Monday, December 5, 2011

{ A Thanksgiving Blessing }

My dad and a close family friend (Donna) drove down from Ohio to visit us for Thanksgiving. They arrived around 1:30pm on Thanksgiving day. After some playtime with Grandpa and a tour of the house for Donna, the younger kids settled down for naps while Th and the adults chatted and  I finished up dinner preparations.

We ate our Thanksgiving meal around 4:30pm, I cleaned up and then prepared dessert while the kids and other adults played outside, enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures. Shortly before 7pm the kids came in and began their bedtime routines of showers/baths. We then sat and enjoyed a variety of desserts prepared by both Donna and myself. Once dessert was over, bedtime for the kids was not far behind, and by 8:30pm all of the adults were gathered in the living room for the evening.

The busyness of the day left me exhausted and as I sat watching TV and chatting with the family, I realized I was having mild contractions accompanied by cramping. They were not anything serious, and by no means close together, but they were strong enough to get my attention. When we went to bed about 11:15pm, I briefly mentioned the contractions/cramping to TJ just to keep him informed as to how I was feeling. I immediately fell asleep and slept great...until about 3:15AM.

I woke to find a pain in my lower right side, and thinking it was because my bladder was full, I used the bathroom. Upon returning to bed, I found it difficult to get comfortable and the more I tossed and turned, the more contractions I had again accompanied by cramping. After trying for more than an hour to get back to sleep, I decided to get up and take a bath to see if that helped to relax me. I woke TJ to tell him of my plan (so he wouldn't worry if he woke & found me not in bed) and he mumbled "Okay" and rolled back over to sleep. =)

Once in the bathroom, I again used the potty before getting into the bathtub. It was then I saw spotting and knew the situation was more serious than I had thought. I proceeded to get in the tub but the contractions only became stronger and more frequently. Finally, about 5am, I made the decision to wake TJ so we could prepare to head to the hospital. He asked if he needed to do anything immediately and upon hearing me say "No", he told me to wake him when I was ready to go and again rolled back over to sleep. =)

Because I was just 36 weeks that day, I was not prepared for a hospital stay. I opened the door to the crawl space under the house to search for a suitcase, stopping only to breath through each contraction. Since Donna was asleep in T.G.'s room, T.G. was asleep on the floor in our room. I didn't want to turn on the light and wake her so I used the light from my cell phone to pull clothes out of my drawer and throw into the suitcase. In my haste to get to the hospital, I couldn't think clearly enough to remember what to bring. Let's just say I'm thankful we live close to the hospital so TJ could bring me the items I forgot. =)

Once I was packed up and ready to go, I again woke TJ and put a phone call into the doctor's office. In the meantime, TJ woke my dad, explained the situation, and gave instructions for the kids upon their awakening. We then got in the car and headed for the hospital. We arrived shortly before 6am. The nurse took me to the "Triage" room where she checked me, asked if this was my first baby, and, after picking her jaw up from the floor because of my response, immediately escorted TJ and I to a L&D room.  I was given a hospital gown, an IV was inserted, and preparations for delivery were made. The doctor and anesthesiologist were paged, and we waited for them both, all the while I tried to breath through my contractions. About 7:15am I received an epidural and at 7:45am the doctor came in. And about 5 minutes later he left...Let's just say I was not very happy with him!

He informed me that he was going off-shift and the next doctor coming on had a C-section scheduled for 8am. He was only "hanging around" until after she finished the C-section in case there were women, like me, in labor. But, since my water hadn't yet broke, he wanted me to wait until the female doctor could deliver. I was upset because, although I had an epidural, I could still feel the contractions and I was in a great deal of pain on my right side. I simply wanted the baby out!!

A ceiling tile in my L&D room...supposed to help me to focus on my breathing & not the pain.
My hero, I mean my doctor, arrived about 9:15am and immediately broke my water. A few pushes later Taryn Eileen arrived at 9:26am. She was 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 19.75 inches long. She has dark hair and a round face like her siblings.
Shortly after birth
Taryn did not do so well for the first 24 hours. She did not eat (nurse or bottle) and had problems with mucus in her stomach. She actually choked so badly (complete with turning blue) at one point that she was taken to the NICU for observation for a couple of hours. It was rather scary for me because I was alone at that point and didn't really know what was going on with her. Thankfully my nurse was sweet and kept me informed, and she didn't mind that I called her a few times just to check on the baby.
Th was the first to hold her (being the eldest has its privileges)

Despite his tough exterior, Ta couldn't WAIT to hold the baby! =)
We left the hospital Sunday afternoon and Taryn's discharge weight was around 6 pounds, 3 ounces. She was seen by her pediatrician last Monday and was up an ounce to 6.4 pounds. By Thursday she had gained another 2..5 ounces. Taryn returns this upcoming Thursday and the goal is to be up to 6.12 pounds. I am both nursing and giving her formula, and her feedings vary between every 2-4 hours (of course at night it's more frequent).
The "Mini Mommy" & her baby

So far she is a good baby and the biggest challenge for me is trying to keep her safe from her siblings. Annie and the other girls all want to help care for her, and sometimes they aren't as gentle as they should be. =) I know their intentions are good but it is often overwhelming for me as they literally fight over the baby.
Teagan couldn't believe she really came out of my belly. =)

We've had help in the form of family staying to help with the other children, friends taking some of the other children, meals, and of course prayers. I am still rather unstable emotionally and yesterday as I finished getting all the girls and myself ready for church, I began to cry in the bathroom. I was physically and mentally exhausted from the process! I know it will take time to adjust, but the lack of sleep and extra time needed for feedings is taking its toll. I am still also trying to keep Th on track with his schooling (so thankful he is a diligent student & willing to be flexible with me!) so that we won't get too far behind. I am thankful I pushed him hard in the beginning of the year because we are actually 5 days ahead of schedule but I don't want to stop him for Christmas break yet because we are not at good stopping points. This week we'll end 2 subjects so next week we'll only have to focus on 4...should be an easy and managable task that will keep him on track and allow me time to continue to adjust to life as a family of 8.
My dad & Taryn
(so thankful the Lord allowed him to be visiting with us!)

A shot just to put her tiny size into perspective...the carseat swallows her up!

Wow. Still can't believe I have 6 kids. I'm beginning to wonder if my quiver is full, although somehow I doubt it...  =)
Close up of her face

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