Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Dear Aiwyn,
We have been getting a lot of people asking us if you ever open your eyes. Of course you open your eyes. You also take after your Mama and like to sleep.... a lot. But, you're a growing baby and need to sleep. Most of our pictures of you are of you sleeping peacefully. We try to snap pictures of you when you are awake, but either you close your eyes by the time we grab the camera or it's night time and we don't like to use the flash (it's so harsh in pictures). Today we were able to get some great pictures of you wide eyed.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birthday Tribute

Dear Aiwyn,
Today I had my 3 week postpartum checkup. It was more to make sure I didn't have any pain or postpartum depression. That's a negative on both. My OB/Gyn office is small (one of the reason's I chose them) and has 2 doctors, 1 midwife, and 1 nurse practitioner. Everyone working today ooooed and aahhhed over you and all your cuteness. I had your Pops go with me so I could bring you and he had you in the sling. All the women thought it was so adorable. And it is always adorable when you are held by your Pops, sling or no sling.

Dr.Graham is the newest doctor in the practice and we only got to see her twice during the pregnancy and she was the one who delivered you. Honestly, I was a little worried since I didn't have as long of a doctor/patient relationship with her as I did with Dr. Larrimore and Patty (the midwife). But in reality, Dr. Graham was awesome. She allowed us to stay within our birth plan.



Today she asked if I remembered what was going on when she was delivering you. I told her all I remember is hearing that her 3 year old son locked her 5 year old daughter in a locker. She told me that did happen, but the 3 year old had forgot about it by the time she got home. He told her, "I heard that lady go "AAAAAHHHH!" Dr. Graham told him it was because I was having a baby and she was helping me. He was so impressed he told everyone at school (preschool I assume) that his mom pulls babies out and he heard her helping a lady (I am so proud!). Dr. Graham was also impressed with our 3 day ordeal and how I was still able to deliver vaginally sans epidural. She told me our labor and delivery was a teaching experience for the nursing staff as most hospitals want to do a cesarean after 24 and most definitely after 48 hours of labor. She told me some of the nurses were quite concerned after the 48 hour mark (unbeknown to me). However, you and I were not in distress and there was no need for medical intervention. So, in the process of bringing you into this world we taught a 3 year old a little about babies and the nursing staff that labor and delivery are a natural body process that needs to be left alone until there is a need to intervene.

ME HOLDING YOU IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR BIRTH (if you look closely, you can see my braid... hairstyles by Brian)


Monday, February 23, 2009

3 Weeks Already!

Dear Aiwyn,
Yesterday was your 3 week "birthday." It's hard to believe you have been in our lives three weeks. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that we came home from the hospital and other days it seems like you have always been a part of our lives.

The first two weeks having you outside of the womb was difficult for me. First of all you were not interested in eating ANYTHING the first 3 1/2 days of your life. We were syringe feeding you and you still would let the milk spill out of your mouth. My milk did not come in until the fourth night (despite trying to pump and get it to come in sooner) and when it did you were still not too interested in eating which caused extremely painful engorgement. I think we got you nursing on the 5th day, but you only liked my right side and to be held in the football hold (which I do not like). My left side had a blood clot that made it clogged and finally became unplugged with pumping. I continued to pump to relieve and prevent future engorgement and we decided to stop syringe feeding you. We thought you had to learn to suck somehow and a bottle was better than a syringe.

We also had a lot of doctors appointments the first two weeks. Because you weren't eating your bilirubin levels increased. We saw the doctor 3 times by the time you were two weeks old and we had to take you to the hospital 3 times for bilirubin checks. We also had to have your newborn screening redone as you had an abnormal reading. Your second test came back perfect. Your bilirubin levels have decreased and you have gained weight. At your two week check up you weighed 7 lbs 15 oz and you were still 20 inches long. You gained a whole pound in 11 days. It was now obvious that you were eating! We could also tell you were gaining weight because your fingers were plumping up a little (and not looking so long and skinny!)

If I had a chance to redo your first two weeks, I would limit visitors and phone calls to allow us more time to bond. After about a week, I was brave enough to tell visitors that you could only be held when I gave you up (which was only when I was eating). But your father was the one who really rescued me and asked for no more visitors or phone calls until the end of the week. I think the two of us being together helped you to eat and breastfeed better as well as increase our bond. This has also taught me to control my excitement and allow other new families space before visiting (sorry Chris & Christina and Josh & Marcie). I know everyone had the best of intentions and wanted to welcome you into the world (and kiss those cute chubby cheeks) and we ARE grateful for having such a supportive group of family and friends.

Since being your mom, I've had a few tearful moments. I was upset about you not eating and about your bilirubin level. I've even shed tears in the middle of the night as I'm nursing you and thinking about you growing up. Sometimes I miss having you in my belly. When I was pregnant with you, I always had you with me. I could talk to you or rub you whenever I wanted. I would pat your bottom because it was always poked out on my left side. I still pat your bottom and it calms you. Yet as I type this, you are snuggled up on my chest and I LOVE IT!!! I hope that you always want to cuddle with your Mama even when you're 30 and you have a bad day.



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Four Generations

Dear Aiwyn,
You have had 2 1/2 weeks to visit with your great-grandmother, Nanny. She came to visit and attend your baby shower and stayed through your birth (she actually left on your due date). She lives in St.Louis and we don't get to see her too often. It is always special when we get to spend time together. Nanny was able to hold you when you were only an hour old! She visited often at home and we took her out to a Cuban lunch when you were just a little over a week old. Before she left we made sure to take several family pictures. The first two are pictures of the four generations: Nanny, Grandpa, Mama, and you. Nanny and Grandpa is where your middle name came from- Gray is Nanny's maiden name and Grandpa's middle name. You are carrying on the Gray name another generation (Nanny didn't have any brothers to carry on the family name).

FOUR GENERATIONS (Check out you smile on the 2nd picture)



HAPPY UNCLE (representing Cooley's!)

Now we need to get generation pictures with the rest of the family!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Caterpillar Kisses and Milk Dreams

Dear Aiwyn,
Your Pops and I cannot get enough of you. You get countless kisses every day. Your Pops also likes to give you caterpillar kisses, where he brushes his mustache across you. Surprisingly you enjoy it! Here's you in mid-caterpillar kiss at 10 days old.

You also get quite "drunk" off Mama's milk and pass out with either your mouth making a perfect little "O" or your tongue slightly pressed between your perfect lips. I assume babies dream about their favorite thing.... MILK. This is you at 11 days old "drunk" and having a milk dream.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Your Birth Story

Dear Aiwyn,
Today you are one week old!! A lot has happen in the last two weeks....

First off we had your big baby shower with friends and family about a week before your birth (1/24/09). We had a co-ed shower which was great to see all of our friends that are already Dads and to see the friends that will be Dads within the next few years. The only bad thing was all the men won all the prizes (sorry ladies). We received lots of well needed gifts and some beautiful clothes. Unfortunately, we didn't really have time to go through all your gifts before you decided to arrive. Your room (ok our house) was a disaster!



The following week was tough at work. I had lots of swelling and lots of contractions. We had started going to the doctor once a week and I was only 1 cm on Monday. Thursday was rough. I really didn't feel good at all in addition to the contractions and swelling. When I got home from work, I laid on the sofa (yes we finally got the new sofa- another blog entry, another day) until your father came home. Your father came home with a new/"touched up" (as he called it) tattoo. It was below the elbow (which I had begged for him not to get anymore tattoos below the elbow). I was so mad when I found out where it was that I didn't even look at it for about an hour or so. Then when I do look at it, it has your name in it. I told him he would regret that if you came out as a boy. He felt certain you were a girl because of the three ultrasounds we had that showed your girliness. Then I went to bed early.

The next morning was more contractions, but I felt a little bit better after some much needed rest. Now here's your incredible journey into this world:

Friday (January 30th)
7:15am I was bending over drying my hair when I realized I was leaking amnoitic fluid down both legs. I woke your father (who now wishes to be called Pops) to tell him what was going on. I said, "I think I'm leaking amniotic fluid." His reply, "What do you mean you THINK?" I then told him I thought we should at least go to the doctor's office to be checked. The doctor's office didn't open until 8am and it's 35-40 minutes away, so we decided to head in that direction and call them on our way. As we were getting ready I asked your Pops if we should put the car seat and hospital bag in the car just in case. He asked me, "Well, how do you feel? Do you feel like you are in labor?" I told him I wasn't sure, I've never been in labor. I was having contractions, but I didn't feel horrible. He said, no we don't need to pack the car, we'll come back home.

8:00am still on the way to the doctor's office: I call the office to let them know we are on our way. They tell me all the doctors are at the hospital and we need to go there. (We didn't want to go to the hospital because we thought they would keep us).

8:20am arrive at hospital. The midwife from the practice comes in to check me and as she does a gush of fluid comes out*. She says, "Yep, your water broke." I asked if we could go home. She said, "No, your in labor and need to stay here." So, I had to send your Pops home to get the car seat and bag (which was only partially packed and had a check list next to it to finish packing).

*We later realize that was not your water that broke, but it was your twin's. At our 20 week gestation ultrasound we discovered that you were sharing amniotic fluid with your sibling, even though (s)he no longer had a beating heart. That's why there was more than just a trickle of fluid.

~10:00am I get moved to my room (instead of triage).

I walk the halls to help labor. I get an electric breast pump for nipple stimulation to help progress labor (and laugh hysterically as tears roll down my face for the 8 minutes it's pumping). I walk more. I eat some spicy food. We try acupressure points.

4:30pm I call Sara to let her know where we were. (It felt strange to be in the hospital for so long without telling anyone).

7:00pm Your Pops texts the family to let them know where we were since it had been 12 hours.

Saturday (January 31st)
2:00am Nurses start pumping ampicillian into me since it's now been 18 hours since my water broke. I am now attached to an IV every 4 hours.

I walk the halls more. We have now named the waiting room hall the refrigerator hall because it's 20 degrees colder than the other halls. But it is the best hall for walking as it's the longest.

1:00pm Pitocin is started. Normal rate of infusion is 2 units increased by 2 units every 1/2 hour. I negotiate 1 unit increased by 1 unit every 1/2 hour. I was then tied to the fetal and contraction monitors. My eyes are now closed as I try to manage the pain with my breathing and Hypnobirthing techniques.

4:00pm Your water breaks.... well actually it gushes all over me and all over the hospital bed requiring a complete linen and clothing change.

5:30pm Our doctor decides to stop the Pit to see if my contractions will progress on their own since the new water breaking. Within 15 minutes of stopping the Pit, I am a new woman. My eyes open back up. I decide to drink some cold soup, eat some warm jello and drink some water and Gatorade. I was free to walk the halls again. I pass some visitors in the hall that comment seeing me walking the halls the night before. I replied with something like "Yeah, that was me. I'm still trying to get this baby out."

7:30pm Measured 2 cm :(

10:00pm My contractions didn't progress on their own. They decide to put me back on Pit. I ask to make sure that we start back at 1 unit and progress only by 1 unit every 1/2 hour. My eyes close again and don't really open until your birth. I quit speaking except for the necessities and start talking in a whisper as I have discovered that I start a contraction every time I speak or move.

~11:30pm I ask to hear about pain management options other than an epidural. I start on a combination of Nubain and Phenergan that can be administered every 4 hours, but again I will be tied down to the monitors. I am able to rest for about 2 hours after getting the combination, but it doesn't seem to last the full 4 hours hours. I get 2-3 doses total.

Sunday (Feburary 1st):
6:30am Measuring 3 1/2 cm

10:00am The nurses no longer let me take the Nubain as I am now 5 cm.

2:00pm My body starts to have downward convulsions with the contractions. I remember thinking "this is how a woman in a coma can deliver a baby... your body will help you push the baby out." I tell your Pops he has to get the nurse now because I think it's time and I have to pee. The nurse comes in saying she has to check me and is really surprised to find you are ready and I am 10 cm. My hospital room becomes a hive of activity with several nurses rushing in with equipment and my doctor is called to come deliver. She was not expecting to deliver you until that evening. She had just sent her "Nanny" (her brother) out to the grocery store so she had to bring her children to the hospital and keep them entertained in the locker room until the Nanny could pick them up. I start pushing with the convulsions as it feels like the natural thing to do. I am exhausted from the hours and hours of labor. I scream and scream (but still not words) more from frustration than from pain. The words that I do say are "Please come out baby. Please come out." I am able to watch our progress through a mirror.

3:30pm YOU ARE BORN!!!! It was scary during the last part of getting you out. To start off with it took you awhile to get past my pubic bone. Then the doctor and nurses thought your heart rate dropped drastically (but it was just the monitor slipped) and were quick to try and get you out. I had a nurse pushing on my stomach and the doctor had to give me an episiotomy as you had a hard time passing through a small lip of skin. Then you had a nuchal cord and the doctor had to cut the cord from around your neck. You were completely blue when you came out. The NICU nurses were in the room and immediately began working on you. I heard a nurse ask for "the bag." I exhaustively asked if you were ok. She told me she was working on it. Then you made a slight squeak and they said your Pops could go over to see you. Shortly after you voiced your first cry. The nurse soon handed you over to me to "pink you up." I had you on my chest and you slowly started to turn pink. Your hands and feet were blue for much longer than the rest of you (until the next day). Your first apgar score was a 4, but your second was a 9. You are considered premature as you are born at 37 weeks of gestation, but you don't look like a premature baby. At birth you weigh 7 pounds 2.3 ounces and you are 20 inches long. And yes, you do have those long legs we saw in the ultrasound!

As I look at you, I'm not sure who you look like (your Pops or me). I am sure you are ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. You have the cutest chubby checks, the longest eye lashes, beautiful dark hair, and super long perfect fingers and toes.

I was discussing your birth with a friend of mine who has a little 9 month old boy and she asked "What would you do different next time." My reply was "Nothing. I am glad I took Hypnobirthing to help me cope with the 40 hours of labor with absolutely no pain medication. And it still helped me with the remaining 15 hours of labor. I did not have a quiet birth where I was able to "breathe you down the birth canal" but I think the exhaustion and absolute fatigue of my body wouldn't allow that. I was up going to the bathroom and taking care of you within hours of the delivery. I was up picking up the hospital room early the next morning. I felt pretty darn good for just having had a baby. I was not drugged and you were not drugged. No, I would not change a thing." My doctor and all my nurses were very respectful of our birth plan and my desire to have a natural delivery. I have decided that anything really worthwhile doesn't come easy. And you are priceless, 55 hours of labor was worth it to have you in our lives.