Happy 1st Birthday to our little Isaac!!! I can't believe that he's my little 1-year-old now! This past year has flown by in many ways and today marks one year ago that our little angel boy came into our lives. Isaac has brought so much joy and happiness to our family and we love him so much. I have loved being a mom more than I ever imagined and although not every day is easy, every day is worth it for this little guy. I never really shared Isaac's birth story after he was first born and therefore will now make a record of it:
December 18, 2009 was my last day of work at the dental office as well as Manuel's last day of finals for his undergrad education at BYU. Isaac was due the 27th and I had figured to give myself a week after my last day of work to just sit at home and relax until Isaac came. Everyone kept telling me he wouldn't come until January because first babies almost always come later than their due date. I was anxious for Isaac to come before Christmas because I wanted to be at home for the holidays with my little Christmas present. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I was getting concerned that Isaac wasn't moving around quite as much some days and since I'd heard some pretty scary stories, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't ignoring anything important. I had gone into the hospital a couple of times for some non-stress tests and they had verified that Isaac wasn't moving as much and had a bit of a lower heart rate but it wasn't anything too concerning unless when I was to get checked again with my doctor, it remained the same. Well, sure enough, Isaac's heart rate was back to normal and he was correctly positioned. Sometimes I had a little bit of a difficult time determining his position since there wasn't much room left and I thought he was a little sideways (which ended up not being the case). Well, as I said, I finished my last day of work and went home, excited to give all my focus to the growing baby inside me and the upcoming holidays. The following day (Saturday), I felt that I needed to go into the hospital to get checked again since I hadn't felt much movement. Maybe I was also a little paranoid, but I didn't want to take any chances. They conducted another non-stress test and just about everything looked alright, except I had developed a bit of high blood pressure. The previous Tuesday was the last appointment I had had with my doctor and everything was fine then so I had just developed it since that appointment. My doctor had gone out of town, actually to take his wife to New York for her birthday and so the on-call doctor came to check on me while I was at the hospital. He ordered me to do a 24-hour urine sample analysis and instructed me to take the sample in the next day to the lab at the hospital. So, I did as I was told and started it immediately after we got home that day. It was nice to have Manuel with me at this point since he had finished school and wasn't yet working. Sunday morning, I began feeling some contractions which had simply started coincidentally and were coming about every 10 minutes. We decided not to go to church that morning in case the contractions got closer together or more intense. I took a nap that morning and after the nap, I stopped feeling the contractions coming. I was starting to feel a little restless because I had been laying in bed for a long while so I asked Manuel if we could go walk around somewhere. It was pretty cold outside and the only place I could think of that was indoors to walk around on a Sunday was the Provo mall. After dropping off my urine sample, we headed to the mall to see if I could get a little relief from the aching muscles I had from being in bed for so long. Almost immediately after walking through the doors into the mall, I felt a little leak and thought maybe it was my water. We walked the distance of the mall until we reached Dillard's and I went into the restroom to check if that was really what I felt or maybe I had just had an embarrassing accident! I confirmed it and came out to tell Manuel I thought that my water was leaking. So we decided to leave and just before walking out of the mall, I felt more of a leak. We walked to the car and stopped at home to make sure the hospital wanted me to come in. They told me on the phone that even if it was just a leak, they wanted to admit me. So we got our hospital bag and drove to the hospital. Once we got there, they had to make sure that it was really my water that leaked and sure enough it was. From then on, it was relieving to know that I was there to have the baby and we wouldn't be leaving there without our little Isaac. Oh, and when they checked to see if it was my water, they actually broke it completely and now I will never wonder the difference between a leak and a gush! It was a strange feeling to say the least. Because just the day before they had gotten concerned with my high blood pressure, they got me hooked up to the monitor right away. It was still high, at times pushing over 160. I didn't come to understand the dangers of that (for both mother and baby) until after I actually gave birth. Because it was high, they put me on magnesium sulfate to bring it down. It seemed to help but I wasn't really having contractions even though my water had broke, so they decided it was best to induce me further with pitocin. After that, I felt a lot of pain with the contractions. I was dilated at a 2 when I had arrived to the hospital and I thought 'Man, if this is the pain I'm feeling dilated at a 2, what is it going to be like when I get to a 10?!' Throughout my pregnancy, I had planned to have a natural birth without any drugs but I was always keeping an open mind in case things didn't go as planned. I tried to get through the pain of the contractions with the help of Lamaze breathing techniques I had learned in the class Manuel and I had attended. But I wasn't getting much relief, especially since I had been confined to my bed because I had to be continually monitored for the high blood pressure and the pitocin I was on. I wasn't able to try any different positions to manage the pain which became frustrating. After about 6 hours of this, the nurse had come in to check me a couple of times to see where I was at and after 6 hours, I had only dilated 1 centimeter. I felt frustrated by this. I felt that nothing was happening and if I continued to suffer like that and not dilate after several hours, I may end up needing a C-section if labor went too long. After trying a lesser drug to help the pain and not feeling any relief, I decided to go for the epidural. I was a little scared to get it because I was more afraid of the needle than the actual pain I could feel from labor. They brought in the anesthesiologist who inserted the needle just as I was having a contraction. That was painful! It was so much pressure all at once. But within literally a minute or two, I felt immediate relief from the pain I had been experiencing. I was finally able to rest for a little while. They came back in a couple more times to check me, and just a few hours after the epidural was placed, I had fully dilated and was ready to start pushing. I think more than anything, the epidural really helped my body to relax which in turn helped me to dilate. I felt great. I was very alert and I was really enjoying the experience. The doctor came in after I had already started pushing with the help of my husband and the attending nurse to further along the process. Even though I really didn't feel much pain while pushing, the energy it took out of me left me completely exhausted. I pushed for just under half an hour and out came Isaac! At the sound of his cry, I became quite emotional. It was such a beautiful experience and to hear my baby's first cry, there was no sweeter sound in the world! Isaac was born just after midnight, 12:17 am on Monday, December 21, 2009. I was able to begin nursing him about 5 minutes after he was born and it was a wonderful bonding moment, and Isaac took right to it. I feel very fortunate that he grasped on so quickly because I know it doesn't come easy for every mother and child. I remember shaking a lot after delivery, especially my legs, just from sheer exhaustion, and it was a little hard to get control of at first. They finally wheeled me down to my hospital room I would be staying in while Manuel accompanied Isaac to the nursery for his first bath and check-ups. I remember I was able to get up and walk around almost immediately and I felt great, awake and alert. And I really only stayed one night because we left the hospital just before noon on Tuesday. I had gotten my wish! We were able to take Isaac home and be home for Christmas. I have to say, although I had originally wanted a natural birth without drugs, I believe my decision to get an epidural was a good one, especially in my situation and I was able to have a wonderful labor and birth experience. I understand our bodies are made for handling the pain associated with this life experience, but I also feel that getting an epidural was a completely safe and healthy decision. Isaac didn't show any negative effects and I was alert and felt great after giving birth. I feel that because of the choice I made to get it, I was able to more fully enjoy my experience of bringing a child into this world and I was still able to have a natural birth. I'm grateful for the hospital staff and for the doctor that delivered Isaac because they did a great job, making me feel as comfortable as possible and also knowing how important it was to watch my health so closely during that time. When I think back on those special moments, I have many positive memories and I'm so glad I had my wonderful husband Manuel at my side supporting me the whole way through. He was awesome! I'm so glad that we have Isaac and that he is a healthy and happy boy. It will be wonderful to watch our family as it continues to grow and to experience and share many more wonderful memories!
All ready for Christmas...well almost! There are still a few things we need to get gift-wise and I'm going to get the Christmas cards mailed out tomorrow. But the house is all decorated and as soon as Manuel's done with finals this week, I'm going to start baking like crazy as well as finish the last details of Isaac's birthday party. Here are some pictures that we took of the decorations we put up in our humble little home. Can't wait to post pictures from Isaac's party. Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season!