Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Addalee's Birthday (And Birth Story)

One year ago.  It’s already been a whole year, and I can hardly believe it.  This entire year has flown by.

I haven't shared a birth story yet, so decided it was about time!

On August 22, 2011, I was filled with nerves, excitement, fear, anticipation, and hope.  We’d made it through 36 of some of the hardest weeks of my life.  Pregnancy after a full term stillbirth is not for the faint of heart.  There were days that I preemptively grieved this little girl, as a way to almost prepare myself for if she didn’t make it, like her big sister.  It was a protective reflex, not something I wanted, just some PTSD, I’m guessing. 

We’d been to the doctor the previous Thursday for an ultrasound and NST.  Addalee was looking good, but not great.  Her growth was tapering off.  It was getting to the point where she was better off out than in.  We were told to come to the office first thing Monday, 8/22/11, with our hospital bag, for another ultrasound evaluation of Addalee’s growth and overall health.  That was a long and stressful weekend, but we’d made it.  Turns out, she’d grown, but not a ton.  It was Addalee’s birthday!  We were sent over to the hospital to get checked in and start induction.  So we called our families.  With happy news this time, and it felt amazing.

Checking in was bittersweet.  The last time I’d sat in that chair was the night I’d gone in knowing that something was terribly wrong with Caroline.  (We didn’t know for sure that she was gone at that point, but I suspected and didn’t want to believe it.)  I had requested to not be in the same room in which we’d delivered Caroline, so at least I knew that wasn’t going to be an issue.  I was so full of hope for the baby girl I was carrying, and so full of grief for the baby girl I’d delivered in that same hospital less than a year before.  Everyone was so good to me.  I’m sure that my nurse friends had gone ahead of us and told people of our situation, but it seemed like everyone was extra nice to us.

I got settled into the room.  I put on that super smoking hospital gown and started getting IV fluids in preparation for the epidural (‘cause that’s how I roll).  I got hooked up to the external monitor, and it was semi-comforting.  Addalee kept running from the monitor, so it alarmed several times, which was terrifying, but we were assured that it was just the baby moving around.  We got some meds started to get the ball rolling and I just laid back and went with it (like I was really that relaxed!). 

Dang, I was looking good! 

A little while later, I was feeling some contractions.  I was asked if I was ready for the epidural and I said, “Yes, please!”  I got the epidural and I wish I could say that I was feeling good, but I was feeling pretty horrible.  My nurse was checking something, I’m not sure, but she was talking and I could hear her like she was miles away.  The lights started to get really dim.  I was passing out.  My blood pressure dropped significantly after the epidural.  Apparently this is something that can happen, but I wasn’t expecting it.  So after several doses of epinephrine, I was feeling shaky and nauseous, but awake. 

After I got back to mostly normal, my doctor came in to break my water.  This was going to speed things up significantly.  It also made it to where we could have the internal monitor, which was significantly more reliable than the external.  I was still having some pain from the contractions on my left side, so they had to boost my epidural, which meant another dose of epinephrine.  But once they gave me another bump, I was feeling NOTHING.  Like seriously, NOTHING at all.  Except that my legs weighed about 2 tons each.  (ha)

It was nearing dinner time, and I knew that the family members who were waiting with us were getting hungry.  I felt like it was still going to be a while, so I told them to go on and get something to eat.  I almost had everyone convinced, then the nurse came in to check me.  I had only been at like 6cm an hour before, so I wasn’t expecting much.  She asked me if I felt any pressure, and I didn’t.  Then, she looked at me and said, “Don’t push!”  “Let’s get the doctor in here, now.”  I was much further along than 6cm!  And since I couldn’t feel anything at all, I had no idea!  Glad the family didn’t listen to me!

So, the doctor was there, as well as the rest of the team, including some NICU nurses just in case, since she was a month early.  We were ready; it was time to push (OH MY GOSH!).  I pushed for a fairly short time, and she had her cord around her neck, and my heart sank when I heard the doctor say that.  But he was able to slip it over her head, and we proceeded with pushing.  A few minutes later, she was here.  She only cried a tiny quiet cry, but it was the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard in my entire life.  She was placed directly on my chest.  She was breathing.  She was moving.  She was tiny and perfect.  She had Caroline’s face, those precious cheeks.  That moment that I’d been waiting for, finally was here!

Our first (almost) family picture.
Birth Announcement
This year has been full of a zillion emotions, and thankfully a lot of joy with this girl.  She’s provided a light in the darkness of grief.  She’s given me love and laughter, and there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for her.

A photo for each month, newborn to 12 months.

Happy 1st birthday, Addalee.  Mama love you more each day!


  1. Beautiful! I'm so glad she's here, and I am so glad she's one and nearly a big sister herself!!! :)

    I love the wording you chose to honour Caroline- we selected something similar.

  2. What a beautiful birth story! I love that you gave her Caroline's middle name. What a special thing for the two sisters to share!

    Lots of love to you all today!


  3. Cannot believe it's been a year - so happy you've had her to bring light to your heavy hearts this past year. Happy birthday sweet girl!

  4. From that tiny cry to waving at anyone and everyone; such a total blessing and I can't imagine life without her now.

  5. Beautiful pictures of your sweet princess :)

  6. Happy birthday pretty Addalee!!! (a little late:-)

  7. Happy Birthday! Such sweet pictures...she is a true, true blessing. :o)

  8. Such a great memorable way to commemorate her birth. Print this for her baby book!