Thursday, October 29, 2009

Waiting Game

My mom, Nana, has made several visits to snuggle her 6th grandbaby
But this is the first time I've caught it on film

My oldest brother, Chris, meeting his 3rd nephew

Trying to elicit a smile

Precious baby

Sweet feet. They are actually quite long for such a young baby!

We are in a waiting game. I really thought Reed would have been home by now. But he is not. He has to make it 5 to 7 days without having any apnea. He didn't have any apnea today, so hopefully today is day 1 of our stretch! He continues to do great otherwise. He was 5lb 10.5 oz today so he is nearly back to his birth weight and his cheeks look slightly more plump. He is so sweet and snuggly and I am absolutely smitten with him. He has a couple of nurses who obviously adore him and will come in his room 'just to say hi' a few times if they aren't assigned to him.

We have had a few visitors in the last few days. My brother Chris came to visit Reed on Tuesday and I am just now posting the pictures from it (gasp!). I can't believe it took me so long to get them uploaded. Chris, I do apologize. Chris is a total natural with babies. It is quite cute to see him with his nephews, especially the newest and tiniest. His second daughter was born at 34 weeks and spent 19 days in the NICU, so he knows how much it stinks to go home without your baby. After visiting he treated me to lunch at Primos. We each had a shrimp poboy with remolaude sauce and salad. Yummy! My mom (Hi, mom!) visited Tuesday night as well for some snuggle time with Mr. Reed. She is pretty much a baby hog like I am, especially with her grandbabies. I was a little surprised she let me and Brad take him away from her!

I am doing well for the most part. I have mostly good days but do have some bad 'feel sorry for myself' type of moments. But I just have to remind myself that we are so very blessed. Blessed to have a baby who is doing so well. Blessed to be in a brand new NICU with a private room. Blessed to have so much family close to us and a wonderful church family who are all willing to help. Blessed to have so many people, all around the world, praying for us. Blessed to have a baby at all. That last one is HUGE. My heart aches for the women who haven't been able to get pregnant. It aches for those who have gotten pregnant and lost their baby. It aches for those who have had a baby who they never got to take home. And for the ones who took their baby home and then lost them.

A Father's Love

A few years ago when I started feeling the tick-tocking of my biological clock, my husband could not have been more unaware of his. I have always been slightly obsessed with babies and loved to babysit or go see the babies in the church nursery or peek at them in the hospital nursery window when we were visiting someone. I even played with babydolls until I was 12 or 13. I have always known I wanted a few children of my very own. Brad, on the other hand, wasn't so sure. He hadn't been around many of the pink, crying, needy things and didn't really know how this would fit into our lives. But from the minute I told him I was pregnant to the first time he laid eyes on both of our boys, he was hooked. Totally in love, totally smitten. And it totally tickles me.

This is Will giving Brad a 'hug' which means Will leans in and Brad kisses his cheek.

Brad and Will both love this even though Brad knows he will likely end being beaten on the head.

I love seeing our tiny baby in his daddy's hands
Melt my heart. Probably one of my favorite pictures ever.

Seeing my husband with our children is so precious to me. These blessings that we could not have imagined a couple of years ago are so perfect, so precious. Not every day is perfect and we as parents often disappoint ourselves at how impatient we can be, but our children are perfect gifts from our Heavenly Father. I just look at them and I love them so much, then I think about how HUGE God's love is and how PERFECT it is and how His patience is something we could never begin to comprehend. It is so neat to think how the love He has for us is a thousand fold of what we can even begin to imagine. And on days when I get frustrated because Will took off his shoes and threw them for the hundreth time in an hour, I think about how God could get so frustrated with me because I sinned for the millionth time when I know better. But He doesn't get mad or frustrated. He just continues to love and pour out His perfect grace and forgiveness and blessings all over us. We don't deserve it. Not a single one of us do. How awesome is our God for loving us so? Why can't we be more like Him?
One of my favorite songs these days is this one from David Crowder Band. It has helped me through many days lately. When I was in the hospital and it looked so dreary outside and I was tired of being stuck in the hospital and tired of not putting Will to bed and just tired of the situation, I played this song. When I had contractions that were so intense and the anesthesiologist was with another patient and I just had to wait, I had this song playing in my head. And now that I sit in the NICU holding my baby, just waiting and hoping and praying for the day that he comes home, I play this song. It elicits both tears and smiles for me. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Why We Had Kids

For the free* manual labor.

He was such a happy helper that we let him take the car out for a spin.
*By free of course we mean not including the room, board, education, medical expenses, entertainment, clothing and transportation costs for 18+ years.
Oh and btw, he drags the rake out himself and fusses to push the mower (turned off, of course), so these pictures aren't posed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Setbacks and tears

Everybody says he looks like Will or Brad, but I think he looks like a Gibbs! This is me as a newborn. Sorry I can't get this turned the right way.

What do you think?

My brother Joseph (who gave Reed his first nickname - "Speedy Reedy" because he came so early and so fast) came by to meet Reed for the first time. Joseph was born at 34 weeks and got to go home after just 8 days!

We were hoping Reed was coming home in the next couple of days. I knew not to get my hopes up but it's hard not to when Dr. Miller mentioned the possibility of being discharged this weekend or at the beginning of the week. When I called Saturday morning the nurse told me that after almost 5 days of being apnea free (they have to make it 5-7 with no spells before going home), Reed had a spell requiring stimulation. I tried not to lose it, but I sort of did. It is definitely not the first time I have cried on the phone with one of his nurses and probably won't be the last. I was already in a fragile state because my husband, parents and in-laws had all left town for the day and I didn't realize until that morning that they were all gone. The nurse said she would talk to Dr. Miller for me since I couldn't get up there and then when I called back after lunch, she had already left for the day. I asked the nurse who was there if she knew what the doctor said. She didn't but had overheard him tell another mom that they want to see the baby go 7 days without apnea before letting them go home. I made it till I hung up the phone then lost it again. I was so upset thinking about going another week without him home. And I was frustrated his nurse hadn't told me she'd be leaving so early. I would have called to followup sooner to hear what the doctor said and now I'd have to wait till the next day and hope to catch him. The good news is that he is still eating well and maintaining his temp, so the only thing holding us back his apnea.

Will and I had a great morning. We went and dropped several bags of clothes off at a local charity from me cleaning out the guestroom closet (before Reed was born - I haven't had that kind of time!) and went and got his haircut. Then we went to Target where I exchanged his size 5 diapers we just bought for size 6! It is amazing how they can grow overnight. He had worn size 5 for so long and all of a sudden they are a bit to small. We also found some dark brown curtains for Reed's room. It felt good to get some things done and spend time with him. He fought his nap for an hour, crying for half that time. I sat in Reed's room and boohooed. But then Will made me laugh because he heard the dogs bark and inbetween some cries I heard him growling! He is such a funny boy.

A friend from church had told me she would keep Will after his nap so I could go see Reed but after he was finally down for his nap I realized that by the time I could get him to their house then to the hospital, I would only be able to stay for an hour before coming back home to meet some other friends from church who were bringing dinner by. So I started calling other people from church for a last minute babysitter, figuring that would be easier and I could just stay with Reed through Will going to bed. I called the first one and talked to her mom. She asked how I was and I said 'ok' then she asked "How is that sweet baby?" Lost it again. Through sobs I told her I hadn't seen him at all today. Her daughter wasn't home but she gave me one of her friend's number. I called our other sitter and got her mom as well and she asked me the same questions. I really thought I could control it but these hormones are powerful! I lost it again. She got in touch with her daughter and within and hour she was at our house. I have never been so happy to pay somebody to watch Will!

Being with Reed was such a mood-lifter. It had been over 24 hours again since I had seen him and having him in my arms again just felt so wondeful. I didn't shed another tear until this morning! And that was in church, so thats ok. Between crying on the phone with the nurse, Brad and my mom a few times, and the 3 ladies from church, I should be pretty low on salt!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

7 Days

My sweet 1 week old
Ms. Sherna, our favorite day nurse. She has had him nearly every day this week.

7 days. Reed was 7 days old yesterday. A whole week. A week since I became the mother of two. A week since we shouted "It's a boy!". A week since my heart swelled to a size I couldn't imagine 8 days ago. A week since I found out I really could love somebody as much as I love Will. Wow. How does time pass so quickly?

A whole 24 hours passed between visits from Thursday to Friday. That was tough. My dad and I went to get the bargain glider and I thought the store opened at 9 but they didn't open until 10. So by the time I was able to call the store and make sure the chair was still there, get Will to his Poppy's, go by the chiopractor , grab lunch, get the chair, make another stop and get back home, then drive to the hospital, it was 2:20. That was the time he was born a week ago. And now it had been over 24 hours since I touched him. Smelled him. Felt his soft skin. And then his nurse for the day told me I couldn't get him out of the isolette until 3:00 which was feeding time. He was still having trouble with his temp and she didn't want him to get cold. I nearly lost it. But I convinced her to let me take him out. I texted Brad and told him I didn't like our nurse for the day. She really was nice after I talked to her a bit, but can you imagine not seeing your baby for that long then being told you couldn't hold them? I wished Ms. Sherna had him. She usually works in newborn nursery but has been working in NICU a lot during the past week. She had him Saturday then I think Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. She is a sweetheart and she loves Reed. I feel so good knowing she is here if I am not. She was working in NICU Friday but wasn't assigned to Reed. She came to visit and told me she rarely fusses or complains, but she did that morning when she got her assignment and didn't have Reed! I guess you just get used to somebody and want them to keep taking care of you!
He felt so good in my arms. I think once we get home I won't put him down. I know I will have to on occasion but it will be hard to. I'm sure Will is going to have trouble with my holding Reed. Will has become a little more attached to me since I came home at the beginning of the week. It will just be so nice to have everyone under the same roof!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy day!

Yesterday felt so busy. Well, really everyday this week has been busy. Between trying to split my time with Will and Reed, driving back and forth to the hospital, getting a few things done around the house and do other things, like shower, use the bathroom and eat, I am getting kind of tired. I can't wait for Reed to be home so I can be home. Luckily I have felt very well so I am able to go, go, go, but I am feeling ready to stop now. But I can't. I can't not see Reed. I went a whole 24 hours between visits from yesterday to today and it was killing me. But I also can't be away from home. My father-in-law is who normally keeps Will for us while we work and he has been gracious to keep him a little extra for us. Hopefully we will all be home very soon!

Dr. Miller took over for Dr. Wender and will be with us until next Wednesday. He said Reed looked good and that he would be going home before Dr. Wender came back! He said maybe even this weekend! That made me so excited but so anxious to get things done, too. Brad had an out of town trip planned for this weekend and he is going to cut it short and just make it one long day on Saturday, so he won't be around to help that day. We have so much to do!

Reed made it to an open crib Wednesday night. He was doing well keeping his temp up but when I got there yesterday I sponge-bathed him (with his nurse's permission) and he never could get his temp back up, so he has been in the isolette since yesterday afternoon. Not a huge deal because Dr. Miller told us they only have to be ok in the crib for 24 hours before going home, but I hate that he was doing so well and now has to go in 'his box' as one nurse put it. Doesn't that sound awful?

Here is Reed's room. We are so blessed to be in a brand new NICU with private rooms that have their own doors and temperature guage and lighting and chairs. There is even a curtain I can pull closed to nurse him.

All ready to get a sponge bath from Mommy. Don't worry - I did take the cardiac leads off!

I tried to wake him for his noon feeding and he would not come out of it! I threatened to hawk his hair if he didn't wake up and eat. He didn't listen to me.

Oh the sweetness! I could just eat him up!
After I left Reed I went to Hudson's (its a salvage center) because during my week in the hospital I saw them advertising brand name baby items they had gotten in. I got a crib mattress for $25 and a bookshelf for $45! I also saw a swivel glider recliner that we went back and got today. It is the same brand as Will's for 1/3 the cost! It wasn't exactly what I would pick out as far as color, but is definitely the cheapest you would ever get one for.
I went and picked up Will then wanted to crash. Brad got home about 2 hours later and I told him I HAD to take a nap. I slept for about an hour, then my dad brought us some yummy spaghetti. I am so glad he did, because all I was going to cook was the microwave version of mac&cheese. After dinner it was time to get to work! I had been doing some laundry for Reed and cleaned out Will's drawers for out of season and outgrown clothes while Brad gave him a bath. Then we finished picking up some things in the old office/guestroom then vacuumed and started moving Will's furniture. Will was very pleased to help except for when I took his toys in there, he picked them up and took them right back to his old room! Poor Brad had to take apart the crib to take it into the new room then put it right back together again. After we finished with that and got Will to bed, Brad put together Reed's crib! I can't tell you how excited I was to see it up and in his room. It made it feel more real that we get to bring him home soon! I'm sure he won't sleep in it for awhile, but I still like having it together.
Reed's new crib and bedding. We went with neutral colors since we didn't know the gender. I plan to accent the room with some light blue things. The red thing to the left is Will's changing pad and dresser. It hasn't quite made its way down the hall yet.
After all of that was done it was about 10:45. I was still faring pretty well because of my nap, but Brad was in bed shortly after. I ended up staying up awhile because it was nearly time to pump again and I figured it better to stay up a little longer then go to bed instead of going to bed then getting up again. Man it was a long day. But we got some stuff done!
Aaaah. Didn't that make you tired?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's a Beautiful Morning!

I love that song (the video is goofy. sorry - best I could find). My friend and freshman year roomate and I would get up and play it all the time while we got dressed (or just stayed in pjs) for class. Those were back in the days of Napster, pre-lawsuits, where music was free. Not that I ever downloaded free music.


Anyway it really is a beautiful morning outside and in. After being exhausted and doing nothing for 5 hours last night except for get up and go to the bathroom and read 3 books to Will and put him to bed since Brad had gone to visit Reed, I got in my bed and slept for about 7 hours straight! Slept straight through my pumping time but that's ok, because I got 3 oz this morning! I woke feeling fairly refreshed, though not as well as I had been. I think I was running on adrenaline and it is all gone now. I called to check on Reed and he was eating and had taken 45 cc at two feeding during the night and had NO apnea! Praise God!!! That means 24 hours apnea free!!
Brad got Will dressed and I gave him breakfast and dropped him off at Poppy's. He cried when I left, so again I felt guilty. I stopped by Dunkin Donuts to get donuts for the wonderful nurses (and maybe some Munchkins and an iced caramel latte for myself, I really couldn't say). When I got to the hospital, I was greeted by this sweet face:
I think most mommy's would agree with me that it is so fun to see your newborn alert because it happens so infrequently during those first couple of weeks. Plus he has been such a sleepy head I was glad he was awake and ready to eat! He ate well and then had a wet and poopy diaper! Most people don't get excited about changing diapers but he has been looking a little yellow to me and not pooping so I am glad things are moving in that department because newborns pooping = lower bilirubin levels and less jaundice. We then got some more good news from Dr. Wender that the only recorded recent apnea doesn't look like true apnea but more like he is dropping his sats at times during feedings which is normal because even full term newborns have to figure out their rhythm of eating and breathing at the same time. Then he told us there was a VERY good chance he will be discharged home at the beginning of next week! And he wrote for him to be moved from the incubator to a crib! So we put some warmer clothes on. But first, I had to take a picture of this sweet fuzzy headed man. Imagine how much hair he would have if he went to term!
Then we put his too-big cap on and Reed drifted off to sleep in his cute duck pants.
Oh and just an added bonus of this beautiful morning. I am 10lb under my pre-pregnancy weight. Not really the easiest diet plan, but whatever works, right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Induction day

One of the few times he had an eye or eyes open. He was SLEEPY today!

His Gigi came by at lunchtime to snuggle.

Emily and Me, Avery and Reed

Today was supposed to be induction day. Dr. Gnam was 90% sure last Thursday that we would induce labor today. He told me I wouldn't start labor back on my own. I felt otherwise, but I trusted his judgement. Instead, today I spent about 7 hours with my sweet 4 day old. Reed continues to do well. Still having some spells of apnea. I had a talk with him about that and made sure he knew that each time he stopped breathing meant we would be in the hospital one more day. I'm not sure he got the total message, but I called to check on him at 8:00pm and he hadn't had anymore!

We had a busy day. My friend Emily from work came to see me. Emily used to work in a NICU so she is used to tiny babies! She has started maternity leave for her daughter Avery's upcoming birth. Her due date was 2 weeks ahead of mine, so she is getting close! We never did take a belly pictures together, so I thought today was a good chance to get Reed and Avery together. I can't wait to meet her little one and I know she is anxious to be a mommy! I left him about 4:00 and was planning to come back tonight but after I got home, my body said enough was enough. I have been going strong since he was born but I have worn myself out. I hate that I will spend a long time away again, but I have to make myself rest. It is hard to long to be with your baby and not be able to have them in your arms. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better. I drove myself today but if I am not up to it in the morning, I will be able to get my mom or dad to take me. It is so good to have family close by!

3 Days Old

My dad, "Pop," came to visit and held Reed for the first time.

Reed looks so tiny in his Pop's hands

I left him for a bit and came back to find this. So I fixed it and a little while later he had pulled it down again! Little stinker won't leave his hat alone.
This cracks me up. It looks like he wants to punch me for taking so many pictures. (Don't worry, I never use flash thanks to my fancy lens Brad got me)
This is by far my favorite picture. He looks so chubby! It melts my heart.

My little Reed was 3 days old on Monday. He dropped down to 5lb, 5oz, which is totally normal for any newborn. His Dr. thinks the weight loss will slow down now. He had 2 apnea spells and again required stimulation to come out of them. Every day that he has one keeps us in the hospital another day. My milk came in and he and I are both very happy about that! He is eating so well. It really is amazing.

I left the hospital in the afternoon and did not plan to come back until this morning. I got teary eyed during the process of leaving. It was so hard to put him back in the incubator before I left knowing I would be away from him for about 16 hours. I kept looking at the clock thinking 'One more minute and I'll put him in and leave.' Then once that minute passed, I would say to myself 'One more minute...' Brad wasn't home when Will and I came home. When I got to the house, all the emotions started pouring out of me. I felt like I had a huge hole in the middle of my heart. I was so happy to be home with Will and have some normalcy after 10 days in the hospital. But it felt so incomplete for Reed not to be here. Poor Brad is being so patient with me. He walked in the door and I just sobbed and sobbed. I missed my baby so much. Then I had the task of pumping for him and when I had trouble with that, I called his NICU nurse seeking advice and sobbed on the phone with her. I was exhausted but very tempted to drive to see him. I somehow made it to this morning and was elated to be with him! It is just not natural to be separated from your child! One thought that helped me get through was that some parents don't ever get the chance to bring their baby home. My baby is ok. He is 10 miles from me in a state of the art NICU with wonderful nurses and he is being constantly watched. If he stops breathing, they know it instantly and are at his side. He will come home. Not soon enough for me, but he will come home! This is not going to be fun or easy, but we can do it. Reed means 'red haired' and Matthew means 'gift of God'. He truly is a gift. One we weren't asking for at the time and one we weren't expecting so early. We are so thankful for our beautiful gift and can't wait for him to be fully ours!

Monday, October 19, 2009

First Outfit

Little fingers with my size 7 ring
Tiny, perfect baby feet

Hello to all my friends and family!

His Nana (my mom) says this is her nose!

He reminds me a little of Will but this face is a Gibbs baby in my book

I got discharged Sunday afternoon and was able to spend time with my favorite 2 big guys. We went and picked up a few things for Reed and my much loved Anaprox prescription then went home for awhile. After 9 days away, it was SO good to be home. I don't think my recliner has ever been so comfortable! I got to rock Will and put him down for a nap then do some laundry for little bit. I was tired of looking at him in the pink and blue hat and pink and blue blankets, so when they gave me the go ahead for clothes, I had to bring him some things! We had not packed any bags for me or baby before I was hospitalized and I had not washed a single thing. Who knew he would come nearly 2 months early? Once I was hospitalized and knew we would have a preemie, I started looking online for preemie clothes. The small sizes can be hard to find in stores. I bid on some cute used clothes on ebay and lost the auction by $1 Saturday morning. I was kind of bummed because this Zutano brand I bid on was so cute but hard to find. Saturday evening Brad brought me my mail which included a lovely care package from my virtual penpal Kit. We have never met in person but I consider her a good friend. She sent me some great looking books and fun things for me, and wouldn't you know it - some Zutano clothes for baby Sharp! It tickled me when I took the clothes out of the wrapping and saw they were some of the same ones I tried to win on ebay! So thanks to Kit, Reed had his first real outfit and he looked quite adorable, if I say so myself.

As of Sunday, he lost down to 5lb, 6oz from his birth weight, which is to be expected. He is still nursing well and has had fewer spells of apnea. He looks a little yellow to me but the nurses don't think so and told me his bilirubin was fine. Our nurse Saturday night was Caroline, which was the girl name we had picked out. She was so sweet and laid back. Dr. Wender had ordered for him to take 25 to 30cc each feeding, after nursing, which seemed like a lot to me if he nursed well. Caroline told us that if he seems to be nursing well and sleeps well after, not to worry about pushing the bottle. He does take about what he needs during bottle feeds.

The nurses are so impressed with how well he is doing. I keep hearing them say how lucky we are and how blessed we are because most 33 weekers don't do this well. A lot of them need some sort of oxygen support and a lot of them don't feed that well or if they do, it's usually bottle feeding well and not breastfeeding. God is just pouring His love and grace over us and answering so many prayers. The earliest they will let him go home is next Tuesday the 27th and he will have to be apnea free for at least 5-7 days by that point. Dr. Wender told us that he will go home between 35 and 37 weeks, which could be until November 10th. He made is sound like I shouldn't get my hopes up for next week. But my immediate thought was "I have a VERY BIG God!". Please join us in prayer he will stop the apnea and be able to go home next week. My heart will be torn between being with Reed and being with Will until our youngest son is home in my arms.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beyond Measure

Our tiny babe is doing so well. He is breathing on his own and requires no oxygen support. He has had a few spells of apnea (not breathing) but only needs gentle stimulation to remember to start again. This is very common in preemies. He is eating well, too. I have been able to nurse him at most feedings. I wasn't able to the first time and the other times we missed due to my trying (pretty unsuccessfully) to rest. We are trying to get him to bottle feed after nursing. He doesn't really want to take it from me. I think he has already figured out that I am not the bottle lady. He's a smart boy! He is doing well keeping his temperature up, too. His health has far exceeded anything we could have hoped for. God has given us such a precious gift and it keeps unfolding. We truly are blessed beyond measure.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reed's Birth Story

I woke early on my 7th day of being in the hospital, which was also Brad's and my 5 year wedding anniversary. The clock said 5:00 and I debated on getting up and showering before having the daily required tests but convinced myself to go back to sleep for awhile. I woke again around 7:00 when I heard my doctor out in the hallway. My room was close to both the door to the labor and delivery unit and the nurse's station. I often heard people come and go, but my mind was very tuned in to the sound of Dr. Gnam's voice and it could wake me out of most sleep. I looked forward to his visits to find out how things were going and if the plans had changed. He was also very encouraging and is pleasant to be around in general. But he never came in to see me that morning.

My breakfast tray arrived and after a week of circling "hot chocolate" from the drink selections, they finally brought me a packet to make it. I was texting a friend from church who was planning to visit and bring me a Chik-fil-a biscuit, so I held off on eating. My nurse, Kathy, came in around 8:00 and hooked me up to the monitors for my non-stress test. My friend finally texted and said she couldn't come because the school had just called and her son was sick. I had been having contractions on and off all week, but I was having several and Kathy wanted me to eat because "the baby wasn't liking all the activity". I took a bite of some toast but really didn't want anything except the hot chocolate. Something just felt different about today. By 9:00 Kathy told me that if I "kept this up, we were going to have a baby today!". I asked if she really thought so, because Brad was on his way to the delta and I would need to call him back. She told me to hold off because it could be a false alarm. I gave Brad a heads up then I called my mom and told her that it might be baby day. She replied "Well, GOOD, because I am just READY to have this baby here". I later learned from her coworkers that it seemed SHE was the one in labor that day.

The ultrasound techs came in and did a biophysical profile and they couldn't see the baby 'practice breathing'. They hadn't had any trouble before but after looking for 30 minutes and jiggling my belly with the probe a lot, they relented. Kathy told them to come back later and recheck after I had a chance to eat more. Meanwhile, the contractions were coming more frequently and becoming more intense. Kathy and I discussed pain management options and she had me drink a HUGE pitcher of ice water.

By 10:00 I had a few contractions that made me tear up a bit, so I asked Kathy for an IV and Stadol. I immediately felt relief and updated my facebook status to warn that I was drugged so please don't pay attention to what I may post. I called my brother Chris and even though I thought I was talking pretty clearly, I apparently sounded quite drunk. He told me not to call ANYONE else and he would be there soon. Kathy told me she would be tied up for a bit because there was a situation going on down the hall but to call out if I needed anything.

I called Brad and let him know he should head back. He said he had just arrived at his stop and he was going to work it then call me back. Chris showed up a little while later. During one strong contraction, the baby's heartrate droped to around 100 so I got on my side. Chris moved the monitor so I could see it better. A few minutes later, the baby's heartrate dropped again to 57. It came back up, but it scared me so I called out to make sure someone saw it on the monitors at the desk. The nurse's aid came in and I explained what happened. A nurse came in and I explained what happened and that I got on my side and that I knew Kathy was busy but wanted to make sure someone saw it. She said everything was fine. A few minutes later she came back in and told me Kathy sent her to make sure I was on my side and not playing on the computer and I recapped that I hadn't moved and had gotten on my side when I saw the first decel. She was very rude and told me I needed to STOP WORRYING AND LET US DO OUR JOB WE ARE PAID FOR! I realize she was trying to make me feel secure, but she was pretty gruff in her delivery and I started crying. It probably didn't help that I was drunk on stadol.

My dad arrived, followed shortly thereafter by my mom. I don't think any of us told her to come, but I imagine she was pacing so hard that her boss or coworkers sent her. Just kidding. I'm sure she knew by me asking for pain medicine that it was baby time. Kathy called Dr. Gnam and he said he would come check me before his scheduled c-section at noon. By noon the contractions were very intense and coming every 3 minutes. I had gotten up to pee then the ultrasound techs came in to repeat the bpp, so I wasn't hooked up to the monitors. I felt so cheated, like I wasn't getting credit for these strong contractions! Having the profile scan again was miserable because they were pressing on my belly during the contractions. I had to pee so badly (remember the water pitcher, plus I was getting IV fluids since 10:00) and I begged for them to let me get up and go between the bpp and the growth scan. They told me to hang in there and did both scans. I don't remember what the baby scored on the bpp but the growth scan estimated 6lb 14oz! I finally was able to get up and go to the bathroom and then my doctor came in at 12:20. He put on his sterile gloves and his pager went off. They were paging him for a delivery next door. He sighed, took off the gloves and left WITHOUT CHECKING ME! I was so frustrated. He came back in around 12:50 and checked me. I was 6-7 cm dilated and 90% effaced! Brad was still not there. The anesthesiologist was now taking care of the c-section patient. I had my mom, dad and brother with me but I wanted my husband. The contractions were so intense and I was getting annoyed. This wasn't how it should be happening! I wanted to cuss (but I didn't). My mom asked me if I "should be breathing that way?" meaning I should slow down my breathing and focus on something to help get me through the contractions. I told her "I will breathe how I want!".

Brad finally showed up around 1:20. Chris said he RAN from the parking lot to labor and delivery and that he couldn't keep up with Brad. Chris had been calling him all along to update him and see how far away he was. The anesthesiologist came in about 5 minutes later and kicked everyone out. I was overjoyed to see the man with the drugs. It seemed like it took forever to actually get the epidural. I had to pee so badly and I had 3 contractions back to back while he was prepping me. He had to wait to get the needle in. Kathy said "Oooh he's giving you lots of good stuff!". I had a few more contractions that I felt and they were dwindling in intensity. Then I was so happy. Euphoric. Drugs are good, in the right context. Kathy checked me and I was 9.75 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She told me I could push and get rid of the small lip that remained. I declined and told her I'd rather enjoy the last few moments. My family came back in for a few minutes. I was so relived to have Brad there. I had been nervous that he would miss the birth.

Kathy came back in and told me I needed to start pushing. I kicked my family out (except Brad of course) and pushed. And I apparently peed all over Kathy. She decided she would put a catheter in which I would have loved to have all morning. While she was setting up for that, Dr. Gnam came in and peered over the curtain (did I mention he is VERY tall?). He said he was going to dictate a chart and would be right back. I pushed again and Kathy said "Get Dr. Gnam back in here!". I sort of half-pushed because I wanted my Dr. in there. Suddenly there was a flurry of activity and 10 different staff members must have been in my room. I pushed a few more times (7 pushes total) and our baby was out at 2:20!

Dr. Gnam held the baby up and covered up the gender-determining parts with his hand. He showed the baby off to everyone and asked us if we were ready. Then he moved his hand and Brad and I exclaimed "It's a BOY!". And he was beautiful. Pink. Perfect. Crying. I was so relieved. He scored 9 and 10 on his apgars. He weighed 5lb 11oz and was 18.5 inches long. While the nurses we assessing him, I asked Brad what we should name him. We had been totally settled on girl names but were unsure of boy names. Brad asked me what I thought. My doctor offered out his name - Edward Charles. I said "How about Reed Matthew?" Brad said he liked it and we got approval from the audience of staff.

They let me hold Reed for a few minutes while they got me and the room cleaned up and the bed set back up. Then our parents came in with Will and we got to introduce our second son to them and take our first picture as a family of 4. The nurses took Reed to the NICU and Brad went with them. I stayed in my room and tried to rest. Brad came back and I showered, then we ate McAlister's and celebrated our anniversary. We went to see Reed around 6:30. I started crying as soon as I saw him. He just looked so good! He had already had his first bottle and done well, so they let me nurse him. Our minister of music and his wife came and took pictures for us and prayed over us.

I feel so blessed and so thankful for everything that happened. To have a 33 week baby do so well was purely the Lord's doing. I certainly will never forget that anniversary gift and don't think we will come close to topping it.

Reed Matthew