December 4, 2012

40 Weeks and 1 Baby Later...

Brandan and I feel so blessed to have our sweet baby girl, Kaiya Lym, finally here with us. She was born on November 26th at 6 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long. She has big, deep-blue eyes and very long, thick, blonde hair (which we're hoping will turn curly!!)
[Look at her hair! The doc and nurses were all shocked to see a newborn with that much blonde hair - joking that there's a hispanic milkman (usually if a baby has that much hair, it's black)]
Kaiya was due to come on Thanksgiving day but was just too comfortable in my belly to want to come out I guess! I was induced around 8:30am Monday morning and was determined to see how far I could go without any medications, just to see what it would feel like. HOLY COW - I have so much more respect for women who didn't even have the option of modern medicine during labor and delivery!! Contractions came on within a few minutes of getting an ivy of pitocin and I had a fairly strong contraction every 1-2 minutes for the next 8 hours. I was dilated at a 5, around noon, when I gave in to an epidural. The dull, contractual pain wasn't unbearable, but the sharp, stabbing pains that came on after I was dilated to a 3 or 4 were awful. Though I felt woozy within about 30 seconds of getting the epidural put in and threw up twice (not even ice chips would stay down!), I would still highly recommend it to anyone ;).
By the time it came to start pushing, the epidural had begun to wear off, which I am actually glad for, since I could barely tell if I was pushing or not anyway. I felt so much more alert and aware of what was going on and what I needed to do. Brandan did such a great job of holding my hand and offering gentle words of encouragement the whole time, keeping calm (on the outside, but later said he had some very shaky legs during the final stages of delivery!) The actual birth was amazing - yes it didn't feel very good pushing a baby down and out of the birth canal, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting and once it was all over and done I had the biggest rush, like after finishing a marathon. It was awesome! Oh yeah, and I totally broke down in tears when I saw our baby girl. It amazes me that she, a REAL little person, had been the thing in my belly for all that time, wiggling around, poking at my ribs with her heels, and making me several sizes larger. I know that sounds silly - obviously I had a baby inside of me, but it's totally surreal to think about.
[while still woozy, with another hour or two to go]

 [fresh out and onto the warming table]
Kaiya scored very well on the APGAR check but was breathing really fast so the nurses had to take her out and run a few tests, including a chest x-ray, right after she was tagged and diapered in the delivery room. All the tests came back showing nothing wrong with her; she may have just been a little extra nervous coming from a dark, warm place to a bright, cold room. We didn't get to hold her for at least an hour after birth, but we bonded instantly.
The hospital stay wasn't very fun - both Kaiya and myself were poked and prodded at least once or twice each hour, day and night, for two days. After a day or two at home though, we fell into a good schedule. She's been exclusively breastfed since birth and eats about every 2-3 hours and has gained her birth weight back within a week. She's been sleeping at night really well, just gets fed when I can hear her trying to eat her hands, only really cries when getting a bath, getting her diaper or clothes changed, or has an air bubble stuck in her tummy. It's been great living at my mom's house too, where grandma can take her for a little while each day while I nap, shower, etc. I've let Brandan sleep for a few hours before I take her up to our room at night so he can get a couple hours of unbroken rest but even then, he sleeps pretty well through the feedings since Kaiya stays fairly quiet and falls asleep soon after. Brandan's been really grateful for such a good baby so he can get up early, drive an hour to work all day and not feel totally wiped out by the time he gets home.
[Brandan's version of skin-to-skin :). Our nurse thought it was super funny - so cute]

[first full day for Kaiya]
I just have to share a tid-bit about Brandan. I married the best guy ever, who has been the best husband I could ever ask for, and who has proven to be the best daddy a baby girl would ever want. I want to cry tears of happiness when I watch him playing with Kaiya sometimes. When she was first born, any noise out of her brought him out of bed and over her crib, watching and making sure she's alright and comfortable. It's really hard for him to listen to her fuss or cry a little in her sleep - he loves his baby girl so much! He gets a bit stressed just thinking that there's a chance she's uncomfortable or doesn't have everything she needs. When I've been up with her on and off through the night and with her all day, he looks for any opportunity to take and snuggle her for a while and get some daddy-daughter bonding time in. He loves playing with her little hands and toes, testing the strength of her muscles and the motion of her joints (physical therapy student! haha), and making her smile in her sleep. In the hospital she was a total daddy's girl - he was the only one who could calm her down after being heel pricked or having her diaper changed. Anyway, I just had to throw that out there because it's been so sweet watching him with her and makes me so grateful for the Plan of Salvation our Heavenly Father has put in place where we can be with our families for time and all eternity. I don't think any other thought could make me this happy.
[Kaiya's first nail trim - she really enjoyed daddy's manicure]
Everyone kept saying one of two things to us as we walked out of the hospital with our baby girl, either "congrats" or "good luck." You know, I was a little nervous to be solely in charge of a little newborn life, not gonna lie, but as soon as she was actually born my motherly instincts kicked in full gear and it's been absolutely amazing being a mommy - so to those strangers who said "good luck," you can back off! :) Other than the basic post-baby physical recovery, I haven't had any complications and have had lots of energy (I'm actually sleeping a lot more and a lot deeper than I was when still pregnant!) and have been so incredibly happy, even in the late-night hours being up with Kaiya for feedings and through the crying and fussing randomly throughout the day. I can tell pretty easily when she's getting hungry, when she's fussy because she's uncomfortable versus tired versus having some gas bubbles. I don't feel stressed or anxious, just calm and comfortable. Brandan and I felt so strongly that we needed to begin our family, and I guess these feelings I have now for my baby are simply reflective of how God knows we were ready and fully capable of bringing a child into the world.
I'll just post a pre-birth and post-birth picture as has been requested by a few friends and end with an actually cute picture (of Kaiya of course). We love you all and thank you for being so supportive of us in this exciting time in our lives!
[Day before being induced, three days after due date]

[Day after we got home from the hospital - don't mind the frumpiness!]
[our sweet baby Kaiya, a week after she was born]