Welcome Baby Lila- A Birth Story

In February, I was told that I wouldn’t make it to spring break (which was my goal and was also the night The Hunger Games came out at the theaters).  I was already dilated and measuring large (and I’m not a large girl so that in itself made me nervous).  Spring break was about a week and a half  before my actual due date.  My mother-in-law flew in from Asia on April 2, hoping the baby would make an appearance on her due date which was April 4.  Well, April 4th came and went.  Then another week passed by and this baby made no attempts to leave my body.  Sure, I was progressing at each appointment:

36 weeks – 2 cm, 60%
37 weeks – 2 cm, 70%
38 weeks – 2 cm, 70%
39 weeks – 3 cm, 70%
40 weeks – 4 cm, 80%
41 weeks – 5 cm, 80%

FIVE centimeters and yet no contractions – NOTHING.  On one hand, it was great that I was doing all of this naturally and slowly on my own.  My birth plan was to have a baby sans epidural and other drugs.  I’m not against epidurals or drugs by any means, but I am scared of needles.  When they showed us that needle and catheter in our birth class, it only concreted my decision to go without drugs.  Plus, I had heard that it will slow your labor down and why would I want that?  I’m much more of a “pull the band-aid off as fast as possible and get this over with” kind of person.  I also have a high pain tolerance, and with my labor progressing like it was, I believed (along with my doctor) that this could be done naturally.

On the other hand – the last 11 days (ELEVEN days!!!) were miserable.  I was doing anything and everything to try and get this baby out of my body.  I ate fresh pineapple, Indian food, Mexican food, spicy foods, eggplant parmesan, drank raspberry tea – anything that was mentioned that could induce labor was consumed by me.  I was getting my membranes stripped every time I went to the doctor for the past 4 weeks.  We were having sex, which promptly stopped after finding out I was 5 cm.  Joel resoundingly refused to do it anymore and I was quite ok with that.  We were walking for 4 miles every night.  NOTHING was making this baby come any faster.  Meanwhile, she just kept on growing, while (ironically enough) I lost weight according to the scale.

On April 13, my doctor set an induction date of April 15 at 6:30 pm.  I cried in her office that day and begged her to induce me immediately but nope – she wouldn’t do it.  She knew I was at my breaking point and I’m kinda glad she didn’t give into my whims that day.  Seeing how emotionally upset I was, Joel took the day off, and we spent it determined to have a great day.  Saturday, we strived to have the same attitude.  I decided that day, along with encouragement from my labor and delivery nurse friends, to take castor oil as a last ditch effort to have this baby.  On our nightly walk, instead of walking the 2 miles toward the hospital and the 2 miles home, we walked 1 mile to CVS where I purchased my desperation and we slowly walked 1 mile home.  I had a feeling I was going to go into labor soon because I was hurting to the point where I didn’t know if I would make it home.  But we did and then ate dinner that my mother-in-law made. **Side note – my mother-in-law was awesome during this time period.  Sure, she kept looking at me in the hopes that I would instantly go into labor, but she cooked, cleaned, and organized my house.  She went grocery shopping and was really great to have around, especially since she was really respectful of Joel and I having our own space and alone time.**

We started watching SNL, and I went into labor.  I stayed and labored at home for a few hours until I told Joel that I was really hurting and thought we needed to go to the hospital.  I knew that even if I wasn’t hurting that I could have gone into the hospital because being 5 cm, they wouldn’t turn me away (both my doctor and my nurse friends told me this). Funny moment – as I was checking myself in, a girl walked in and announced to the receptionist that she was FINALLY in labor and that the 3rd time there was a charm. I turned and looked at her.  This girl was dressed in real clothes (I’m wearing a tank and some pj pants) with a full face of make-up on (um, it was 1:30 am at this point).  This girl was NOT in labor and in fact, she looked mortified when I had a contraction and tried not to double over myself.  Turns out she was sent home a little while later.

I got back to my room and I was almost at 6 cm.  Within a few hours, I jumped to 8 cm where I stalled out for the next 5 hours.  The baby was not only very high up but also was facing my hip.  She wasn’t turned to where she could be delivered vaginally.  I am so thankful to have had two good friends as my labor and delivery nurses (who came in the middle of the night for me! Thankfully one of them was working that weekend so she was specifically my nurse that day) to not only encourage and support me, but also to be honest soundboards as to what interventions should be done during my delivery.  They started pitocin to try and get my contractions to really push her down; then they broke my water hoping that she would fall down lower in my pelvis.  No luck.  They tried wedging me (which is where they use blankets and pillows to pressure the baby to flip.  Once they got me into position, the pain was so excruciatingly awful I screamed, jerked myself the other way, and then began throwing up for the second time that night.  My friends told me that if they couldn’t get the baby to flip, then the doctor would be forced to do a c-section and the only way they could get the baby to flip was for me to get an epidural because this was “inhumane” to try on me again.  “Call the man!” I decided.  Because at the end of the day, I wanted to avoid a c-section at all costs.

I got the epidural and they tried wedging me again.  No luck.  The doctor then told me that she was no longer comfortable letting me labor.  I think a part of her concern was due to having a patient who was similar to me but had an awful experience (her uterus almost ruptured) and my doctor was just being extremely protective and cautious.  Do I blame her for that?  Nope, because I think that’s what makes her a great doctor is her concern for her patients.  She took Joel behind the curtain and began explaining to him how time was not on our side anymore and how I was off the labor curve and wouldn’t be able to give birth without a c-section.  As this conversation was taking place, I started crying to my friend and I asked if this really was going to happen.  She whispered to me that the only thing left was to do internal monitoring and after that – there really was nothing they could do, BUT I had to ask for it and she (the nurse) couldn’t ask the doctor about it.  I interrupted the conversation between my dr and Joel, saying something about how I remembered from my birthing class that we could use internal monitoring (THANK YOU THEATRE DEGREE FOR HELPING ME TO THINK QUICKLY ON MY FEET).  I promised her that if she let me use the monitors, and nothing worked that I would willingly go get a c-section.  She agreed that we could do internal monitoring but that I had ONE hour.  They placed the monitors and then started to wedge me again on the same side that made me throw up earlier.  Within 10 minutes of the wedge, I dilated to 10 and was ready to push.

At this point, I had been in labor for over 13 hours.  I was EXHAUSTED.  So they hooked up some kind of sugar water stuff to try and give me some energy since I had been up all night.  Apparently I was also delirious because I started making jokes about how this was my “go-go juice.”  If that makes no sense to you, please go to and immediately look up the Honey Boo-Boo Child.  I don’t know how many other people make Honey Boo-Boo Child jokes while pushing, but apparently I’m that type of person.  Then I pushed for TWO AND A HALF HOURS.  Surprisingly enough, my doctor spent almost the entire 2 and a half hours with us.  When they realized that the baby was huge (because she kept getting stuck under my public bone), they announced they would have to use the vacuum to get her out.  They called in another nurse and all of a sudden there were 3 nurses in my bed – one on each side of me and one behind me.  Joel was watching the baby and standing near the doctor.

FINALLY, Lila made an appearance, and they pulled her out and put her on my stomach.  First thoughts?  “Holy cow – that is not my baby – that baby is HUGE.”  Second thought – “Why does this child have curly hair?!”  (That would be due to my husband’s genes and definitely NOT mine).  They rubbed her down and after a few minutes they took her to the warmer where Joel followed and counted fingers and toes.  I did end up having stitches because HELLO I GAVE BIRTH TO A GINORMOUS BABY.  She was 9 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches long.  There was nothing little about this chunk.

I am so thankful that she came out and was perfectly healthy.  My birth plan didn’t go as I ideally wanted, but honestly, at the end of the day my birth plan included having a healthy baby.  THAT was the goal and it happened.  So I have nothing to be upset about and I have no regrets.  And the epidural (though it hurt going in) was great and not nearly as bad as what I read about online.  My doctor was so encouraging as I’m lying in the hospital, telling me that now that I have “a proven pelvis”, the next ones will just come right out with no problem.  I hope she’s right because being pregnant for 41 weeks and 5 days is just miserable.


I’m Ready

Famous last words. 

I’m ready to have a baby.  HAHAHAHAHA.  But – wait – I have gone through the Parenting, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding classes so techincally I’m about as prepared as someone can be who is told to hold a ticking time bomb. 

The second half of our parenting class was pretty informative as it went over precedures and good things to know about kids (vaccination schedules and other miscellaneous things like that).

We had the childbirth class this weekend and I was pretty disappointed in it.  I didn’t expect them to bend towards my preferences of how I personally want to give birth, but I was let down by how much “real life” experiences the instructor left out.  One of the best parts of the Parenting class was having this nurse give us her medical and personal commentaries.  Plus, it made the class more enjoyable.  This time, the woman didn’t really add any information that I wasn’t already getting from the powerpoint or booklet they gave us.  I did appreciate seeing all of the equipment used and knowing every possible senario of how this baby could possibly come out of my body.  I do have a birth plan, but I am not setting my heart and soul on it.  I’ve seen too many friends get too attached to their birth plans (to the point where it becomes dangerous for both mother and baby) and when they have to have emergency c-sections, they become devasted with their birth and really get upset at it.  Personally, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how the baby gets here as long as the baby ends up healthy and in the mother’s arms.  Would I like to avoid a c-section?  Absolutely.  But if something is wrong, then I want medical interventions.

I’m about to pre-register us for the hospital and go ahead and pay my co-pay.  We are definitely those people who like to get those types of things out of the way as early as we can.  Anyway, Joel and I are (technically) prepared to have a kid.  I mean, I did get a certificate on cardstock with our names on it.  Nothing’s more official than that.


Banking blood

**insert lame Twilight vampire joke here**

Joel and I have been researching about cord blood because when I got pregnant, those fliers were some of the propaganda I received in the mail.  The documents (as well as people who have done this) claim that “it’ll save them from cancer!  It will cure juvenile diabetes!  It will cure your child of a genetic disorder!”

But there’s no real proof that I can find of these claims.

Since my husband works in the cancer industry, we’ve asked his doctors, as well as my own, about their professional opinions regarding this subject.  All of them responded with a definite – it’s not worth it.  So many accomplishments are being claimed, but yet, none of those medical breakthroughs are actually happening in America. 

I came across this article today when I was doing some last minute research on it.

What those doctors said makes sense.  Why would you inject a sick child’s cord blood back into the body and ever think it would cure him?

I have a friend who decided to go through with the banking, and then the cord blood became “contaminated” and all was lost. 

I talked to another friend about it who confessed she wished she could have afforded it for the Just In Case situations that may arise.  But what do you do with the blood?  How long do you keep it?  Until the child is 18, married, or has her own kids?  Because with my luck, I’d throw it out when the child was 18 and then at 19 something disastrous would happen.  I fear that the cord blood bank system preys on the insecurities of new parents dealing with the whole “what if” situation.  The funeral home business is the exact same way – “Are you sure you don’t want to upgrade to the $10,000 coffin for your beloved parent who just passed away?”  **I’ve seen this happen so I feel I can comment on that one specifically.** 

I guess this is just how businesses work though.  Without the “what ifs” then there would be no business at all.  Did any of you decide to bank your child’s cord blood?  I’m not looking for controversy, but merely other [researched] ideas about the issue.

Parenting Part 1

So Joel and I endeavered on our first “parenting” class this weekend.  I asked my doctor about which of the classes offered by our local hospital she recommended.  And because Huntsville Hospital was having a special at the time, I signed up for Parenting, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding.  Oh and all of these classes will be completed within a 2.5 week time period.  It’s like learning EVERYTHING on speed.

So we went to our first marathon session of our parenting class, and as we walked in I (vainly) was thinking “Oh I’ve GOT this.”  I mean, I used to be a nanny to small babies and children throughout undergrad.  I’ve been around kids my whole life.  4 hours later, I’ve got sheets of paper with notes scribbled all over them.  I love that Joel and I both took notes AS IF WE WILL BE LOOKING FOR THAT FOLDER COME TIME OF CRYING CRISIS.  Silly new parents.

So, though some of you may be more educated than I am about these things, here are some items I found to be the most interesting:

  • Formula has a 1 hour limit for you to either use it or lose it.  You can’t reuse whatever is left over. 
  • Sourdough bread expands in water so don’t give your small child pizza crust as one of their foods in the first year because it’ll expand in their throats.
  • If you buy a range of baby foods/expose your child to a range of different foods, you’ll help him/her not to be a picky eater.  This makes sense because I naturally would pick out food items that sound good to me, even though I’m not the one eating it.
  • If you make your own baby food, make sure you don’t season it as you cook it.  I always cook green beans with a ton of seasonings and probably wouldn’t have thought of this until I was trying to feed it to my kid.
  • It takes a baby 2-3 weeks to be able to regulate her own body temperature.
  • Don’t use diaper rash cream unless prescribed by the doctor.
  • Never, ever use baby powder.

I feel so smart.

Say my name, say my name…

Here’s your daily dose of Beyonce.  You’re welcome.

Last week, Joel and I were at our small group, hanging out and eating dinner.  I was in the dining room with the ladies and Joel was in the kitchen with one of my girlfriends and two of my other friends’ husbands.  Starting the conversation, Emily asked Joel what we had decided on for a name for the baby.  Last time they had checked, we had nothing. 

Lily” he says with a smile.

One of the husbands looks shocked at his answer and Emily, with a concerned look on her face, says, “Oh, I thought you didn’t like ‘Lily’.”

“No, you’re right…I don’t…I don’t like that name at all.”

The other husband chimes in, “Dude, you can name your kid whatever you want.  Don’t feel pressured.”  (He thinks that Joel is now changing the name of the baby based on their reactions.)

But I don’t like that name.  You’re right…I don’t like ‘Lily.’

Later, when we all gathered back together, Joel and his gang recreate this story.  I sat there, shocked, and then asked him if he knew the name of our kid. 


Yes, Joel – that is correct.  So every couple of days I ask him again JUST TO MAKE SURE he hasn’t forgotten.  We got the name with some help from Swistle’s Baby Name Blog .  There you can find our complete story when it comes to how the heck to name this baby.  We’ve definitely settled on Lila (even though a person from my church JUST had a baby and named her Lila also – grr) and I”m about 80% sure the middle name will be Elizabeth.  Once we are 100% on the full name, I’m going to email Swistle and let her know what we decided on. 

We’ve seen her face (thanks to the awesome 4D photos) and we have a name – let the countdown begin!  T-10 weeks!

The future of technology

Last week, Joel and I had the 4D ultrasound pictures.  Friends kept telling us how much we would wish we had them and that they are worth every penny.  You have to pay a separate fee for the pictures, which I didn’t think was too much to ask considering I haven’t paid hardly anything during all of my prenatal visits.  We get all lined up for the technician and low and behold, it was one of the most fascinating things we’ve ever done.  I am SO GLAD we did these pictures!  I am so excited to meet this little girl (yes, it’s a girl – I had them check AGAIN which Joel thought was ridiculous).

Here is the picture that resembles Joel.  Notice the furrowed brow and how she seems to be burdened by all of her hardships.  (Not that Joel really has a ton of hardships, but out of the two of us, he’s definitely the serious one).

This is the photo that I believe will best describe her personality.  Do you see the LET’S PARTY Y’ALL written all over her face?  It makes me a little nervous that she’ll never sleep.  It is nice though because now I have a visual for all of the times she beats me up and acts crazy in the middle of the night.

And then there’s this sweet photo.  Look at her sleeping!  It gives me hope that YES, she will sleep in between all of her partying.  Joel says this is exactly what I look like when I’m sleeping (and no, I don’t find that to be creepy considering I sleep all the time these days).

I assume she will come out looking like Joel but for now my lips have pwned (like my video game lingo?)  his lip genetics.  A friend of mine said that her 4D ultrasound looked identical to her but then she gave birth to her husband’s clone.  Either way, she is healthy and seems to be having a good time.  I’m hoping she has this same pleasant disposition in real life also.  OH and if they are getting these types of pictures in 2012, what in the world will be available in 2037?

Recap of 2011

I completely stole this from my friend Sarah.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? I got pregnant.  Yes, I’m counting that.   I mean, we had never tried to have a baby before but it was nice that it happened.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No.  One of my resolutions was to go take Joel to Europe and run a half marathon (but settle for a 10K).  I didn’t do either of those.  I did, however, run a 5K without training.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Oh my!  Yes!  There were three babies born just in the past few months.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit? Nada

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? Constant peace about life decisions and confidence that whatever choice I AM making is the correct one.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April – the disastrous tornadoes that wrecked our state.  I remember Joel still trying to study for his board examination by candlelight.  The end of the school year – I had this feeling of 100% accomplishment and survival.  I was so proud that I was also one of the few non-tenured employees asked to come back and teach at my school.  June- Joel passed his board examinations.  This has been quite the process for both of us over the past 5 years.  But thankfully, being the genius he is, he passed, which means I don’t have to lose my husband for months at a time every other year.  Late July – seeing a positive pregnancy test and taking another one because I totally didn’t believe it.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Having over 50% of my kids pass the AP Exam.  I was/am so proud of them and how well I feel like I got the information across to them.  It helped that I had an extremely smart group of kids too.

9. What was your biggest failure? This fall – I tried to switch things up a bit in my AP class and I don’t know that I’m doing as great as I did last year.  But the kids are still performing at the right level (compared to last year) so I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing.  Although I’ll switch things back next time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Thankfully, I stayed pretty healthy besides the sinus infection from hell when I first got pregnant.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I bought Joel the nicest leather bag from Fossil for when he passed his board examination.  Other than that, I guess the coat I bought at Anthropologie that I blogged about would be my favorite thing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? One of Joel’s younger brothers graduated from college and came back to live with us for a month or so while he waited to move into grad school at Auburn.  He lived with Joel when he first moved to America before college and throughout the years, he has grown into such an amazing person.  He is so helpful and fun to have in my house that I seriously wouldn’t mind if he didn’t go to grad school and just lived with us instead.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I’ve constantly been surprised by people and their terrible behaviors.  I don’t know WHY because it’s not like these people kept their selfishness/bad habits a secret.  I think I’m learning to just automatically quit believing that people are (as Anne Frank said) “good at heart.”  Add in the disappointing feeling of having the cleaning lady steal my engagement ring and diamond necklace.

14. Where did most of your money go? Mortgage and Joel’s student loans. We took every penny I made for almost a year and put it solely towards his student loans.  In June, we paid off his student loans and completely celebrated with a fancy dinner.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My best friend got engaged!  I was so excited because I knew it was coming and I was in on the ring and everything.  And I LOVE her fiance.  He’s fantastic.  I’m super excited that their wedding is in a week!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? Coldplay’s “Paradise”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter? (I’m pregnant so I don’t know if this counts)
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?  Relaxed.  I so often get tense and panic about stupid things but I just need to relax and not worry about things out of my control.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Stressed.

20. How did you spend Christmas? All of Joel’s siblings came into town – which was great until all the guys (Joel, 3 brothers, and his brother in law) began puking Sunday  night and all day Monday.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? Why yes, I did.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I still love The Closer and I’m really bummed that it’s ending next year.  I love the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills along with Top Chef.  But as for new shows – Up All Night has to be one of the best new shows on TV.

23. This question has been deleted because it’s SOOO teenage emo Xanga shit. This was Sarah’s answer and I like it.

24. What was the best book you read? Divergent, hands down. —Also Sarah’s answer and a VERY good one at that.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Coldplay is a pretty good band.  YES, I’m like 5 years too late for this revelation but better late than never.

26. What did you want and get?  Pregnant.

27. What did you want and not get? An embroidery machine.  But I’m saving and still researching so I’m slowly getting there.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Harry Potter finale, Bridesmaids, and Crazy, Stupid, Love

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 27 on the 27th and we had a low-key day filled with lunch with great friends, a baking demonstration, and an amazing homemade dinner the night before.  It was great.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not letting other people’s issues fill my happy space.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? I love cardigans.

32. What kept you sane? Joel

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I am finding Ryan Gossling to be quite the wonderboy now that he’s grown up.  I wasn’t a big fan of him in The Notebook, but now…yowzas.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Most of the bullcrap associated with education and how people in Washington believe they know what is best for my kids in my classroom in a small town in Alabama.

35. Who did you miss? I miss my friends from college. There were some who had great hours of need and I physically could not be there for them (due to distance and other factors) and it broke my heart.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I have become great friends with some co-workers who I love dearly.  They have become some of my closest friends and I adore them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Relax.  There’s nothing you can do about it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” – Wicked