The Story of Her {yes, HER!}

Oh my, y’all, this month has FLOWN by! I’m sure it’s because she’s a newborn, the holidays, the three others I have at home, and the sleep deprivation…but still, it feels like just yesterday I was still miserably pregnant and itching to get her out and now she is here, smiling (yes! first intentional smile yesterday!) and cooing and completely oblivious to all the craziness around her.

november 13. one week old_0003_edited-1

If you’ll indulge me I would like to share her birth story. I make a picture book for each child detailing their entrance into the world and putting it on the blog gives me the push to actually get on with it and not wait around until she’s six months old like I did with Lawson.

On Halloween my OB told me he would take her at 39 weeks and gave me the date of Monday, November 6th. (What’s random is that MM’s birthday is 1/8/9 (1 + 8 = 9) and Bonnie’s birthday is 11/6/17 (11 + 6 = 17)…how crazy is that?!)

That weekend it was a mad dash getting the house 90% ready for Christmas, packing the other three kiddos’ bags, and making sure to do one last thing as a family of five (corn maze…lordy!).

On Monday at 5:30 we arrived at the hospital to meet our delivery surprise. I’m not sure if you can see our stickers but his says “Team Pink” (he said it was a girl from the beginning) and mine said “Team Blue” (I’ve thought all four were boys!).

They took us right back and I got ready. What’s so strange and surreal about a planned c-section is that you don’t feel like you should be having a baby–your body (and baby) are just having another day and then boom! baby is out and the whole postpartum thing starts (I started producing colostrum within six hours of a planned c-csection–that’s pretty cool for my body if I don’t say so myself to go from growing a baby to nourishing a baby so quickly!).

We watched the news for a bit (a record breaking temperature day) and then it was time to be wheeled back and get my spinal block. You know how they make you sit down and lean forward to get a spinal block or epidural? Well, my yoga has made me so flexible that when they told me to lean forward I put my head all the way down between my ankles they told me I bent over too far–something they’ve never told a pregnant woman, HA! (Another random bit: I taught the anesthesiologist’s two daughters years ago and now they are both grown women. #iamold)

I had messaged one of my high school friends earlier in the week asking if she was working the morning of my c-section since she is a L&D supervisor at the hospital. She said that, no, she was getting off right as I was getting there, but that she would stay with me and take pictures for me in the OR. That was the sweetest gesture to stay a couple of hours after her shift ended just to give me some photos of my baby coming out since photographers aren’t allowed in the OR and I really can’t thank her enough (but I’ll try one more time: thank you, Katie!).

Now, of course nothing with me goes as planned. My blood sugar was very low (55, oops) and my blood pressure would dip dangerously low the whole time (90s/50s) so I was having to get lots of meds to bring it up or I felt like I was going to puke/pass out (with MM I had the opposite problem, my BP got up to 240/170!). And then there’s the whole having a c-section-after-a-tummy-tuck which took almost three times as long as my other two c-sections and was a bit more, uhm, intense.

november 6. bonnie birth_0005_edited-1

november 6. bonnie birth_0007_edited-1

And then we hear the words we’d be anxiously waiting to hear, “It’s a…” followed by

GIRL!

Now, I’m going to be honest, even though I was “Team Boy” I kinda knew it was a girl. You see, from the very beginning Mary Margaret was 100% positive she was getting a sister. She even said, “I was the only one praying for a baby. Every day I’ve been praying for a sister and God won’t let me down.” And y’all, when someone says that…well, you believe them. So when they told us it was a girl we both just smiled and said, ‘Good!’ (I’m sure we were the most unsurprised delivery surprise parents they’ve ever encountered!)

She was born at 8:28am and weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 20.5″ long (so NOT the 99th percentile baby (in weight) they kept saying I was going to have, but she was quite long considering how squished she was in there with my muscle repair).

november 6. bonnie birth_0021_edited-1

november 6. bonnie birth_0030_edited-1

Within five minutes or so we knew something was a little off even though her APGAR scores were 9 at one minute and five minutes because she was grunting–just like her big brother did. All babies have fluid in their lungs (since they’re living in it) but it gets pushed out in a vaginal delivery so when you have a planned c-sections and no contractions and no pushing/baby in birth canal, many babies have fluid in their lungs and grunt. So they put her on oxygen and told us they were going to take her to the NICU for observation. Thankfully her daddy got to hold her hand for a second and I got to catch a glimpse of her.

november 6. bonnie birth_0034_edited-1

november 6. bonnie birth_0041_edited-1

november 6. bonnie birth_0054_edited-1

november 6. bonnie birth_0051_edited-1

I went to recovery for a few hours {stayed two hours longer than planned because of blood pressure issues} while C. took our family to visit her in the NICU…but not our kids. Because it’s RSV season children under 12 aren’t allowed in the NICU  and to say MM was crushed was an understatement. She had waited nine long months (her whole life even?) for a sister and to be kept from her, oh my, she cried and cried.

After a few hours I was wheeled into the NICU on the way to my room so I could look at my baby for a few minutes. It felt so surreal, but familiar in a way, to finally see the baby that had been growing inside of me.

After twelve hours they removed my catheter and C. wheeled me down to the NICU. We weren’t allowed to hold her just yet so we just sat & stared at her (and couldn’t get over how much she looked like MM!).

At the twenty-four mark I was allowed to shower (I’d already been walking up a storm since my catheter was removed–I can heal from a c-section like no one’s business! And let me just tell you, I felt better (so much better!) 24 hours after my c-section than I did the last four months of pregnancy. The pain and pressure of a pregnancy after a tummy tuck is awful) and then I headed back to the NICU in hopes of being able to hold her. I was thrilled when the doctor allowed me to hold her for about an hour (but just once that day).

november 7. bonnie nicu_0009_edited-1

november 7. bonnie nicu_0007_edited-1

It was so hard to put her down when my hour was up. We would go back down every couple of hours and sit by her side and just stare at her. She did great while in the NICU–blood sugar was perfect {always a concern when a mom has gestational diabetes no matter how well controlled} and she was on (forced) room air and tolerating that too. I brought 132mL of frozen colostrum with me to the hospital and started pumping and getting more at six hours. She “ate” through a feeding tube for the first two days and every feed was my milk (I think she took only 3 or 4 ounces of formula the whole time we were at the hospital which is great for a mom who has had a breast reduction) and left the hospital only 1/2 an ounce under birth weight (another huge deal).

This is one of my first pumps after delivery. Considering it took 36 hours for even a drop to come out for Lawson I was on cloud nine.

At the 48 hour mark we were allowed to hold her whenever we wanted (C.’s first time!) and I was allowed to breastfeed.

november 8. bonnie nursing_0001_edited-1

That evening (so 60 hours old) they moved her to the step down NICU and took her off her IV and breathing tubes. MM still couldn’t hold her but we were allowed to walk her to the door of the little step down room and she got to glimpse inside while the nurse held up her sister. MM just cried. Which of course made me cry.

The next afternoon (she had to be in the step down NICU for 24 hours without oxygen or feeding tube; she was now 3.5 days old by this point) she was moved into our room which felt so surreal (I feel like this whole post I keep saying it, but it’s true) to finally be able to take care of my baby on my own and put little clothes on her.

I don’t think we put her down!

november 9. mm meeting bonnie_0005_edited-1

november 10. 11. bonnie coming home. day 1_0016_edited-1

…well, except to take a picture or two! 😉

november 10. 11. bonnie coming home. day 1_0010_edited-1

That evening we had Mom bring MM by. We didn’t tell her that her sister had been released from the NICU a few hours earlier and had her laying in her bassinet as MM walked in. I think you can tell how MM felt about it. (Their matching shirts say “Besties for the restie”)

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november 9. mm meeting bonnie_0014_edited-1

The following afternoon, four-and-a-half long days after checking in, we were discharged. We walked our girl out to our car on a beautiful fall afternoon. It felt perfect.

november 10. 11. bonnie coming home. day 1_0022_edited-1

We made it home just in time for the oldest two to get off the bus (Moseby ran down the street towards us with the biggest smile on his face and screaming, ‘My baby sister is home! My baby sister is home!’) and Lawson came home shortly after. Her brothers were head over heels in love with her and there’s been much arguing over who gets to hold her first.

november 10. 11. bonnie coming home. day 1_0025_edited-1

november 10. 11. bonnie coming home. day 1_0026_edited-1

november 10. 11. bonnie coming home. day 1_0024_edited-1

And even though her birth didn’t go as planned and we had to stay in the hospital an extra day or two, I wouldn’t change a thing. She fits in perfectly and now that she’s here it feels like we were missing something before she arrived and now we are complete.

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So what’s her name?

Bonnie because it means “beautiful baby”. Grace after my grandmother, Mama Grace Harris, who made this world a beautiful place to live with her flowers and her loving heart for everyone she met. Who made me her granddaughter even though we weren’t related by our blood, or some legal papers, or even our skin color—it was our hearts that were intertwined—and my, how I miss her every day! Nuel is after my great aunt, Nuel Brown Melton, who passed away the week before Bonnie was born. She made this world a beautiful place to live with her sharp wit and love of family. I know our Bonnie will make this world a beautiful, and better, place to live as well and that is why we chose to give this little baby such a long (but beautiful) name as well.

And sweet Bonnie, you have our hearts and we are all wrapped around your little finger.

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One Response to The Story of Her {yes, HER!}

  1. Jane December 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    This is such a beautiful story. May God continue to bless your family.

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