Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2014 With Aria

The second half of 2014 was amazing, to say the least. Aria turned out to be very good at going for adventures right from the get-go.

She did very well at her first few doctors appointments. She was a nice, big, healthy baby that was always high in the percentile charts and we were happy with that.

She slept better than I expected a newborn to sleep in the beginning and I found that very helpful especially because Casey had to go out of town within a week of us coming home from the hospital. Talk about sink or swim! We were so thankful to have so much family nearby. Between my mom, Casey's mom and my sister in laws, I never felt too overwhelmed while Casey was gone. I even got some assistance with her first bath at home!

Shortly after Casey got home, we planned Aria's "newborn" photoshoot with the amazing "Blyss Photography".

That week was the first time I noticed that she seemed to be struggling pretty consistently. She seemed somewhat colicky but she didn't fit the textbook definition of colic. The photo session was a lot more difficult than we expected and she seemed very uncomfortable. We still got ADORABLE pictures and I told myself that there are bad days and good days as a parent and that the next day would be better.

Aria's first holiday came so quickly. We went to the mall, watched the fireworks in the bed of the work truck and came home. Aria takes after her parents and really enjoyed the fireworks. We were so proud.

On the drive home from the mall, in terrible/typical holiday traffic, Aria screamed and cried herself into having a scary, difficult time breathing. It was so not like the personality we could see that Aria had and it seemed to come out of nowhere. We didn't know what to do. We felt so helpless. Again, we told ourselves there were good days and bad days but something was also a little off.

A few nights later, I woke up in the middle of the night shortly after putting her back down to bed (not a normal time for me to feel the need to wake up) and felt a strong feeling that I needed to wake up and check on Aria who slept in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. I looked over to the most terrifying sight. Aria was awake, on her back, wide eyed and silently choking/gagging with her airs flailing all over. I was suddenly very alert and awake and jumped into action. This happened twice in the hospital and they just told me it was nothing and showed me what to do. The second time it happened in the hospital I was alone and not quite able to move as quickly and I yelled for the nurses help and the nurse was able to get her breathing again.

This time, I was home with no professional help and I credit the Lord with being able to somehow get Aria breathing again. As I grabbed her, flipped her on her stomach in my arms, hit her back, and suctioned her mouth, I yelled for Casey to get up and help me. I feared the worst and prayed to get through this moment that seemed to last forever. The doctor had told me that anything once is okay. I told myself that as a mantra that night as I held her for the rest of the night. The next day, we had a small repeat of her choking episode and I rushed Aria to her doctor. I knew something was not right.

I was told when Aria was born that she was just a "spitty baby" and that she would grow out of it eventually. Turned out she had blood in her stool caused by an allergy to something I was eating. I was put on a strict diet. I was no longer to eat soy, dairy, eggs, nuts or fish. That seemed to do the trick and Aria began showing signs of improvement within two weeks with no more scary episodes and our cheery Princess Aria was back.

Also during that time, we were remodeling our house. Our goal was to have it done by the time we blessed Aria in August which we pulled off by the skin of our teeth. During the remodel, I was typically kicked out of the house with Aria so I took her on little field trips all the time. To the mall, to the hair salon and to visit my co-workers. We got really good at going out just the two of us real fast.

Once the house was finished, family started coming in for Aria's blessing day. Right before her Sunday, we took her to the beach for the first time.

Aria's blessing day was beautiful. We had our gorgeous new home filled with our friends and family to meet and celebrate Aria's blessing day.

August also marked the anniversary of our first date. It was so cool to go back to our first date seven years later with our daughter. It felt like Aria had been with us all seven years.
In September we went on our first trip as a family to San Diego. We stayed with my grandparents in Temecula and went to the Mormon Battalion Museum in Downtown San Diego. We had planned a longer trip but Aria had a rare bad night and something came up with Casey's work (when it rains it pours, right?)  so we cut the trip short. We learned a lot about traveling with Aria and it only got easier from there. We did a lot more day trips with her and just enjoyed having her around.

October was fun. We did Casey's birthday party which was so much fun. I through him a C Part/Chili Cook Off. Then we took Aria to Lake Mead for the first time which was super fun! She did great on the boat and didn't hate the water.

When we got back we had some more fun firsts. We did Aria's first trip to a football game (GO HART INDIANS) and first time at the movie theaters (Meet the Mormons).

Aria got to meet her new cousin Maisie when Garrett, Julie and Greadon brought her down for her baby blessing. It was obvious that that was the perfect time to take the kids to Disneyland for the first time. Aria is obviously my daughter because she LOVED Disneyland...and Maisie of course. 

Then it was time to do Halloween in full swing. Being a dad made Casey a better sport and he went full out in his costume and even admittedly had a good time doing so. Halloween is my favorite season because it marks the beginning of "The Holidays" and Casey and I were so excited to soak in the true spirit of the holidays through the eyes of our daughter. 

November was my mom's birthday so Aria and I decided to take her downtown for a girls day. We went to the flower mart, the jewelry mart and lunch all downtown. 

We also celebrated Ashley's birthday followed by Aria's first Thanksgiving. We did a trip to Temecula to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents and Whitney and Dennis and my dad. Once we got home we went into full swing to prepare for Aria's first Christmas with a break stop between Thanksgiving and Christmas to celebrate Alyssa graduation Nursing School. 

The holidays are so much better with a baby! We went to Disneyland for our Christmas Card photo because, well why not? Everything was magical from getting our Christmas tree, Meeting Santa, looking at lights and getting Aria's "First Christmas" ornament. Santa came to our house and spoiled Aria. Whitney announced on Christmas morning that she and Dennis were pregnant which was the best gift of the year. 

New Years Eve we did a little tiny party with the family up at Cody and Lauren's house and we braced ourselves for 2015.  Aria woke up 5 minutes before midnight to ring in the new year with us and we wouldn't have had it any other way. That night was the last night Aria slept in our room. 2015 would be when our baby started growing up. 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Here Comes Baby

Disclaimer: This is a birth story and may contain TMI.

On June 5th, two days before my due date, I went to the doctor for a checkup with the notion that I was going to be told it was "go time" any minute and left after being told the exact opposite. The last week had been so difficult. I wasn't sleeping, I was hot, huge and uncomfortable and I was walking 2-3 times a day. I could feel baby as if she was trying to kick through my belly button and knew she was fully cooked and ready to come out. So imagine my disappointment when Dr. Navi tells me that I'm showing no good signs of progress and that, even though that could change at any moment, baby was staying put. He scheduled me for a NST at the hospital on my due date, June 7th. I left his office and started crying. Raging hormones, lack of sleep, fear, excitement; baby needed to come and soon.

The night before my due date, Friday June 6, and my spirits are low. Casey and I decide to go partake in a Labor Inducing Urban Legend. We went to a little restaurant in Studio City called Caioti Pizza Cafe. We had to order "The Salad" which is famously known to help desperate pregnant women kickstart labor. After ordering, I was given a little journal where I got to write a little note and read a bunch of sweet notes of other women in my shoes. Even if the salad wouldn't help me, reading notes from all these women really helped me feel less alone, less like the beached whale I was feeling like. It also helped that the salad was DELICIOUS!

Saturday morning rolls around and I kept saying I didn't have high hopes, but how could I not? It was my due date and I was going to the hospital.

The NST went by without any excitement. Fluid levels were good and my contractions were VERY few and far between; nothing I could feel at all. I left happy that baby was okay, my nerves were calmed but I was still very disappointed. I had felt that baby was ready to come for almost two weeks at this point. We left the hospital calling it a good dress  rehearsal and went home to walk until baby's arrival.
There were only a few hours left in my due date and i felt my first contractions of my pregnancy. It was very exciting and nervous because i had never even had Braxton Hicks contractions so I had nothing to gauge myself on. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and knew there was a good chance that meeting baby wasn't too far away.

I had contractions all through the night and finally fell asleep in the early morning. When my alarm went off for church on June 8th, I had no energy to go. My contractions had backed off for the most part during the day and anticipating the big show to start I spent the day resting. Casey and I went for a walk once it cooled down outside and it didn't last very long because the contractions were back and they were good and strong. I got home, downloaded a contraction tracking app and braced myself. The contractions lasted all through the night and never really eased up. I also had blood and got really nervous and I made my first call to the hospital. The nurse on the other end of the phone assured me that my blood was normal and that I was not having my contractions close enough to come in so i should just try and rest as much as i could and eat something before i come in. When the contractions hit the close time frame my doctor gave me, i hopped in the shower just in case and boy am I glad i did.

The sun rose on Monday June 9th and Casey was scheduled to drive out to Santa Barbara for a job and I was forced to make a decision. I didn't want to keep him from work for no reason and based on how my contractions dissipated on Sunday, I didn't know what to do and to be honest, I was way too sleep deprived to think it through. While we were talking it over, i had a storm of contractions and the decision was made for me, it was time to go. I notified Dr. Navi and the hospital that we were on our way and we loaded up and left the house as a twosome for the last time.

 I had a few contractions on the way there and that made me feel better even though they were hurting worse and worse, at least I didn't feel like it was a waste to go to the hospital again. We got to the hospital around 9 am. After five hours of contractions and exams, I had my epidural around 2:30 PM and absolutely loved it.

Getting the epidural is probably my favorite "chapter" of our labor story. Between contractions at one point a nurse mentioned that if i wanted an epidural i would have to give them about 45 minutes notice so they could get the anesthesiologist there. Each contraction i would be like, i think I'm good but during a rather painful couple of contractions and during one particularly painful one I, through gritted teeth, "kindly" told my nurse it was time to call for the epidural. I believe I used the word "now" (My apologies for what I may have said while in labor). So a little more than 45 minutes later (not that i noticed ;) ) Our friend the anesthesiologist came with his handy-dandy tray and began to get things ready for the "good stuff".

Then came the good part. It's almost a shame to write it down because Casey tells it so well but I'll try to do it justice.

The nurse looked at Casey with a very serious look on her face and asked "Are you planning on staying in here for this". Of course he had not even considered leaving and this question threw him off a little and he said, "Yeah." "Okay. You will sit there" said the nurse, with a stern, serious tone. Casey sat exactly where she pointed and the nurse then stood square in front of me, both hands on my shoulders. She told me not to move, flinch or gasp. She told me she would talk through my breaths with me and everything would go alright. Now i had always known I wanted an epidural and I had no fears about the needle in my back. Some people may disagree with my choice but I was confident in the doctors and had already planned to follow any and all directions the medical staff gave me (to a point of course). So I was a bit taken aback by how serious and firm the nurse was being. It was not rude at all but it was a bit like the overly serious security guards at the mall. I did as I was told and sat with the nurse exactly as she said. The anesthesiologist began his work. The entire time he was at work, Casey later told me, that the nurse did not blink or take her eyes off of Casey for one second. He said it was scary and that she looked as if she was ready to take him down if he even shifted his body a little. I understand the spine is a delicate and important thing but I had no idea it was going to go like that. Either way, it makes for a great story. I'm so glad the nurses took such good care of me, even if it meant them treating Casey like a bit of a criminal. :)

So the first try getting the needle in didn't go so well. Something back there burst and they had to try again. Not to mention i had another crazy contraction in the middle of everything so they had to stop halfway and wait for me to be in control again. The second time around they got everyone in and Casey was finally allowed to stop holding his breath. Pretty soon i was telling the anesthesiologist how much i loved him and that he was welcome to hang out in my room any time. The happy juice definitely made me a much nicer person.

Shortly after the epidural, Ashley came by to put a braid in my hair and get it out of the way. It wasn't long after that that the effects of the epidural fully kicked in i took a much needed nap and slept through at least a handful of good contractions. I woke up for another check up and they broke my water which again was very exciting. Unfortunately there was Meconium in the fluid so we would have to keep an eye on things.

Around dinner time, my dad got to the hospital from Fresno. Late in the evening I got checked again and I was progressing nicely. Around 11 PM, it was time to push, which was nice because I liked the sound of June 10th for a birthday, if i had to pick.

Pushing, in the beginning, was a happy and exciting task. I was so excited to work to get my baby here. I listened to my amazing nurse and she really talked me through each contraction. I really didn't want anyone "too close" when I was pushing. Eventually Casey would be holding one leg while my mom held the other hoping their help would help "push" things along.

This is where it gets fuzzy. About three hours into pushing things were a lot less exciting. I was getting very tired and baby was not making much progress at all. I was very weak and had begun throwing up after pushing. The nurse said she could touch her but she kept moving back up between contractions. We tried some different pushing positions and nothing was working. At some point I started blacking out between contractions only to wake up for the next contraction, holler at my "assistants" to get back in position holding my legs and get back to work. After four hours, Dr. Navi came in with a serious look on his face.

Let me flash back to my last appointment with him when we discussed in detail my "birth plan". I told him that I had a very relaxed birth plan with one highlighted and bolded note: I would not ever, ever ever be okay with a C-Section. He understood and said he respected my decision. When he walked into my room in the early hours of June 10th, he looked disappointed and nervous. He held my hand and said that the baby wasn't making progress and my body wasn't handling the stress very well. I started crying and told him I didn't want a C-Section. I don't want to go into this part too much but after a lengthy conversation with my doctor, a private conversation with Casey and our parents and a prayer, we knew we had to get our daughter out safely. Casey gave me a special blessing and I was ready.

I later found out that the nurses told my doctor a few hours into pushing that the baby was not coming out vaginally. He told them to keep trying and that I would not do a C-Section. It was difficult but it was my plan. I'm thankful for him standing up for me and my birth plan even though it didn't go my way.

I was prepped and wheeled into the OR.

It took them a while to get me properly numb. it felt like forever until they let Casey come in.  I remember asking over and over "Where is my husband? I need him". Once Casey changed into his sexy scrubs (no joke, he looked so hot) he comforted me and stood by my side. I shed silent tears and shook on the table with my arms spread out from my side. I was terrified but I knew in my heart that it was time for baby to come. The whole experience was not nearly as unpleasant as i expected. The only negative thing i remember was the smell of burning flesh in the beginning, but that didn't last very long.

Casey was told by the anesthesiologist that he could look and watch them pull baby out. He told me later that he looked over and could see what looked like insides on my belly and Dr. Navi's hands inside my belly. He was tugging (what seemed) very hard, she was stuck both ways. He finally pulled her loose. Casey talks about her head popping out suddenly. She wasn't all wiggly like we expected a baby to be, she was solid. She was a bit purple, he says, they finally tugged the rest of her out of my belly, set her down on me, wiped her off quickly and did some quick, routine checks on her, and casey cut the cord.

I remember all the nurses in the room talking about how big she was. They were all taking guesses at what her weight was. Someone guessed 8. Another person guessed, "at least 8.5". They weighed and were all shocked and excited when it said 9.00. BIG BABY!

They asked for her name and we told them "Aria Lynn Evans". It was nice to finally confirm the name we knew in our hearts was our little princess. They did a quick swaddle and handed her off to Daddy. I wanted to hold her but i was too shaky and weak so they laid her on me and i put my hands on her.

I told her how much i loved her and that I was so glad to meet her. Casey and Aria left the OR while they cleaned me up and put me back together. I was told that they would meet me in recovery. It was the longest half hour of my life. They finally brought me into the recovery room and I was reunited with my new favorite human.

Casey's parents and my parents came into the recovery room and we introduced them to Aria. We had kept the name under tight secrecy so they were looking forward to the news. It was really early in the morning and it had been a very long night so everyone gave Aria love and their congratulations to Casey and me and they left. I was wheeled into my room and reality set in... We were officially parents and we were on our own.

I spent the rest of the week in the hospital and was not released until released friday evening. I had to figure out walking again which was a lot harder than I had expected. Casey was amazing and really had to carry the weight of parenthood on his own for a few days while i got out of my surgery haze.

We had many visitors and it wasn't really a bad experience having to be in the hospital for so long, minus the fact that they kept poking and prodding at Aria. There were a few moments when they wanted to take her to the NICU but Heavenly Father heard our prayers and she finally started showing the results they wanted and they finally left her alone. Apparently they were worried about her glucose levels because she was such a big baby. Took a few days for Aria to show them levels they were okay with.

We were pretty nervous to go home but after being kept in a tiny room for so long, our home felt HUGE. There were natural difficulties that come with learning to be a parent but for the most part we settled into being Aria's parents at home instantly. We only had a few days before Casey had to leave for a business trip so we were up and running. Hadn't we always been parents? Hadn't Aria always been apart of our lives?

Arias Coming Home Outfit
Aria Lynn Evans
born 4:11 AM, June 10, 2014  9.00 Lbs 21 Inches 

Welcome to the world!