Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing...

our sweet baby GIRL!




As you may have heard by now, Amelia Rowe Marty was born on Sunday, November 15 at 3:48pm. Mia weighed 6lbs, 15oz and is a shorty at 18.5" long. She is named after my grandmother and sister (my grandma's name is Amelia and my sister's middle name is also Amelia) and Branden's mom and grandpa (Rowe is Branden's mom's maiden name).

Amelia's due date was November 8 and we spent the last week of my pregnancy trying to be patient while we waited for her to arrive. Though anxious to meet our little one, we tried to enjoy our last few days as a twosome. On Friday, November 13, I went for a check-up and was showing little sign of progress towards labor. We were happy to wait and allow the baby to come on his or her own schedule, but modern medicine had other plans. Our midwife told us that our hospital wouldn't allow us to wait past 41 weeks and 6 days, so an induction was scheduled for Friday, November 20. I had long been hoping to avoid an induction, but we were left little choice. We went home and hoped that our little baby girl or boy would decide to arrive before we were forced to induce.

Like so many things in life, even the best laid plans don't always work out as expected. On Saturday morning, November 14, my water broke around 6:30am. We were thrilled and excitedly waited for contractions and labor to begin. We called our doula and told her to be ready to come over. She gave us some ideas to help labor get started and we tried them all (walking, climbing stairs, warm shower, etc). We kept in contact with our doula all morning and early afternoon - when nothing had happened by 2pm, she suggested we start thinking about calling the midwife. Since my water had broken, she knew the hospital would want the baby delivered by 6:30am on Sunday (to avoid infection) and we were running out of time to labor and deliver before our 24 hours were up. Branden and I decided to give it until 4pm before we called. By then, I still wasn't showing any signs of labor, so we called the hospital and they told us we needed to come in as soon as possible.

We showered and got ready, again enjoying our last few moments as a twosome. We headed to the hospital around 5pm and got checked into Triage so the doctor on call could check me out. She confirmed that my water had indeed broken and decided to admit us since it had been nearly eleven hours with no signs of labor.

Once we were checked into our room, the doctor came in to discuss a game plan. She felt it was time to induce labor, so we discussed our options by which to do so. Ultimately, we decided on Pitocin. It would cause heavy, hard contractions, but it was proven safe for the baby and would force my body into labor. We called Donna, our doula, and asked her to come to the hospital for support. Already our birth plan was changing and we wanted a familiar face with us to help guide us through the world of modern medicine.

The doctor started Pitcoin about 7:30pm and it didn't take long for the contractions to begin. Upon admission, I was only dilated to a 1.5-2cm, so we knew that the Pitocin and my body had a lot of work to do before this baby was born. We settled in for a long night.

The next twelve hours are a bit of a blur. I had decided on a natural childbirth, so the doctors and nurses tried to respect that as much as possible. That said, the induction required some medical intervention and we had to be flexible with our birth plan. I had to be monitored continuously, so I couldn't leave my bed or bedside. I was able to stand and squat through the contractions, which helped tremendously. I wished I had the freedom to walk or move more but, again, we were all having to be flexible and make adjustments due to the induction. Unfortunately, as the night wore on, Amelia and I required more and more interventions, eventually forcing me to lie in bed, wearing an oxygen mask and more monitors. Her heart rate kept dropping with each contraction and the lack of amniotic fluid was causing her cord to get pinched (hence the need for me to be on oxygen). These extra interventions, while certainly needed, were making it very difficult for me to deal with the pain of the contractions - I had little relief because I couldn't move around and they were very irregular due to the Pitocin. I would have three contractions without a break and then not have another one for several minutes. The combination of these factors was wearing me down.

Finally, about 3am, when I was only dilated to 4cm and hadn't made any progress in several hours, I decided I would ask for some pain relief. I was disheartened by my lack of progress and exhaustion was setting in. I knew I had many more hours of labor ahead of me and it was difficult to deal with the pain while forced to lie in bed. Branden and Donna persuaded me to wait a little longer and really think the decision through. I appreciated their support and continued to labor naturally. An little over an hour later, I decided that I really did want pain medication and asked them to tell the nurse. The anesthesiologist was in an emergency c-section with another patient, so the nurse offered some mild pain relief while I waited for an epidural. That medication did little for the pain, but it did make me a little loopy, so I labored in a bit of a fog while we waited for the anesthesiologist. Around 7am, we finally got word that the anesthesiologist was on her way and by 7:30am, I had much needed relief. While I was disappointed in my decision, I knew that getting the epidural was the best decision for me at the time. I was having trouble relaxing through the contractions and I think the tension was preventing my body and the baby from progressing.

Of course, the epidural allowed my body to relax and it allowed all three of us (Branden, Donna and myself) a much-needed nap. We all went to sleep and woke up about 9:30am. Branden and Donna took turns staying with me while the other went for fresh air and food. By that time, shift change had taken place and a midwife had come on call. She took over my care from the doctor and came in to introduce herself. I wasn't showing any signs of infection, so she agreed to let us keep laboring, despite having passed the 24-hour mark since my water had broken. We were thankful for her patience and relieved that a c-section wasn't in our future (at least not yet).

Because I had the epidural, the next several hours seemed to crawl by. Though laboring naturally was hard and painful, it did make the time pass quickly and made me feel productive, like I was really working to bring my baby into the world. With the epidural, I didn't do anything but lay in bed and wait. It was hard but my body was progressing and we knew it wouldn't be much longer before our baby was born. My parents arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, surprised that they still didn't have a grandchild!

About an hour later, Kel, the midwife, came in to check on my progress. She discovered that I was fully dilated and ready to go! While checking though, she discovered the our little one was in a face-up presentation. Since this is pretty uncommon, she grabbed an ultrasound machine and the doctor on-call for a second opinion. Sure enough, the baby was presenting face-up, meaning we would see the baby's face upon delivery, rather than the top or back of the head. Kel said that I could still deliver the baby vaginally, we would just have to be prepared for any complications. She told me to start getting ready to push and began to prepare the room for delivery. I asked the anesthesiologist to turn down the epidural so I could feel the contractions to be able to push with them and an hour later I felt ready to go. With everyone in place, I started to push with each contraction and our sweet baby was born just 15 minutes later with no complications! After 33 hours of waiting, we were so relived that she arrived quickly! Branden quickly checked her over and told me "it's a girl, it's a girl"! She was placed on my belly and we just marveled at this new little person that had arrived.

We had only chosen one name for a girl, so we were happy that Amelia seemed to fit her. She was very very bruised and swollen from delivering face-up but, of course, we thought she was adorable regardless. We enjoyed about 45 minutes of bonding and then Branden went to tell my parents the happy news. They were thrilled and couldn't wait to meet their new granddaughter.

A little over a week has passed since Amelia's arrival and we just fall more and more in love with her each day. She is a sweet, mellow baby and hardly ever cries (no seriously, she really doesn't cry). When she wants or needs something she just gives a little peep, as if to say "Mom? Dad?" and then that's it. Her bruising and swelling have nearly disappeared and she is just beautiful. She is petite and delicate and she seems to look a lot like Branden as a baby. For now, her hair is a medium brown and her eyes are a dark gray-blue, so we'll see if that changes. She lost a bit too much weight after birth and had a little bout of jaundice as a result, but she's doing well now. She's back up to about six and a half pounds and we expect she'll be back up to her birth weight by her two-week check up on Monday.

We want to thank you all for the many warm wishes. We've received so many phone calls, emails and cards and we feel so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. Please be patient with us as we slowly return calls and emails, but please know that we greatly appreciate the warm welcome you've all given to Amelia. I promise to keep you updated with more photos via the blog, but for now I've got a sweet little girl to feed...


If you have a few minutes, here is a video my dad put together of Amelia's first week. It's about eight minutes long, but it has tons of pictures and some video. If you want to see it in a larger screen, you can watch it here.
video

Monday, November 2, 2009

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go

Yes, in the words of John Denver - "my bags are packed, I'm ready to go." Definitely not leaving on a jet plane, but hoping to be heading to the Labor and Delivery floor at Balboa Hospital very soon! As of today, Diego has been incubating for 39 weeks and two days. Branden and I are so excited and anxious to meet this little one! The first eight and a half months of this pregnancy flew by, but now the days are crawling by as we wait for any sign of labor. So, while we wait, here is an update on our lives over the last couple of months...
* Because this is such a lengthy post, I condensed most photos into collages. If you want to see a collage up close, simply click on it and it will open up, bigger, in another window. Also, for some photos, there is a link "click HERE" to more photos, with captions. Enjoy!

August: Fun in the Sun
For us, August was a fun-filled and hectic month. We started the month with a visit from Branden's dad, Keith. It was also Colin's last weekend living in CA, so the three of them enjoyed a boy's weekend. They hit two Padres/Brewers baseball games, played a round of golf and ate lots of yummy food. I can only handle so much baseball, so I only tagged along to one game and let them enjoy their "man-time" the rest of the weekend.
The next weekend we were off to Chicago for Steph's wedding! Steph, Rachel and I lived together at Michigan for three years. It was wonderful to be a part of Steph's wedding weekend - it was a weekend full of love and laughter and we were so honored to be included. We started the weekend with fishing (the boys) and mani/pedis (the girls). From there, the girls headed to an intimate lunch in Steph's honor. Friday night was the rehearsal dinner at Gibson's steakhouse and then the wedding was held at Trump Tower on Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding and we are so happy for Steph and her new husband, Dusten!

On Sunday morning, after Steph's wedding, Branden and I took the train up to Milwaukee to see his family for the day, before heading back to San Diego. When we arrived at the Marty home, we could tell something was going on. Turns out, Kayla and Ellen (Branden's sister and sister-in-law) had planned a surprise baby shower for us!! (Dede and Keith claim no part in the surprise, but I find that very hard to believe!). It was such a special day - all of our Wisconsin friends came by, some we hadn't seen since our wedding five years ago. We were so touched by every one's thoughtfulness, generosity and efforts.

After our weekend in Chicago/Wisconsin, we headed back to San Diego for a quick work week. I was in San Francisco for meetings, so Branden painted Diego's room while I was out of the house (more pictures of that later). When I got home, we headed to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend with a few friends. We rented a house overlooking the lake and enjoyed a gorgeous summer weekend! Lake Arrowhead is beautiful and we can't wait to go back. It's a perfect getaway and it's only two hours from San Diego.

Since my days of travel were quickly coming to an end, we squeezed in one more trip that month. This time, we headed back to the Midwest for a baby shower in Michigan. My family threw us a great party and, since we had just seen most friends and family at my sister's wedding in July, it was fun for them to see my belly progress. I had sort of "popped" in the month since the wedding, so I was finally looking really pregnant, much to every one's delight. Again, we were so touched by every one's thoughtfulness, generosity and effort. My friends, Kirsten and Katie, flew in just for the weekend - Kir from DC and Katie from California! All in all, we felt surrounded by love and we are so thankful to have such wonderful friends and family!

September: The Last Hurrah

Of course, with my growing belly came an end to my travels. As I mentioned, though, Branden and I had decided to take one last trip before my midwife cut me off from flying. Earlier this year, I won a sales incentive trip for two - to SPAIN! It was all-expenses paid and neither of us had ever been, so with our midwife's blessing, we decided to go for it. I was pretty nervous once we actually got to Chicago and were boarding the flight to Madrid - what was I doing?! Would I really be able to travel comfortably for the next week?? At that point, there was no turning back, so Branden calmed my nerves and off we went! We spent week 32 of the pregnancy touring Northern Spain and we loved every minute of it. We were SO glad we went. I felt great and had no problems whatsoever. Here are a few photos, but if you want to see more, click HERE.

October: The Home Stretch
September flew by with our trip to Spain (and Branden's work travels - he was home for two or three days that month), so we were looking forward to a more mellow October. I wrapped up work; my last day was October 16. I'm looking forward to going back early next year, but for the time being, my mind was quickly shifting into baby mode and all I could think about was my to-do list at home. I still had so much to do, buy and prepare! Luckily, our wonderful friends took care of much of the "buying"...we were so blessed to have two baby showers here in San Diego in October. If you want to see more photos and read more about the celebrations, click HERE.
The month of October ended with some Halloween fun. We had secretly hoped that Diego would arrive before Halloween (what pregnant momma in her last weeks doesn't wish that?!), but here it is November 2nd and Diego still seems pretty content in the incubator. For now, we'll just enjoy some quiet time while we wait.
*Are you wondering who that adorable little baby is that we're holding in so many photos? That is Baby Taylor, born to our friends, Summer and Gregg, in September. We just love her and enjoy cuddling her while we wait for Diego. We think she is just the cutest little girl and Branden says that if Diego is a boy, he's talking to Gregg about an arranged marriage. :)


Diego Updates
Well, as I mentioned, we're into week 39 and Diego seems pretty content in his little home. He/she shows no signs of making an appearance anytime soon, so I'm just taking comfort in the fact that there is a 98% chance he or she will arrive in the next 19 days (although, really?! I can't even imagine being pregnant for another three weeks!). Our actual due date is November 8, so I'm hoping Diego is more like his or her daddy and will be early or at least punctual. That said, I think karma is a pretty powerful force and it would serve me right if this kiddo took after me and was late (since I am always late!).

Our little Scorpio has already proven to be a stubborn little guy (or gal). As Branden says, "stubborn like his momma (me)". As I say, "stubborn like his daddy." Either way, the kid is strong-willed. As Branden and I learned, 96% of babies get in to a "head-down" position by 32-34 weeks gestation. This gets them in position for birth before things get too tight to restrict movement into such a position. Well, of course, our little one was in that 4% of babies who decide to do things their own way. After I fell down the stairs at 35 weeks (just a little fall, no big deal!), we got an ultrasound to make sure all was well in the womb. It was then that we noticed that Diego was relaxing in an "oblique" position. He/she was sort of sideways, definitely not in an ideal position for birth. We didn't really think much about it, but when he/she hadn't turned by 37 weeks, our doula decided we should probably start taking some action. The traditional way to get a baby to turn is called an external cephalic version - I haven't had one and, from what I hear, I don't want to! In this, a doctor tries to manually turn the baby from the outside and it is, from what I hear, quite uncomfortable for both mom and baby. So, when our doula recommended trying a chiropractor first, we jumped at the chance. I had never been to one and was a bit skeptical, but the chiropractor had an 85% success rate of turning babies. Guess what? She got Diego to turn with just two adjustments and it was gentle and painless. Not only did she get Diego to turn, but she also relieved almost all of my hip, back and joint pain. I feel so much comfortable and, from the way Diego has been moving around, he is much more comfortable too. We are so thankful!!

Many of you have asked to see the belly, so here are the most recent photos. Before we go any further, may I be frank with you for a moment? If you are chatting with a pregnant lady, whether you know her or not, please do not tell her she looks "huge", "ready to pop" or ask if she's "sure there's not twins in there"? This may be surprising, but when you get pregnant, your feelings don't actually go away. If anything, you get more sensitive and such adjectives and comments do not make a pregnant girl feel any better about her changing body. On behalf of all the pregnant gals out there, I'm suggesting you either compliment her (word like "glowing" and "beautiful" are always appreciated) or just simply avoid commenting on her appearance. She'll really appreciate it and so will her husband (because no one likes to have to console an emotional, crying pregnant lady when she gets home). That said, here is the belly...

Since I finished up work and we've had a break from traveling, we finally got a chance to put together Diego's nursery. The rest of the furniture was delivered in early October, so things have really come together since then. We love how the room came out and the best part is that nearly everything in the room was made by, created by or found by a loved one. We chose an unorthodox color scheme (and didn't want a bumblebee theme), so we couldn't rely on traditional resources for nursery decor. If you want to read more about each piece in the room and where it came from, click HERE.
With that, I think I've finally got you all caught up on the Marty Party! If you've made it this far in the post, thanks! :) Hopefully our next post will not be "Belly Photos - Weeks 40, 41 and 42" and will, instead, be "Introducing...". If you want to make a guess at when he or she will arrive, click HERE.

xoxo,
Steph & Branden