost it.  The fear and the emotions set in as I realized that this would be the first time that I would leave Jack for more than a few hours.

I have to admit that it was strange to go to dinner, in a car, or go to sleep without Jack.  I was always so used to eating a cold meal, or making sure that all of his needs were met and haven’t really had time like that to myself in a long while.

Since being away, I feel as if I was able to recharge my batteries, and that the absence between myself, Chris and Jack absolutely strengthened our love for each other.  It also made it more apparent that Chris can absolutely handle the time as a single parent when I am called elsewhere for this job.

We did FaceTime on our iPhones while I was away and Jack loved being able to talk to me, blow me kisses, and show me his shoes.  However, it did cause for him to run to the door to see if I was there.  Tears came when I was getting of of the phone.

My excitement to come home had me awake by 4:00am on Friday and ready to be covered in kisses and cuddles for the rest of the day.

When I finally landed, I jumped in the car and headed to the daycare to get Jack.  His face upon seeing me was something that I will never forget.  It was as if I was a huge ice cream cone and Jack had just walked across the desert to get to me.  I breathed him in.  I felt his soft skin and held him close as he cried and clung to my arm.  He had really missed me.

We came home and my plans for the day were to cuddle with him, play with trucks and go for a nice walk when Chris came home.  Jack wasn’t really himself, so after a high temp reading and seeing that he was a mess, we went over to the doctor.  He has a little virus and is not feeling good in the slightest, so we spent the rest of the day and night cuddling with cold compresses, drinking juice and watching The Wiggles.  The doctor said that the virus will run its course, but I am so glad that I can be home to care for him when he needs me most.

All in all, it was a great first week and I look forward to seeing what this coming week has to bring.  It would also be awesome if Jack’s fever went away quickly.

3 Years

Today, Chris and I are celebrating our 3 year anniversary.  Three full years of laughs, tears, milestones, a baby and lots of memories.

I still wake up and when I look over, I still thank God that I have such a wonderful husband and father for Jack.  He is kind, thoughtful, soft spoken, calm and unbelieveably handsome.  I can still recall pinching myself on our wedding day to make sure that it was true.

Chris is off to work and I am waiting for news that will hopefully change our lives again for the better.  More to come on that in a later post.  I don’t want to jinx anything.

Tonight, we have plans of catching a movie and having a nice dinner while Grammy babysits for Jack.  Nothing too out of the ordinary, but perfect for us to be able to spend time together and celebrate the day that we made it all official.

Chris and I on our wedding day

Sidenote: I do have many, many more photos from our wedding, but unfortunately, they are on the photographer’s CD’s that are at the house in Philly, so this is what I have for now.  😉

Easter Celebration

This Easter has been the most special Easter that I have ever experienced.  Since September, Chris has been taking classes at our Church and finally became a Roman Catholic last night.  It has been a long process for him of classes, mass each weekend, retreats, meetings, and more.  He made the decision solely on his own, and I have to say that I could not be any more proud of him.

So proud of him!

Saturday was another day filled with errands, building with blocks and slowly preparing for the Easter Vigil mass at 8pm.

Upon our arrival to the Church, the entire parking lot was full.  There was not a space left, and it was only a half hour until mass started!

There was a full choir and partial orchestra of trumpets, horns, drums, bells and chimes who accompanied the mass and it was by far some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.  We had decided to leave Jack at home with a babysitter because of how late the mass was and how long it was.  (Best decision ever.)

Mass began with the baptismal candle being lit and from it, each parishoner lit a small candle and held it for the beginning of mass.  There is nothing like a Church lit in the evening by candlelight.  The singing, the music, the readings, everything was absolutely remarkable.  I had chills from the music, the songs and from the entire experience.

I went up with Chris and his sponsor, Randy and stood as his Godmother as he was baptized and confirmed.  I draped him in cloth, held his baptismal candle and rested my hand on his shoulder as he was blessed with his Confirmation name.  My mother cried as he received communion for the first time while I was choking back my tears as he was being baptized.  He was beaming with each sacrament he received.

A standing ovation following the sacraments and the mass for the catechumens and the candidates followed by many kind words by the parishioners to welcome him into the Church.  Such an honor to see the entire process come full circle.

Following the mass, we enjoyed some refreshments with the other newly baptized Catholics and members of the church.

Chris, Randy and Fr. Lapera

The entire process was just a wonderful experience and I am so proud of Chris!!!

On Easter Sunday, we got a lazy start because we didn’t have to attend mass in the morning, but the turkey went in the oven early, so we awoke to smells of fresh cooking turkey and stuffing.  (Yum!)

Jack's Easter Basket

Jack found his Easter basket and immediately fell in love with his lamb and the Little People that he found in the basket.  The Easter Bunny knows him well!  His Grandparents in California sent him bubbles and a bubble gun which he absolutely love.  One thing that Jack adores is bubbles!!!

Going through his basket

Presents from Pop Pop and Grandma

We got him dressed and let him play and run outside for a bit before nap time and unfortunately, he fell and got his first scrape on his knee.  No tears though.  Such a brave boy!

Exploring nature

He has two speeds: Fast & Faster

The scrape 😦

After dinner, we had a little Easter egg hunt indoors because of the rain that started shortly before noon and Jack loved opening each egg and eating the Happy Baby puffs that were in each egg.  A few had candy, but Mommy and Daddy ate those because Jack is not eating chocolate yet.

Jack's Easter Egg Hunt

So handsome!

Just a wonderful and fun day with my family!  I couldn’t ask for more!

Happy Easter from our Family to Yours!

Fun with Daddy

As was previously mentioned, I had an AWFUL stomach thing over the weekend and into Monday, which prevented me from doing anything other than laying down, sleeping and begging Jesus to come down from the cross and just to let me die already.  Definitely not something that I would wish on anyone.

So, Daddy was essentially a single parent for the weekend.

He made light of it by spending time playing with Jack, taking him for walks, bringing toys outside, bubbles, etc…  For me, it was great to see the two of them just have some one-on-one time.

Getting ready to go

Heading out

On the move

Jack REALLY wanted to play on his new tricycle from Aunt Colleen