Friday, February 28, 2014

Welcome to the Family Brynlee Burdge!

People kept asking me about my lack of pregnancy posts. Let's just say that making a baby is really hard and I'd rather forget the misery that accompanied the end of this pregnancy. Although the original due date was February 22nd, it was pushed back a week to February 28th since baby measured small in the ultrasound. I suspected that the baby would come early since I had a feeling the first due date was right. As I got bigger and more uncomfortable at the end of this pregnancy, I kept having mixed feelings about whether or not I wanted her to come. Although I was ready to have my body back, I was having crazy anxiety over how the stars would align when I went into labor. Both cars stopped working about two weeks before the due date. Austin was also overwhelmed with school and trying to survive a difficult endocrinology/reproduction unit. We wanted him to finish the academic block so that he wasn't stressed out when baby came. I started praying really hard that the baby would come at the best possible time, and that everything would go smoothly. Prayers are answered. Brynlee Renae couldn't have come at a better time (except for if she came during the day instead of making me labor through the night...) We got the stratus fixed on Wednesday, which was such a relief. Austin did well on his test on Friday, and I went into labor later that night after I had officially given the baby permission to come.

I really started to think that the baby would go all the way to her due date or even over since there was absolutely no ripening of my cervix or progress at all during my last few prenatal check-ups. I was completely dismayed when Dr. Hasenyager announced on Friday, February 21st that my cervix was so posterior that she couldn't even tell how dilated I was or even strip my membranes. She set up an induction appointment at the hospital for March 2nd in case the baby didn't come on her own. I was kinda depressed by thought of having to be pregnant for another whole week. I should have recognized the nesting energy that I had after my doctors appointment. (One of the hardest parts about this pregnancy was my constant lethargy which made it extremely difficult to keep up with Lydia and my household chores.) I actually did a couple loads of laundry, ran some errands, went grocery shopping, and made & cleaned up dinner - this was definitely atypical for my third trimester and I was feeling pretty good about myself.

A strong contraction woke me up at about 2:45 am. I was really frustrated because I suffered through many fake labors during this pregnancy that only resulted in a lot of pointless pain and sleepless nights. Because the doctor didn't think the baby would come on her own anytime soon, I figured that it was just another fake labor and I was really grumpy. Austin had already been up for an hour with a sinus headache, and he was playing a computer game in the living room. At first he also assumed that it was another fake labor, but he started timing the contractions anyway. The contractions started at about three minutes apart, but they sometimes came at five minute or minute and a half intervals. (This was typical of my fake labors.) However, after about an hour and a half of contractions, Austin realized that he could predict exactly when a contraction would start and that they seemed to be getting worse. I was still in denial and it took Austin about fifteen minutes to convince me that it was time to call the doctor. The nurse couldn't get a hold of the doctor at the time I called, but she told me to come straight to the hospital. From talking to the nurse, I realized that I had probably been in denial and that this was real labor. We frantically threw everything together. I didn't even bother to change out of my pjs, although Austin dressed nice for the hospital. Our sweet neighbor, Katie Rogerson, thankfully answered her phone at 4:30 am and took Lydia's monitor for us.

The drive to the hospital was long. I may have tried to (unsuccessfully) convince Austin to run a couple of red lights on the way. When we got to the hospital at about 5 am I was still really posterior and only dilated to a two. However, the fact that they could even tell that I was dilated meant that at least something was happening. They monitored me and the baby for a while and then decided to have Austin and I walk the halls for half and hour and see if there was any progress. We only made it around the loop of the maternity ward once before I had to go back to the room since there may have been some nausea and I was starting to get to a point where I couldn't silently endure the pain of the contractions. The nurses kept making fun of me for saying sorry, but I was determined to suffer in silence and that resolve wasn't going so well... After the half hour was up, the nurse checked me again and was amazed that I was already dilated to a six.

Austin tried not to laugh when she asked me to rate my pain and I said a four. I didn't want her to think I was a pansy, and I knew that I still had a long way to go. The nurse called for the anesthesiologist for my epidural, but alas, he was in the middle of a surgery. The thought of the relief that I experienced from the epidural during Lydia's birth was the only thought that kept me mentally sane at that point. After what felt like an eternity, the anesthesiologist finally came and gave me an epidural. I was already going through transitional labor at this point and could hardly sit still. I was dilated to an eight, and in retrospect I am shocked that they still gave me one. The doctor kept pushing on my back trying to get me in place. I don't know if I moved too much, but my lower back has been killing me ever since. I also get really itchy with the epidural, and Austin kept trying to keep me from scratching myself. I really should have just gone natural.

Pretty much as soon as I had the epidural, it was time to push and Dr. Hasenyager arrived. With Lydia I pushed for only twenty minutes and she came popping out - with an epidural. This time was not so easy. I pushed for over an hour and there was no progress. I realized that the doctor seemed to be conspiring with Austin and the nurses and the contractions slowly started to return and were accompanied with the urge to push and the extremely unpleasant burning ring of fire. They had to lower the dosage of pain medication so I would know when and how to push. It worked. The doctor asked Austin if he wanted to deliver the baby, since she knew he was a medical student. Austin jumped at the opportunity and put on some scrubs and gloves. I recall him chatting with the doctor in medical terminology as I was pushing with all my might and trying not to scream. At 9:25 am Brynlee Renae Burdge was born, and her father was the first one to hold her.

It was such an incredible feeling of relief and joy as I saw Austin holding our daughter for the first time. I was worried because she didn't want to cry, but she was breathing fine. She weighed eight pounds exactly and measured at twenty and a half inches long. It is amazing how you can get a sense of who your baby is from just those precious moments as you cradle them for the first time. Brynlee seemed so mellow and sweet, and so far she has been a very content and happy baby who only cries halfheartedly when she absolutely needs to. We love her shock of dark hair that actually survived the delivery. She already has more hair than Lydia! I was delighted to discover that she is a champion at nursing, which has helped her regain her birth-weight exceptionally fast. Austin and I were amazed that we could love another little baby as much as we love our sweet Lydia. My heart has definitely expanded, and I'm so grateful to have Brynlee in our family!

As soon as they heard that Brynlee was definitely coming, Lee and Joni (Austin's parents) hopped in their car and started driving from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee. We were very blessed to have them come help us and to take care of Lydia so Austin and I could bond with our new baby while I was at the hospital. The first time that Lydia met her baby sister, she tried very hard to ignore her. The second time, though, she was very excited about tickling and kissing the baby's little fingers and toes. We about died from overexposure to cuteness. I now have hope that this will be a good transition for Lydia as I can see that she already loves her little sister.

I really enjoyed my stay at the hospital, which I didn't think was possible. With Lydia we were anxious to leave and even asked to be discharged a day early. However, I soaked up every minute of this hospital experience. Community Memorial Hospital is in the middle of nowhere, but it is small, personal, and even cozy. They played a little lullaby for Brynlee over the speakers when she was born. All of the nurses were super friendly. (Austin started laughing when one nurse asked me what my pain goal was for the rest of my hospital stay and I said a four.) I loved being waited on and always handed another cup of juice or water. I loved the fact that the room was spacious, painted, had a table, lounge chair, rocking chair, bench with a pull-out bed for Austin, and a TV. The entire room was about the size of our apartment! I kept accidentally calling it our hotel - it really was that nice! We stayed until Monday morning when we got discharged and real life began again.

My friend, Janey Ratto, was so sweet to come visit us at the hospital and be our photographer - she is amazing!

Baby it's cold outside!

Today is Brynlee's offical due date, and I am so so so grateful to be home with my precious angel baby instead of in labor at the hospital. What a relief to have it over with! I'm so blessed to be having a great recovery (despite the back pain), and I'm overjoyed to have Brynlee in my life. God has been so good to our family!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chopsticks for Dinner

                 Austin and I have struggled to teach Lydia how to use a fork and spoon. The other night over a stir fry dinner we discovered that she has a fascination for chopsticks. While she's still figuring out how to use them, she generally handles them better than I do. Alright, so maybe I'm terrible with chopsticks, but I still think Lydia's fine motor skill were quite impressive. Besides the chopsticks, Lydia really loves Japanese food (especially sushi rice), and her favorite movie is "Totoro" - a Japanese anime film about two young girls who befriend a forest spirit. I guess she's our little Asian baby :-)


Monday, February 3, 2014

Highlights of Christmas Break

Grandma and Lydia on the carousel at Nickolodeon Universe - both having the time of their lives!

Lydia kept saying "choo choo!" She sure loves trains :)

Daddy and Lydia on Blues Clues

The bus was kinda scary...
"Watch out, we're coming through!"

Everyone enjoyed our sushi dinner for Lee's birthday

The sushi chefs

Loving her first Japanese dinner. She's definitely a Burdge!

Lydia's Aunt, Ashley, made her this awesome Totoro towel for Christmas. She loves looking in the mirror after bath time and recognizing herself as her favorite movie character "Toto!" 

Lydia's first snowman!
Walking in a winter wonderland

Lounging in the snow. She's definitely living up to those MN roots! (Or maybe she just couldn't get up with all that snow gear on ;) 

The view from our 36th floor bi-level suite in the downtown Minneapolis Marriot Hotel

The preggo belly keeps growing... Baby's only two months away!

We stayed at the Marriot Hotel in downtown Minneapolis for a night and were upgraded to the two-story suite. What a wonderful Christmas present - thank you Lee and Joni! It was fabulous to get away for a day.

It was quite a unique experience descending the steps to Hell's Kitchen. Those are knives hanging from the chandelier. 

Would definitely recommend this place, it's actually quite cozy

The food's absolutely sinful, too!

We celebrated New Years Eve at the bowling alley where I set a new gutter ball record...I blame it on being off-balance due to the baby belly. Lydia loved the balloons and hanging out with Grandma.