Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Year Reflection

Brand New With Her Halter Monitor
A year ago yesterday, I was anxiously waiting to see if my baby girl was going to arrive. The 13th of December was her due date and all I could think about was meeting this precious baby girl. When the 13th drew to a close, I waited through the 14th. And then the 15th. And then I started eating pizza because my mom ate pizza the day I was born. And still she did not come. And then the 16th. On the 18th I met with my midwife and she determined that I wasn't even far enough along to do a "stretch and sweep". Those mere words make me want to gag. On that Saturday, we decided that we would go ahead with an induction on the 20th so that we could finally meet our darling angel. So on the evening of the 18th, I bounced on a exercise gym ball in hopes that it would encourage my little girl to descend. We wanted her to come naturally but she had other plans. On the 19th, I made sure every little thing was in its place. I finished any last minute projects I had going. I walked and walked and walked my poor swollen feet that had grown a shoe size and up in width in hopes that again, our little girl would descend. But she decided to wait. On the evening of the 19th, I lay on my bed and listened to soothing music, wrote a letter to our daughter who I would meet the following day and spent a significant amount of time in prayer. On the night of the 19th, I barely slept a wink. I tried so hard knowing that I would go through the most physically demanding thing I had ever experienced in just a few short hours, but sleep evaded me. On the morning of the 20th, I was up before 6 am to call the hospital to see if there was space for us for the induction. They happily informed that yes, indeed there was room. And in that excited moment on the phone with a complete stranger, I saw myself in the mirror smile on the biggest smile because I knew that I would be meeting my daughter that day.


One Month Old

The following few days were a blur. I spent much more time in the hospital than ever anticipated. The thought of a normal delivery were out the window when a c-section was determined to be the safest course of delivery for our babe. It was thought that our darling daughter was going to be a giant sized baby but in fact she had flipped inside the womb and was in fact, a breech baby. I had been doing back labor, naturally, for a few hours and there was no way our baby was coming without the aid of a surgeon. My sweet husband knew that he would not make it in the operating room and with tears said he couldn't go in. I was strong in that moment and knew that he couldn't do it. It wasn't a matter of wouldn't - it was couldn't. With my midwife by my side we headed into the operating room. What seemed like an eternity later brought the most joyous noise ever. A cry. I almost didn't realize it at first. But my midwife, Meghan, said "Do you hear that? It's your daughter." And it was. And my breath caught in my throat. She was hear. And she was small. She wasn't a giant baby. She was less than eight pounds. While the doctors and nurses were taking bets on how big she would be, she threw them all with her tiny body. And she made them all laugh when she peed three times as they were trying to swaddle her. That's my girl. Very healthy movements.


Two Months Old


I spent three nights and four days in the hospital. One our second day in the hospital, my precious child turned a shade of blueish purple that literally would make your blood turn cold. She spent the next 12 hours in the NICU for observation. My heart broke as I saw her tiny little body in her "Giraffe" warmer. This precious person that I barely new but yet was my constant companion for 41 weeks. My heart almost stopped beating it hurt so much. When they placed her in my arms to nurse her we struggled so hard. Both inexperienced, both new, both not knowing the how even though I had been taught it in a class. We tried little tubes and tiny bottles of infant formula and we prayed and prayed that she would latch. And through tears she eventually did. Nursing was a battle that would be an intense struggle for two weeks until we learned a technique that made everything click. And now a year later, as this nursing relationship draws to a close, I sit back and marvel at how far we came.


Three Months Old

We finally left the hospital on the 23rd. A tiny halter monitor strapped to my tiny little baby. It would monitor the hole in her heart for 24 hours. On Christmas Eve we would return the monitor. It was determined that there was nothing significant in the report but she would be under observation for a year. Christmas Eve I gave my girl my all even though I was barely making it myself. Somehow I pulled myself together for a Christmas Eve bash at our home - well, my in laws home - but our temporary dwelling as our house was being renovated. A year later we are still here, still waiting for the house to be finished. On Christmas Eve, I struggled to get my daughter to latch. For a couple of hours we tried. And we were failing. Nothing was working. Nothing. And at 1 am I sobbed as I handed my precious daughter to my mother-in-law and said "I don't know what to do." I finally broke. The whirl and emotion of the past few days had finally hit me like a ton of bricks and as I desperately tried to feed my child, and realized that I couldn't, I broke. I called my midwife in tears and could barely speak I was crying so hard. She offered to come to the house to help me  but said I could also supplement with formula. And we did. And my sweet baby was happy. And it was that night that my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws formed "The Night Shift".



Four Months Old


I was blessed to marry into a family of night owls. I am not one. Shane really isn't one either but it's not uncommon for cleaning, or eating, or TV watching, or web surfing, or heart felt talks to happen midnight and beyond. And that heart breaking Christmas Eve, The Night Shift was born. One of my husband's sisters suffers from insomnia so it was not uncommon to find her awake at 6 am. Or 7 am - having not slept the night before. And those desperate nights that I could not get my mixed-up daughter to sleep, the Night Shift would take her and love her and hold her and bond with her and eventually put her to sleep. They would creep into our room, late at night, and put her to bed. And she would sleep late into the morning. And it was sanity for me. It was what got me through. And one day, I will return that favor. It's a gift that I wish I could give all moms. It truly was how I got through.


Five Months Old

Christmas Day was another overwhelming day. Not as overwhelming as the day before but it was emotional, non-the-less. We received a card with a check inside for $2000 from an amazing family friend. We were blessed with great Christmas gifts. And I spent most of the day with my precious daughter laying on my chest, skin-to-skin, in our bed with "Beauty and the Beast" playing on repeat in the background. We slept. We bonded. We loved one another.


Six Months Old

And day by day, it got easier. We still had many challenges. The day after Christmas we were back into the hospital because Aubrey was turning blue again. After some testing, it was determined that she suffered from "acrosynosis" a condition in which ones extremities turn blue. At least we had answers. A few months later we were back at the hospital for a sonogram on our daughter's head because she had a hamangioma that grew out of nowhere. They wanted to make sure that it wasn't growing down into her brain. And it wasn't. Thank God.


Seven Months Old

In six short days, my sweet girl will turn a year old. It's hard to believe that we will be turning a page of her life. It's bittersweet. I know we will be saying goodbye to some wonderful times and moments and that I know I will desperately miss snuggling her as a baby. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how big she is getting. But at the same time, I am excited for the next year. What will it hold? Soon she will be walking. And running. And saying words. And sentences. And learning her colors, her numbers and her shapes. To think of where we will be this time next year blows my mind. Some days I feel like I need a badge as a Mom. We made it. We got through. We've made it a year!



Eight Months Old

*Aubrey Faith - we've called upon our faith so many times in the raising of you. May we continue to always call upon the Lord in regards to raising you. May we be the parents you need to shape your precious mind and heart. May we be the parents to love you unconditionally and may we always point you back to Him who loves you even more than we do. You are the best thing that has ever happened to us sweet girl.*


Nine Months Old


Ten Months Old

Eleven Months Old


3 comments:

morrest1101 said...

So beautiful Mandi!
I had back labor with Gunner and it was the worst part of labor. And with both kiddos I nursed, but daddy always gave a bottle of formula to the babies at bedtime so he could bond with them too. I Honestly, I think it helped my kids to sleep all night (from 4 weeks with Gunner and 5 days with Layken) because formula keeps them fuller. How blessed you were to have "the night shift".
So glad that everything with Aubry worked out so well. She's a beautiful baby doll.

Can't wait to see her birthday party pictures.

Simply Domestic said...

What a beautiful little girl! Our youngest girl's middle name is Faith, too!

Jennifer said...

This was such a beautiful post, and it brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you put this together. It breaks my heart we were all so far away while all this was happening and feel so grateful to be Aubrey's aunt. I can't wait to see you guys at Christmas!

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