For the sake of my memory, the scrapbook, and anyone who may be curious about the details, I thought it would be fun to tell Caroline's story. Disclaimer: this might be the longest post ever, so kudos if you make it through the entire thing.
Caroline Rae was born the morning of Sunday, October 9th (I was day one of 35 weeks; my due date was November 11th), but let's back up a bit...
|We took this picture thinking that I would do a post about 35 weeks--little did we know that it would be about her birth story instead! This picture was taken the morning I went into labor! :)|
On Monday, October 3rd I started having some cramp-like feeling in my lower abdomen. It wasn't the slightest bit consistent--it would come and go--and it wasn't very painful. I tried to dismiss it from my mind and told myself that since I had never made it to 35 weeks with Will, that maybe it was normal to feel this way towards the end. It continued off and on through Tuesday and I started having the nagging feeling that maybe I should talk to my nurse about it. In the back of my mind, I remembered having similar pains a few days before Will was born but I dismissed it. On Tuesday night I spent time with some of my closest friends, and I remember mentioning how I was feeling to Becky. She did a great job of not jumping to conclusions, but encouraged me to call the doctor the next day.
On Wednesday, October 5th, I dropped Will off at school and immediately called my nurse. I was fully expecting her to explain it away, but instead she asked me to come in to see my doctor that afternoon. Given my history, I don't think they wanted to leave anything to chance--ha! So one of my dearest friends watched Will that afternoon while I went in for a "quick" visit. Since I technically didn't have an appointment, it took over two hours to see my doctor. He had emergency surgery, so I was stuck in the waiting room for what seemed like forever. Thank goodness Will didn't come with me! After a sonogram & talking things over, I felt much better. I wasn't the slightest bit dilated and he just encouraged me to drink more water and rest as much as possible. He said that cramping can be normal if you're dehydrated, so I vowed to drink more, rest more, and I was on my way home.
The cramping continued off and on through Thursday & Friday, but since I had just been to the doctor I tried not to think about it. Life went on as normal--Will went to school & I worked a few hours on Friday. The pain didn't get worse and it stayed inconsistent, so I kept pushing it out of my mind. Matt and I had plans to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary that weekend (we got married on October 8th), so his sister came in town for the weekend to watch Will. Matt surprised me with a swanky hotel room in Ft. Worth, and we had a fabulous dinner to celebrate at The Lonesome Dove. Little did we know that would be our last date night for a while!
|Celebrating our anniversary in Ft. Worth|
|Date night at The Lonesome Dove|
On Saturday morning (October 8th--our anniversary), the pain felt a little more intense when I woke up. Still not consistent or super painful, just a little more annoying. We thought that maybe I was just hungry, so we got some breakfast. I remember not wanting to "cry wolf", but started watching the clock as we were driving around. The pain would come every 5-6 min, but only last about 15 seconds. I never experienced Braxton Hicks contractions with Will, so I thought that was all it was. I texted back-and-forth with my sweet friend, Kelly, and researched BH contractions. I still wasn't convinced either way, so we decided to follow doctor's orders and get a giant jug of water and go back to the hotel to rest. This continued for several hours without changing, so after watching some football we decided to get an early dinner. Even though they didn't completely go away, I felt much better after eating. I was really encouraged and thought it would stop! However, after trying to take a nap after we got back to the room, it started to get more painful. They still weren't lasting very long--only 15-30 sec--but now they were 2-3 min apart. I read that walking can help, so I remember walking up & down the hotel hallway willing myself to stop.
During my walk, I started keeping a log of the contractions. They consistently stayed 2-3 min apart, but now they were lasting 25-35 seconds and getting a little more painful. Matt encouraged me to call my friend, Tara, who was a labor/delivery nurse. I told her how I was feeling and she agreed that it sounded like BH sine they weren't really painful and they weren't lasting longer than ~30 seconds. She encouraged me to take a bath & said that true labor would continue, but BH should stop after taking a bath. Since our hotel room only had a shower, I had an awkward conversation with a guy at the front desk trying to figure out if I could use another room to take a bath. I'm sure he thought I was crazy! After a little negotiating I used a room down the hall and took a relaxing bath. I was encouraged because I started feeling better--as long as I didn't move that is. The minute I would sit up or when I got out of the bath, the contractions would continue. I called Tara back and she told me to try and get some rest, but if it continued for another hour to call the doctor. I hung up the phone and Matt said, "you know there is no way either of us are going to sleep. We need to go to the hospital". I honestly thought they were going to send us home saying it was false labor, so when Matt started packing the bags I was confused. He said that we needed to check out of the hotel and even if it wasn't true labor, we were going home. I realized that they romantic anniversary weekend was over and I started to cry. Matt was wonderful and encouraged me that she was more important than a hotel room, and he was right. I called my doctor and he said that he would see me at the hospital. We checked out of the hotel and we were on our way.
I'll never forget that ride to the hospital. The contractions started getting closer and they were getting pretty intense. It was clear that they weren't BH and that I really was in labor. Good thing Matt made the decision to go to the hospital! We got there right at midnight and went straight to the labor & delivery unit. After getting settled, my nurse checked to see if I was dilated. I think we all thought it was false labor, but quickly realized it was the real deal when she discovered I was already 4cm dilated. Yikes! Since my water hadn't broken (the exact opposite of Will!), we were hoping to stop the contractions with medication. Well, nothing worked and I kept laboring and dilating. When I got to 7cm, it was clear that we weren't going to be able to stop it and she was ready to come. I got my epidural and thankfully got some relief. I don't know how epidurals effect other girls, but with both of my babies they make me extremely sleepy. I was able to get some rest and napped in-between contractions.
A few hours later (around 7:30am), I was 10cm and thought it was about time to push. However, we discovered that she was head down, but facing the wrong way. She was looking at my tummy instead of my spine. So for the next 2-3 hours we tried to turn her over. They put me in all these crazy positions and would tell me not to move for 30 min. They would check again, and the cycle would continue of crazy position, not moving, and checking again. Finally after several hours, my doctor was able to turn her himself and after 15 min of pushing, she was here at 10:18am! Her Apgars were 8/9 (just like her brother), and she was a healthy 6lb 5oz. The main difference this time was that she didn't have to be rushed to the NICU and stayed with us in the room! It was amazing to hold her right away. We spent the rest of the day celebrating with family and cuddling with our sweet girl.
|Her first picture after she was all cleaned up|
|First picture of mommy & Caroline|
|First picture with our sweet girl|
|Her tiny footprints|
Monday was full of visits from friends and continued celebration. Caroline was doing great--she took immediately to nursing, and she seemed happy to sleep all day. At night, I would send her to the nursery in-between feedings so I could rest and recover. Early Tuesday morning, around 4:00am, my nurse woke me up to tell me that Caroline had a couple of apnea episodes where she forgot to breathe for a few seconds. To be on the safe side they wanted to put her in the NICU for observation. By the time I was able to see her again, she was hooked up to monitors and the journey of the NICU was upon us once again.
|Matt's sister, Annette, was in town for the weekend to watch Will while we celebrated our anniversary. Perfect timing! We were so glad that she was here to meet Caroline on her birthday!|
|Caroline also got to meet her GJ & Papa!|
|Special time with Daddy|
|We love our Aunt B!|
|Caroline got to meet her MiMi too!|
|We can't wait until Caroline's BFF makes her arrival in December! Between Carter & Will, and now Caroline & Alli, we have lots of fun times in store with the Tramontes!|
|My friend, Erin & her little guy, Duke came to meet Caroline|
|Me, Jama, and our girls :)|
|We love the Greggs!! I'm sure Lila & Caroline will become fast friends.|
|Beautiful flowers to celebrate our baby girl|
|And of course, the most important visitor of all--Caroline's big brother!|
|Meeting for the first time|
Caroline was doing great, but every so often she would forget to breathe after eating. She never needed oxygen support, but continued to require close monitoring for a few days. The policy of the NICU was to go 3-5 days without having an alarm go off. Luckily my mom stayed with us all week and helped take care of Will while I spent the day at the NICU. I would stay all day to be there to nurse Caroline every 3hours, and then go home around 6:00 to see Will for about an hour before he went to bed. To say the least, we were exhausted by the weekend. We thought she was coming home on Friday, but they extended her stay until Saturday to be on the safe side.
|Special time with Daddy in the NICU|
|Love those rolls! :)|
|Her first sweet smile|
|Our little peanut|
|Passing the stress test with flying colors|
|Getting ready to go home|
|On our way!|
|Sweet big brother welcoming his sister home|
|He loves her already!|
|Our little family of 4|
Precious Caroline Rae-- we are beyond blessed to call you our own. You already have such a sweet spirit and have brought us tremendous joy from the start. We are so lucky to have an extra month with you in our arms, and we are loving every minute we have with you. We love you beyond words, and can't wait to see the girl you are going to become!