Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"this is so... surreal..." -Andrew realizing he'll be a daddy in less than 12 hrs...

So here I was, working my 12hr shift. I have dated this picture January 6, 2010, you know, for the purpose of comparing (you new moms out there know what I'm talking about!). Handling 7 patients and 15 days away from the due date (Jan.21, 2010)... or so we thought...

Monday Jan. 11, 2010

So we decided to finish setting things up in the nursery. You know for the heck of it (also known as "nesting" maybe?) :P Given we were only 10 days away from the supposed due date. Washed all her clothes, do a little organizing, and set up swings, bouncers, strollers, etc. We didn't have a crib at this point because we have planned a bassinet to go in our room for a couple or so months. I also have already packed my "hospital bag" a week earlier as my mom and aunts have suggested seeing how my belly was about to "pop" any minute. So it was safe to say we were "ready".

Tuesday January 12, 2010

I had one of my weekly visits this day. I was STILL 2cm dilated and have been for a couple of weeks at this point. My midwife even suggested to start thinking about a good date to have an induction if my due dates comes and goes. She suggested a few things (raspberry tea, walking a mile, etc.) to speed up the process. I never did try to "speed up the process" figuring she'd come out whenever she was ready! So I called up 3 people after the appointment, Andrew and my mom for them to start thinking about a day for possible induction and that she wasn't quite ready yet, and called up work to have me scheduled to work that week since I havent really had a set schedule anticipating she was coming in the next couple of weeks. They scheduled me Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

...then... clock tolled midnight...

Andrew and I didn't get to bed until 11:30 Tuesday night, watching American Idol and shows here and there. Around midnight something woke me up... it was a contraction.. nothing new, I've been getting them the past week. 10mins later.. ouch.. another one.. then 5 mins... OUCH! And another. I was in and out of the bed trying to get comfortable and it woke Andrew up and asked if this was another one of those "Brax hickies" contraction (as you all know referring to braxton hicks 'false labor' contractions). And I wasn't so sure, so we called up the midwife. She called back saying, based on your breathing I think it's time to go to the hospital. She offered we can stay a couple hrs at home to wait out the labor just as long as my water hadn't broken. So we called up our parents and updated them with everything.

2:30 a.m. Jan. 13, 2010

Everything had gone quickly (or so it felt like it to me) from this point. We checked in at the hospital at 2:30, got triaged, found out I was only 3cm dilated but we were so excited when the nurse said "we're having a baby today" based on how often my contractions were going. She called up the midwife and only after less than an hr at triage we were in the labor room. (Needless to say I went ahead and called work and let them know I wouldn't be working that night!) They got me started on IV fluids and we walked around the unit, and yes I did agree on an epidural. I was dilating about every hr or so and pain was of course minimal or none at all. Mom came at around 6, her and Andrew grabbed breakfast because I was only 5cm at this point and by the time they came around they've broken my bag of water. We started calling family up since the midwife let us know it'll probably right after lunch we'll be having this baby. So they suggested we rest up before the pushing begins.

9:00 a.m.

So the pressure was building up and I asked to see the nurse. Sure enough I was fully dilated and ready to push! We were all back on the phones again letting everybody know it was SHOWTIME! My dad skipped half a day and so did Andrew's family so they can be there! I pushed for a little less than a couple of hrs and out came...

MALAIA LEIGH STEPHENSON, 8 LBS 1 OZ., 19.25 INCHES. Born at 11:19 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2010

It was such an awesome feeling... hearing her cry, seeing her pink and healthy. All throughout pregnancy all I wanted to do was to hold her in my arms and the day finally came and it was overwhelming... all great feelings of course! It was great seeing everybody hold her, everybody telling her that they love her.. specially Andrew :) Family were in and out that day and it was such a great day... but the story does go on...

So as they whisked her away for initial assessments they finished working on me. With her big size I unfortunately had to have an episiotomy. It's not uncommon, but everything that had happened after the birth was anything but uncommon. To make the long story short I have developed a bleeding under the skin "down there" (a hematoma). And they only found this after I have soaked the bed, the floor, and the bathroom with blood and fainting on the way back to bed. They had to take me to the O.R. 8 hrs after having her to evacuate the blood and peek at where I was bleeding from. I was fixed, but had to have 4 units of blood over the next day. It was such a scary experience... and I'm grateful for priesthood blessings and the support that my whole family had given us that day. It was heartbreaking being taken away from the room, seeing my baby girl in her lil bassinet, Andrew watching over her and my parents talking to my doc about all that was going on. I felt so much better after, I was finally able to enjoy my time with my little family, to hold her, to feed her, and to soak in that I AM A MOTHER!

Yet the story doesn't end there...

...to make another long story short, my baby girl had jaundice. Again, not uncommon, she had to be under the photolights, we had to stay an extra night then we went home. BUT THEN,... her 48hr check up with the pediatrician yielded very high bilirubin,... the jaundice came back but the levels are scary. They asked us to check into the hospital AGAIN so she can be under the lights. Another heartbreaking experience to watch her get poked and stuck for a couple of nights and since she had to be under the lights the only time I could hold her was to feed her. But it was all for her own good,... she got well and we got to go home.

We are now finally settling down, TRYING to get into a routine and enjoying every day of it. I'm so grateful for Andrew and the support and help that he gives. Especially through my longer than normal recovery time. He is such a good daddy! Her first 2 days of life he changed her diaper most of the time! I love him so much and it is an unexplainable feeling, the love that he gives and shows our little girl. So grateful that families can be together forever...

She'll be 4wks tomorrow and still growing. We've had to figure out a couple of "huh's" about her and we're both still learning. We are all taking it a day at a time and just feel blessed for what we have brought into this world...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Shared Blessed Journey

So here I am, with 8 days off... what to do after laundry and house upkeep are done? GET ON THE INTERNET :P I figured I haven't been updating or posting any or no pregnancy updates on this blog, and even barely even on facebook. So here's my little course on this pregnancy... :)

Week 5: Called up Andrew from work told him that I might be pregnant! His reaction? "Why do you have to tell me in the middle of the work day? Now my day just got longer waiting for you to come home!" :P On my way home, bought the home pregnancy test, not too anxious about getting home quick as we have been down this road before and it had always been negative... but ALAS it was POSITIVE! The very next day I called my OB doc, scheduled me the SAME DAY! Blood test confirmed so he had to start me on progesterone pills being that my hormones were low and progesterone is in charge of making the baby 'stick' to the uterine wall. So off I go with good news. WHAT WAS REALLY GOING THRU MY HEAD? I wasn't sure if it was too early to tell my family yet given my history of miscarriage. But I figured, if something were to happen I will be needing my family's support again like they have given before. So, called up our parents and gave them the good news with special instructions to wait for a few more weeks before telling the extended family.

Week 8: Nausea has set in and fatigue was definitely getting in the way of work! And... we got to see our lil peanut this week! I was sent for my first ultrasound to check for heartbeat. WHAT WAS REALLY GOING THROUGH MY HEAD? Fear and anxiety, this was around the time last time we found out that the embryo did not survive. But behold, I cried seeing the lil heartbeat on the ultrasound :)(Click for bigger pic)

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Week 12: Another routine appt with the doc, around this time you may be able to hear the heartbeat with a doppler. We went in and we didn't hear it, I was scared. The doc reassured that it's not always the case at 12 weeks but I was still a little worried. I was planning on telling the family at our family reunion in Canada about the little one on the way but I wanted to make sure everything was ok. My sweet OB doc sent me for an ultrasound anyway after telling him about my plan. And again, we saw our little one! We were ecstatic and couldn't wait to tell everybody! Here's our first peek of our active lil one:

Week 16: I was eating my breakfast, watching TV while Andrew was at work and I thought "Man, this cereal is going down pretty quickly!" Throughout the day, sporatically with or without food it felt that way! And it was always on the same spot! And I went back and read my pregnancy book and it was suggested that it may be the baby moving that I'm finally feeling! Sure enough it went on for days and it was a great, absolutely indescribable, blessed feeling :) It was also a week before that I stopped feeling nauseous! (yay!)

Week 20 The long anticipated week! We were going to find out what we're having this week! And it's a girl! She was breached and sitting indian style and the tech made a comment "well, I'm pretty sure it's a girl" So we asked what she meant by that and she just said that it was ok to buy 'girl stuff' but "save the tags" So we called up the family to share the news :) But then...
...a couple of days after, my OB doc called me with some news. He said that the latest ultrasound showed a Choroid Plexus Cyst in the baby's brain. The concern with this is that the cyst is normally linked to Trisomy 18 or 21 which are chromosomal abnormalities that is indicative of Edwards Syndrome or Downs Syndrome. We didn't know how to take the news because, like everybody, we were expecting a healthy normal baby. After much thought and talking with Andrew, we figured we were going to love our girl all the same, if it were meant to be that we have this baby and it was for a reason. There are some women out there who can't even bear a child so we were truly blessed. The doctor assured me though that my blood test that screens for this syndrome was negative and most cysts (not all) go away by the 28th week. He referred me to a perinatologist and for a level II ultrasound in 4 weeks to re-assess and get a better picture of the anatomy. Here she is again at 20 weeks :) (Click for bigger picture)

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Week 21: Labor Day weekend! Andrew and I planned on telling the rest of the Floridian family the sex of the baby... plus... a little surprise! Here's a video: (you might have to press pause on the music player at the bottom of this page to hear this video)

My sister and I are 10 weeks apart! Our immediate family have known for a while and Marie just wanted to wait a few more weeks before telling the rest. My parents are ECSTATIC to expect their first grandbabies, 10 weeks apart, in 2010!

Week 24: We have expected this week for quite some time, we were to meet with the perinatologist to have a level 2 ultrasound to assess the baby's anatomy again. We were excited that they can finally tell us for sure the gender of the baby. We were also on the anxious side, hoping that everything was ok with the baby. The ultrasound images were definitely more defined. 4D images also were done and we saw our little girl (yes, that's right it's definitely a girl!) trying to move the cord away from her face and eventually frowning because she couldn't and ended up holding on to her cord. It was so cute! Also, some good news is the cyst is gone. It was a sigh of relief that everything was ok! We were on our phones and delivered the good news to our families :) And so here she is at 24 weeks and where my belly is at 24 weeks! (click for bigger image)

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We are a little over halfway done and there may still be a few surprises on the way. We are just enjoying this journey and I'm glad you guys can join in with us and we're able to share it with yall. On a different note, with all these good news with our little family comes with an unexpected one. Andrew's mom got diagnosed with breast cancer 4 weeks ago. It is definitely unexpected at her young age and she is being such a trooper. She starts chemo tomorrow, and we asked if it was ok for us to tell people about this news. For her, the more people know the more prayers will come. So please help us with this journey and with your support she has something to hold on to and continue on with her positive atttitude :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Summer reunions :)

Ohhhh boy did I neglect my blog for ages! I think I'm so partial about because I wasn't used to the ins and outs of it (I'm still not!) But anyways, here's a quick shortcut and a couple of events over the summer which are both of our family reunions, mine in Canada and Andrew's in Tennessee! And if you're on facebook,... you probably have seen these pictures! Anyways, here's a recap and a clickable thumb to browse thru the pictures! I will be updating this soon about the pregnancy progression so stay tuned!!!


Day 1, Friday, July 3: People started arriving in Brampton, Ontario. We actually missed this day due to work schedules but the family (with extended) introduced each of their families this day with icebreaker activities and such.

Day 2, July 4: FAMILY SURVIVOR! Each clan had representatives in different games and challenges... refer to the album,.. but I think we had most of the first place ribbons *wink* But it was all for good fun and everybody enjoyed their time winners, losers and the sorts :) That night they had a gala, hosted by a family DJ and danced the night away :)

Day 3, July 5 Sunday: People attended their own church services and had picture day! It was great to see how big our families had grown! Each clan went their own ways and continued on with our own "clan" for the remainder of the week. We also went to visit dad's cousin in Scarborough, an opportunity we try to grab when we visit Canada!

Day 4 We celebrated my cousin Leah's graduation from nursing school! A quick lunch then a handful of us went to visit Niagara Falls :)

Day 5 A number of families started heading back home but it didn't mean the fun had to stop. Some of us cousins decided to visit downtown Toronto and "explore". Eaton mall, the sites of Young st. you name it :)

Day 6 Back to reality :(


Day 1 July 17, Friday Andrew and I drove up to Georgia to spend the night at Gramma Brown's so a 9 hr trip didn't have to take up a whole day

Day 2 We all checked in at Welcome Vally Village, a place where Andrew has their reunion every year for the past 14 years. Everybody arrived this day and hung out and mingled

Day 3 We all planned to hike Benton Falls, it's a great hike.. but not when you're 14 weeks pregnant! Tennessee mountains are beautiful... not when you're nauseated and winding up and down! We enjoyed our time otherwise, but it could've been better for me :) It was a bitter sweet experience, being that it was great being pregnant, but didn't like how it felt.. at the moment anyways :P

Day 4 Andrew and I ventured on our own and went to Chattanooga! Enjoyed Chilhowee mountain, went to High point park and relaxed and enjoyed the perfect 70 degree weather then explored on down to their big mall after. When we got back to the cabins we dressed down and got ready for a couple trips of kayaking down Ocoee River... where Andrew's uncle Ben flipped over worrying about my safety going through this bridge making sure I wouldn't get caught in the current :P

Day 5 9 hour drive back to reality :(

Tennessee Stephenson Reunion!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fun before the fun

As we gear up to go to Canada, I was emptying my memory card into the computer to make room for more pics and realized... wow we had quite a busy month before the summer. In a way I was overwhelmed being that I would have too many to post when we get back from Canada. I mean, the Canada trip itself I'm sure we'd turn up with hundreds of pictures! So, here's a recap:

Liz and Tobi visited from Illinois! She got engaged here and we took them to Islands of Adventure:

Liz had been my good buddy since high school and am grateful how much we still keep in touch.

My new calling at church... working with the achievement day girls. I absolutely love it!

GIRLS CAMP! A whole week of heat and mosquito bites. But let's not forget to mention, the fun! I've never served in this capacity before and I truly enjoyed myself :)

just cooking over the campfire

the girls

We were labeled the mean girls because we had everybody's flags by the end of the week. Well, not only that, the girls loved pranking too :P

Father's Day picnic at Green Key:

And guess who turned 8???? Julia! My cute cousin who seemingly had an elmo cake last year... now Hannah Montana :P

Well I think that was a pretty good recap, or so I think. Pretty good in the circumstances that we leave in 2 hours for Canada and have not finished packing yet. Hehe... what'd I tell ya... yet another downfall. This internet just sucks the life out of me :P Toodles!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Start of a downfall ;)

Downfall it is! I have a feeling that, next to facebook, this'll be yet another addicting and time-consuming 'visit' on the internet. :) I started following a friend of mine on this website with her pregnancy progression and realized there are many other people on this website! It's nice to read about everybody's adventure and them wanting to know about others! I figured this'll be a great time to join this site to follow everybody's summer tales and trips and I would also love to share ours with others. So if you come across this blog now, please, feel free to add me... I'd love to follow yours!

we be singin'

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