Friday, August 9, 2013

He's here!

We welcomed Drew Steven Hansen into the world on July 11th, 2013. Here are a few updates, and a lot of pictures!

Birth story: If you've been following along for a while, you know that Drew was breech and was scheduled to be delivered via c-section on July 13th. While I was originally disappointed about the c-section, by the time July rolled around I had pretty much come to terms with it and was more just excited to meet Drew. My lingering disappointment about the c-section was only that I wouldn't get the experience of going into labor; instead I would just show up at the hospital for surgery (bor-ing). Knowing that, you can imagine my joy when I went into labor early on the morning of July 11th - a whole week before Drew's due date!

The night before I went into labor we went out to dinner for my sister's birthday. I was having some cramping during and after dinner, but I thought it was because I was full from all the yummy food. I also knew I was close to my due date, so I thought it was just my body preparing for the end of the pregnancy. That night I woke up around 1:00 AM because my arms were numb again. My typical routine when this would happen was to go into the living room and watch a movie to pass the time until sleep would eventually overtake my body despite the numbness in my arms. I got all set up on the couch, and still couldn't really fall asleep because I was having cramps. I assumed they were just Braxton-Hicks contractions, but I decided to time them "just for fun". I had downloaded a contraction timer app on my iPhone, and was sad that I wouldn't actually get to use it with the c-section. So, I thought it would be fun to at least time my Braxton-Hicks contractions over the course of the movie.

It's a good thing I started timing the contractions, because over the course of two hours they increased to be every 7 minutes! At 3:00 AM, I decided to wake Kyle up. I wasn't sure I was actually in labor, but I knew we were supposed to call my doctor if I was having contractions less than 10 minutes apart. The contractions were picking up in intensity: they were painful enough that I couldn't talk or walk during them, but they weren't lasting longer than 30 to 60 seconds so they were what I would call "manageable". They were exactly what I thought contractions would be like!

Kyle called my doctor (who happened to already be at the hospital as she was on call that night, praise the Lord), and she said to definitely make our way in. What happened next was kind of surreal. We casually finished packing up our hospital bags, stopping every 7 or so minutes to get through a contraction. Kyle remembered his support role perfectly and was able to help me breath through the contractions. It felt like we were packing for a weird vacation...grabbing our phone chargers, toothbrushes, change of clothes, etc. We finished packing and headed out to the car. The drive in was also surreal...what do you talk about? I remember we were both bright eyed and excited, but also nervous for what the next few hours would be like. Would they send me home? Was I in labor? Would we meet Drew today?!

When we arrived at the hospital, we had to go through ER because of the time of night. They had a wheelchair waiting for me and insisted that Kyle wheel me to the birthing center. Totally unnecessary, but kind of fun! We got to the birthing center and they got us checked into a room. They hooked me up to monitor my contractions and confirmed that sure enough, I was in labor. Once that determination was made, it was maybe another 45 minutes before they had me on the operating table. In that 45 minutes, they got Kyle suited up to be in the surgery room, had me meet with the anesthesiologist, talk with my doctor, get to know my nurses, and get me prepped for the c-section. The staff was moving swiftly, but not in a way that felt rushed or panicky. Kyle and I had some time alone before the c-section, during which Kyle prayed for me, baby Drew, and the doctors, and we thanked God for what was about to happen. We were about to meet our son!

As we were leaving our room to head to the operating room, my dad and sister came rushing in. We had been trying to get a hold of our families for hours! They are all very sound sleepers, apparently. I was so happy to see my dad and sister, and know that my mom was on her way. I hugged them and then headed off to meet baby Drew.

Despite being major surgery, the operating room was very calm. The nurses were 100% attentive to my needs, my doctor was so comforting, nd the anesthesiologist was fabulous. So many of the things I was worried about turned out to be non-issues. The spinal block hardly hurt at all, and I couldn't feel a THING during the c-section. The only part that was pretty awful was I had the really strong urge to want to sit up; I didn't like being "stuck" on my back on the table. The anesthesiologist said it was the drugs that were making me feel a little claustrophobic/trapped, and he made sure to help counteract with anti-nausea drugs (which helped). Also, I was mistaken in thinking I would lose that "teamwork" experience with Kyle by not having a vaginal birth; Kyle was right by my head the entire time, and I could not have made it through without his support in my ear.

Because I felt so well cared for, I had no problem with Kyle leaving my side when Drew came out. At the time Drew was born (6 minutes in!) I was feeling incredibly claustrophobic and I actually didn't want to see Drew. I didn't want anything else close to my face. I remember telling Kyle just to hold Drew and love him for the both of us until I was done with the surgery. I could hear Drew, and I could hear Kyle talking to Drew, and that was more than enough for me. Near the end of the procedure, a new nurse came in the room. She must have known that what a mom really needs is to see her son. Also, the drugs must have really been working in my favor. Or maybe it was that I knew they were almost done. The new nurse encouraged Kyle to move Drew into my line of sight where I could see him, and all of the sudden the whole operating room went away and all I could see was my husband and my son. And I didn't care about anything else.

We stayed in the hospital for two more days, and had a wonderful stay. The staff was so great, we didn't want to leave! Over the time we were there, Drew had an endless stream of visitors. It was so wonderful to feel so supported and watch everyone love on Drew!

Drew: Drew was born 19.5 inches long, 6lbs 13oz. He dropped down to 6lbs the week after his birth, and is now over 9lbs at 4 weeks old. Growing boy! Drew loves snuggling on mom's chest, sucking on dad's pinky finger, and having his hands by his face. He also likes to quietly look around, and likes being warm when he sleeps (like, sweaty warm...just like his dad). Of course we think he's just the most wonderful little guy ever, and we're loving every (sleepless) moment with him.

Wrist update: A lot have asked how my wrists are doing. In the hospital, they got a lot worse. The fluids from the c-section IVs caused them to become more swollen to the point that me caring for Drew on my own was nearly impossible. Over the last four weeks however, they have improved slowly. At this point, I'm left with my three middle fingers on each hand varying degrees of numb. We went back to the wrist doctor to see what happens next: do we just keep waiting or what? Given the slow recovery rate I'm experiencing coupled with the certainty that this would happen again with future pregnancies, he strongly recommenced I get carpel tunnel release surgery on both wrists to fully wipe this problem out. Last week I went in for some incredibly painful testing (that involved shocking my nerves and sticking multiple needles in my arms) to confirm that yes I do indeed have carpel tunnel and resulting nerve damage from the whole ordeal. Surgery would reverse the nerve damage as well as resolve the carpel tunnel.

So, we're doing the surgeries. August 14th (right) and August 28th (left). I'm not thrilled about it, but I am hopeful at having relief. Finally. Apparently they do a nerve block on your arm, much like a spinal block during a c-section. Because I'm breastfeeding, I can't have any drugs to help relax me before the procedure. So I'll be relying on the power of prayer (both yours and mine) to get me through the part where they do the nerve block. But, I guess if I'd made it through a c-section, what's a little wrist surgery...right? The recovery is supposed to be quick (2-10 days), so you can be praying for the short side of that range as well.

Alright, now onto the good part. Pictures!! When I had to choose been editing photos and sleep, I chose sleep. To here they are, unedited in all their glory.

Final bump pic @ 39 weeks (taken about 8 hours before I went into labor)
Checking in to our room

Kyle getting suited up!
C-section about to commence!

Kyle's view

Baby Drew - tushy first - making his way into the world! 

Kyle meeting Baby Drew while they finished with my c-section.

Me properly meeting Baby Drew back in our room.

Family pic! (Thank you IV fluids for making my face twice it's normal size!)

Drew in his new happy place

Drew discovering he loves to suck on dad's finger

Snuggly little guy
Drew had a lot visitors come by:
L to R: Frauntie (Friend Auntie) Eleni, Mackenzie (who I used to nanny when she was little),
Kyle's Aunt Donna and cousin Tiffany, and Frauntie Chelsea
L to R: Drew's great-grandma Eva, grandpa Peter, Auntie Brooke, grandma Jo

L to R: Drew's grandma Mary Ann, Uncle Zeke and Auntie Bekah, Auntie Heather, Grandpa Steve, and cousin Cope
Visitors not pictured: cousin-aunties Ashley and Alice, Frauntie Danna, Great Aunt Cheryl, and Mackenzie's mom Suzan. (I hope I'm not forgetting anyone!).

Ready to go home!
We call this "noodle pose"

Meeting great grandpa Bob and great grandma Pat

Drew's happy place: sleeping on mom's chest!

Our little Drewdle Bug :-)

Dad gets a burp out of Drew every single time!

Kyle and I's first "date night" with Drew: walk around Edmonds and frozen yogurt for dinner!

Some of Drew's hang outs: the car seat, his swing, and mom and dad's bed
Giving it grace: You know that feeling when you are excited for a new chapter in your life, but once you get going with it you have that nagging feeling that it's not quite what you wanted it to be? For me, being a mom is the exact polar opposite of that. While there is nothing that can prepare you for the lack of sleep and constant demands of a newborn, these last four weeks have been everything I thought they would be - good and bad. This may be all the postnatal hormones talking, but for once, I finally feel that I am doing what God created me for and planned for me to and serve Jesus, love and serve my husband, and love and serve our child(ren).

The last month has been filled with tears, prayers, words of encouragement (and lots of words of repentance), hugs, and many, many new lessons on who our God is. One lesson in particular came to me last night. When I was rocking Drew to sleep at 3:30 in the morning, I found myself so incredibly frustrated. I yelled in my head "you sleep during the day! I know you can sleep, you've proven it today! Just SLEEP right now!" In the silence of the room that followed, I was then reminded of how God could easily get equally frustrated with me. When I used to spend my money on possessions but not give to the church, He could have easily yelled "she has money to spend, yet she wont give it to the church!". Or when I continually check my Facebook but don't crack open my Bible, He could sigh and say "I know she can read. She reads her Facebook all day long, but yet not her Bible!"

Yes God could easily be as frustrated with me as I was with Drew. Yet God gives me grace, instead. And with that reminder, I prayed that God would give me the same grace to continue rocking Drew to sleep. And he did, because His grace abounds.

(And Drew then slept the longest night sleep he's ever done. And Kyle and I rejoiced over 4 straight hours of sleep!)

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