Thursday, February 25, 2016

Liesl's Birth Story: PART ONE

Gosh, I'd really wanted to get around to writing this before now!  All I can say is that this motherhood thing ain't for the faint of heart.  : ) But I'm truly having the time of my life.  I wake up every morning (and all times I wake up at night too hehe) just excited to see her, even though I'm running on hardly any sleep.  She prefers to sleep while either being held or wrapped up in my Boba wrap being bounced around as I walk, so I rarely have a time when I'm sitting with two hands free to type anymore. 

Lucky for me, Liesl slept in her swing almost all morning, which meant Momma got to nap, too!  I definitely needed the rest, as we had the Mister's promotion and celebratory lunch this week, and I've been working on finding a realtor here and a rental house in Oklahoma in my spare time.  Add that to the continuous cycle of nursing, changing diapers, and repeating, and I've been worn out!  We plan to put the house on the market in mid March and move in late April - and those dates are sneaking up on us!  We're just kind of holding on for dear life right now but enjoying every moment of it with our new addition.

Our little family after the Mister's promotion ceremony!

In other good news, I'm typing this on my new computer Chris bought for my push present!  It's so nice to have a computer that works seamlessly and that doesn't die automatically when the charger comes unplugged.  Now that you're caught up, here's Miss Liesl's birth story!


In the weeks leading up to Liesl's birth, my blood pressure was slightly elevated at my prenatal appointments.  My practitioner didn't seem too terribly concerned about it, but she did eventually order preeclampsia testing the Friday of my 38th week, the week before Liesl was born.  That weekend, there was a pretty intense ice storm here, and my parents came down to stay with us so they wouldn't have to drive through the weather to get here if I were to go into labor.  We went out in the ice that Saturday morning to take my 24-hour urine sample in to the lab on Fort Bragg.  I assumed I wouldn't hear back about that until Monday since it was over the weekend and the weather was bad.

Even though my practitioner didn't seem to be taking my blood pressure very seriously, as first time parents Chris and I couldn't help but worry about it.  I'd read some pretty terrible things about preeclampsia online, and I wanted to be as confident as possible that our baby would be delivered safe and sound.  Not to mention that preeclampsia can lead to severe bleeding for mom, which was scary since I was already so apprehensive about labor having never been through it before.  From what I read, many women are induced for having BP as high as mine was, preeclampsia or not.  We frequent the Food Lion around the corner from our house almost daily to pick up one thing or another, and they have a blood pressure cuff by their pharmacy, so we were checking my BP there that week.  Then, that weekend, my dad brought a cuff with him to teach Chris how to use and leave with us (my dad's a firefighter, so he's EMT trained). We checked my BP frequently over the weekend, and it was staying consistently high, but I tried not to worry about it too much and to wait for my test results.

By Sunday, the weather had cleared up and my parents went home.  Monday was the first day of my 39th week, and that morning I tried to take my blood pressure myself after Chris had gone to work, and it seemed REALLY high, but I figured I was just doing it wrong on my own and made a mental note to ask Chris to try again when he got home from work.  Later that morning, Chris's mom arrived to stay for the next week or two so I wouldn't be alone if I went into labor while Chris was at work (it would take him about 45 minutes to get home and another 45 minutes to for us to get back to the hospital on post).  The day was pretty uneventful - we hung out around the house mostly.  I went for a short walk and then made pizza for dinner.  My practitioner never called about my lab work, which I figured meant I tested negative for protein in my urine, the main indicator of preeclampsia.  Once Chris was home from work, we sat down for dinner (I think that was around 7 pm).  After we had eaten, when we were sitting around the table chatting, my head started throbbing over my right eye out of the blue.  I asked Chris to take my blood pressure and it WAS really high.  We hopped in the car to drive to Food Lion to double check it there.  Once we found out it was definitely as high as we thought (I don't remember exactly how high; I want to say 150s/90s), we called labor and delivery to confirm that we should head in with the symptoms of severe headache and high blood pressure.  We drove back by the house to grab our hospital bag and Chris's mom and to put the doggies in the pen, then hit the road for the hospital.

We checked in and then they hooked me up to blood pressure and contraction monitors in triage.  We hung out there for an hour or two while a nurse was in and out asking questions and checking my numbers.  My blood pressure stayed high during this time, even when I was on my left side and doing my best to relax.  All I could really think about was my headache at this point, as it had gotten very painful.  I'd never had a migraine before, but I guess that's what I was experiencing.  After a while, the doctor came in and asked me all the same questions the nurse had, and then asked in a leading way if we were ready to have the baby.  I joked with him that Chris definitely wanted to leave with a baby but also told him we just wanted to do what was best for her safety and health. Sometime during this conversation, I told him my practitioner had ordered preeclampsia tests that weekend, so he left to see if he could find my test results in the computer system.

A short time later, our nurse came back into our triage room with a hospital gown and told us we were staying and having a baby!  Even though this was very exciting news, I had some conflicting emotions - as the time grew closer, I was becoming more and more apprehensive about labor and delivery, even though I was beyond ready for our little one to arrive and to not have to worry about her safety in utero anymore.  I also found myself wishing I'd eaten more dinner since I wasn't going to get to eat again for a long time and I had a lot of work to do!

I don't remember when I changed into the hospital gown, but at some point the doctor came in and asked if our nurse had given us the good news.  He said that my preeclampsia tests were negative, but that I still had gestational hypertension, and it was better for the baby and me to go ahead and induce labor.  He praised us for checking my blood pressure on our own and for coming into the hospital when we did.  After we talked for a few minutes, he checked my dilation and I was at three centimeters, the same as I was at my 38 week appointment.  The next step was going ahead and getting an IV in and starting me on a strong dose of Tylenol for my headache.

Once my IV was in, they walked us over to our labor and delivery room.  I kept the same doctor (who we liked and were comfortable with, so we were glad), but the nurse remained in triage and I got my own personal nurse who stayed in the room with us.  While I was settling in and she was hooking me up to the machines in the room and catching up on my health history, Chris went out to tell his mom the news in the waiting room and to the parking lot to grab our hospital bag out of the car.  I think he'd already texted my parents at that point, so they were on their way.  Although I'm not positive, I think all of that happened between 11 pm and 12 am. 

Once my parents and sister arrived, my mom and Caroline came in to say hello.  I don't remember much about what we talked about, but I do recall telling my mom that I wasn't even that nervous because all I could really think about was how much my head hurt.  Shortly thereafter, sometime in the early morning hours, the doctor came in and told me his first priority was getting rid of my headache.  When I told him the Tylenol had only barely taken the edge off of the pain, he started me on a "cocktail" of Benadryl and another drug that I didn't catch the name of.  He said the combination of those two medications typically stopped headaches.  I think this is also when they began giving me a low dose of Pitocin.  Because I was already three centimeters dilated and my cervix was fairly effaced, I skipped the steps that some women go through when being inducing to ripen the cervix.

My memory gets a little fuzzy at this point due to the Benadryl making me very sleepy.  I know our families stayed out of the room for a while to let us rest and the nurse asked me if I wanted to move to a rocking chair, where I dozed sitting up for a long time.  Even though I was having contractions, the pain was definitely bearable and I was so out of it from the headache medication that I didn't mind it much.

Dern, I didn't want to have to write this post in two parts, but it looks like I'm going to have to!  I've been writing it bit by bit while I've had the time over the course of the day, and now it's after 11 pm and time to put this baby to bed!

I'll pick up next time with the nurse/doctor shift change at 6 am.  Since I'd started the Pitocin so early in the morning and I was already somewhat dilated, we were confident we were going to have a baby that day, Tuesday, January 26th!  Probably by that afternoon!  Boy, were we wrong...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Liesl Ann Dixon
Born January 27, 2016, at 2:05 am
7 lbs., 9 oz.

A week ago tomorrow, our little one came into the world!

Liesl is a name I've always wanted to name a daughter, and lucky for me, the Mister loved the name for her (he even called her Liesl in utero before we even knew she was a girl).  It's pronounced with a soft "z," like "diesel" or an artist's "easel."  Ann is for my grandmother (my mom's mom), as it was her middle name.  Three of my best friends have the middle name Ann as well, including our friend who set Chris and me up way back when, so it seemed only fitting. : )

I'm sorry I never posted a 38 week pregnancy update!  But last Monday, the first day of my 39th week, we headed to labor and delivery because my blood pressure was high and I had a terrible headache.  And that's how this whole process began!  I'm hoping I'll have the time between feedings in the next few days to sit down and write Liesl's birth story, both because I want to post it here and for my memory.  I worry I've already forgotten so much!  It's hard to decide whether this week has gone by super slowly or very quickly.

Don't worry, there will be a thousand more photos where these came from!  I mostly just stare at her all day.

I can't wait to share more about life with Liesl with you!