Saturday, October 18, 2014

Evan Brooks Montgomery

Goodness, it's been 2 months since Evan's arrival. It seems a bit early to be asking this, but where has the time gone? I have a feeling I will be asking myself that a lot. These past few weeks have been full of learning and loving. Psalm 127:3 most definitely rings true, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him."

I've been thinking about the birth story and how detailed I'd be. I think I've remembered it all right, for the most part at least. So, here we go.

My estimated due date was Tuesday, August, 5 2014, and while I didn't expect the 5th to be the magical day {I read only a small percentage of women actually have their babies on their EDD}, I also didn't expect to go 2 weeks over! I started my maternity leave on August 1st and had been working from home the prior two weeks. Work flow was pretty relaxed, so I was able to get some nesting and resting done. This was really nice, but by the time my parents arrived, I was a bit stir crazy! Not to mention, there was a bit of unforced pressure to have Evan while our families were visiting. My parent's trip was set for July 31st to August 10th and Jeff's parent's from August 9th to August 23rd. Since it was my parents first visit, I wanted them to see and do as much as possible, so being two weeks past due made sightseeing possible. From Stonehenge to two Parliament tours and long walks around London, we were all running and gunning, and all the while trying every trick in the book to get labour going {which I'm now convinced are old wives' tales}.

My 41 week appointment with the midwife was actually scheduled at the end of my 40th week. On August 8th, Jeff, Dad, Mom and me all went to Kingston Hospital hopeful that 'the end' was in sight. Sadly, there was still a bit more time to go, even with a second membrane sweep {first one had been done at a previous appointment the week prior}. Induction was then arranged for the coming Sunday, and I was told to get plenty of rest. The midwife said it was possible the busyness could be hindering labour. So, back home we went, where I rested a lot and we all waited. By the time Sunday rolled around, I hadn't gone into spontaneous labour and my Dad had to fly back to Texas. Mom was able to extend her trip, and I'm so thankful she was able to because it was already so hard to see my Dad leave. I called the hospital at 8.30 that morning and there weren't any beds available. An hour and a half later, we received the call for us to come in. Jeff's parent's stayed at the house with Monk, while Jeff, my Mom and me made our way to the hospital. 

After a quick check-in at 11.30 that morning, we were surprised to walk into our very own room for the pre/early labour bit. Typically, at this hospital anyway, up to 4 expectant mothers, scheduled for induction, can share a room. I was trying to keep an open mind but was not looking forward to a room full of groaning, so it was wonderful to discover that I had my own space to groan. The midwife arrived and explained the procedure - that being a pessary would be inserted {to 'ripen' the cervix in hopes to stimulate contractions} and that the waiting game would continue {possibly a 48 hour one}. After 30 minutes, I was free to move around, so Mom, Jeff and me walked around the hospital grounds, made a trip to the local Sainsbury's and hung out in the room before the contractions started at 11.30 that night. For the next 19 hours, I did the following for pain management:

  • Deep breathing
  • Listened to music
  • Rested/slept
  • Positioning {i.e. on hands and knees, kneeling over the bed/against the wall, moving from side to side on bed}
  • Walking {i.e. around the hospital hallways and outdoor lot}
  • Birthing ball {bounced on and rested/swayed upper body while kneeling on a yoga mat}
  • Massage from both Jeff and Mom
  • Warm bath
  • TENS machine
  • Codeine/paracetamol
  • Pethidine
  • Gas and air
  • Epidural
At our parenting classes, Jeff and I discussed the birthing plan and how I'd ideally like labour to go. I've always been interested in trying a water birth sans drugs. However, not ever experiencing pain like this before, I told myself to remain open to the other options, so I wouldn't be anxious if I changed my mind or other circumstances did for me. With Evan also being the priority, I wanted him to be under the least amount of stress. About 14 hours in, I was starting to feel really uncomfortable, so I decided to take the codeine/paracetamol. After two doses of that, with not much relief and the contractions really starting to pick up, I decided to take pethidine. I went back and forth with this one {due to it being a strong morphine-like analgesic that can affect baby's alertness} but the pain was so great, and I was assured Evan wouldn't be harmed, that I consented. Also, at some point on Monday afternoon, the first pessary that was inserted had come out, and as I wasn't dilated enough, another was put in. Later around 5.30 that evening, I decided to throw the towel in; it was time for the epidural. I assumed having been in labour for 18 hours {very intense pain for most of that day} at that point I'd be dilated to 7/8cm. Oh no, I was only dilated to a 3, a measly 3cm and all that pain - how could that be?! I needed relief. I was tired and labour seemed to be kicking my tail. Jeff and Mom both notified the midwife. The delivery rooms in the labour ward were full, so we had to wait a bit. Finally, at 6.30 and just after my water had broken, I was wheeled down into the delivery room. I couldn't walk, so they brought me a wheelchair. Goodness, that was the most uncomfortable ride. Not only was I writhing and making embarrassing noises, but I was capturing the attention of everyone in the hall. Super.
The anesthesiologist met us there, got to work fast and oh, what sweet relief! I was then greeted separately by two doctors. Both explaining the remainder of the labour and impending delivery process. My midwife, who was in sole charge of delivery {doctors were nearby in case of any issues}, then prepped me and the room before instructing me to relax. I needed the energy, so sleep was a must, and how wonderful it was. I woke up around 11.15 and chat with Jeff, Mom and the midwife until it was time to push, which was just after midnight. Between gas and air and coaching from Jeff, Mom and the midwife, I managed delivery in about 45 minutes. Evan Brooks was born at 1.05 in the morning on Tuesday, 19 August 2014. He weighed 10 pounds and measured 23 inches long. My not so 'Little M' was finally here; Jeff and I couldn't have been more excited. I did obtain a second degree tear {Evan decided to come out with one of his fists pressed against his cheek} and lost a liter of blood. We were both tuckered out from the delivery, so while the midwife attended to me, I snuggled with Evan and we both fell asleep for about 6 hours. It was great. Jeff's parents came and visited later that afternoon, and we were discharged on Wednesday afternoon.
It's incredible being Evan's Mommy. Really, I can't even put it into words. I would go through all of that over and over for him. I've prayed for him and now that my sweet and lovely boy is here, I'm just beyond grateful. Thank you Lord for our Evan Brooks!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Nursery

The super cute blanket you see our sweet Evan wrapped in was made by his Aunt Becca. She was extremely thoughtful when she picked out the Classic Winnie the Pooh pattern. Growing up, I collected all sorts of Classic Pooh figurines and room decor. Originally, I had no intention of decorating the nursery with this as a theme; however, my mind was changed. It means so much to me that Bec chose one of my childhood treasures to share with my son. It is something that not only Evan but I will hold dear for years to come.

I knew from the start that I wanted the nursery to have a vintage feel - to have a good mix of some old with some new, along with a conservative touch of Classic Pooh. Now that it's all finished, I feel like this was accomplished. It isn't very big, but we made good use of the space. It's a cosy, little room, and while he isn't sleeping in there yet {he's sleeping in a Bednest beside our bed for the time being}, we still very much enjoy the nursery.
Evan's current sleeping arrangement.
Entry from the hallway {Chair/ottoman and red lamp from IKEA}.
Monk likes to be around whenever Evan and I are in the nursery, so we made room for his little sleeping pad.

  • Blanket {Mrs. Speck}
  • Rustic stars and stripes/union jack pillow made by helkatdesign {my boss Paul and coworker Matt}

Reverse side of the pillow. One of my nursery favorites!
  • Table {Gumtree seller - UK's Craigslist}
  • ABC Scripture Cards {Moore family}
  • Children's prayer book {baby shower}
  • Classic Pooh curtains and tassels {Mothercare}
  • Baby sign {local children's charity shop} 

  • Book basket - bottom left {TK Maxx - UK's TJ Maxx} 
  • Framed bunting {Jeff's creation}
Alphabet cards {}
Wonderful built-in storage and crib {IKEA}.

  • Back bunting {Gisela Graham bunting - Coast & Country Interiors}
  • Evan's initials {Etsy}

  • Classic Winnie the Pooh bedding and mobile {Mothercare}
  •  Stuffed Classic Pooh Bear - bottom left {Aunt Becca}

Evan approved. :)
Front bunting reads NURSERY {Gisela Graham bunting - Coast & Country Interiors}

  • Antique dresser {Gumtree seller}
  • Vintage-style wall storage {} 
  • Munchkin Nappy Disposal {}
  • Changing pad and cover {Mothercare}
  • Storage box {IKEA}
  • Green wipes holder {}
Top Shelf {left to right}
  • Blue sock monkey {Children's Shop in Corsicana}
  • Blue lantern {IKEA}
  • Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales {Ben & Katy}
  • Home Sweet Home trinket {local charity shop}
  • Snap card game {children's website}
  • Paddington Bear {Katy}
Middle Shelf{left to right}
  • London scene {Anthropologie}
  • You Are Special book {Mike, Andrea and Mae}
  • Double-decker bus {local charity shop}
  • Clock {Anthropologie}
  •  Red hanging storage {IKEA}
  • Baby Ragz Bib {Brittany}

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

41 Weeks {And Yes Still Waiting}


How far long? 41 weeks  
Baby size? 21 - 22 inches and about 7-8 pounds
Total weight gain? about 36 pounds
Maternity clothes? Yep
Sleep? Yes, and even though it's still not easy to turn over, I have been sleeping well.
Best moment(s) this week? Jeff's parents arriving and getting to show them around Parliament. Also, still having my Mom here. :) It has also been great that Jeff's had the flexibility to work from home. I feel more at ease when he's near.
Miss anything? The rest of our families.
Movement? Yes :)
Food Cravings? Pineapple and sweet iced tea.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope
Gender? Boy!!!
Labor signs? Nope - not yet. :(
Belly button in or out? Stretched out.
Wedding ring on or off? On
Happy or moody most of the time? Happy! Anxious!
Looking forward to? My son's arrival! If I haven't had Little M before Friday, I will meet again with my midwife that afternoon. Since I'm past my due date, she'll offer me a second membrane sweep and we'll discuss induction. For those who don't know, a membrane sweep is a way of bringing on labour before other methods of induction are offered. {I had my first sweep last Friday, which obviously wasn't successful.} Generally, hospitals here will offer induction to women who don't go into labour naturally by 42 weeks. If they prefer not to be induced, they can forgo induction beyond 42 weeks but will be monitored closely. The hospital I'm delivering at offers induction around 12-13 days after my due date. Hopefully, I won't need to be induced. However, I am open to whatever method will be safest for my sweet boy. I'm just praying for a safe delivery and healthy baby.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

40 Weeks {And Still Waiting}

How far long? 40 weeks  
Baby size? 21 - 22 inches and about 7-8 pounds
Total weight gain? about 35 pounds
Maternity clothes? Yep
Sleep? Yes but it is hard to go and stay asleep. Turning over is not easy, and I always wake up whenever I do. I'm also very ready for Little M to be here, so the excitement of his arrival doesn't help. :)
Best moment(s) this week? My Mom and Dad arriving last Friday! We have been able to show them some beautiful English countryside (including Stonehenge), enjoy a nice afternoon tea, check out London and Parliament.
Miss anything? A/C. It's been a hot summer for London, and even with our fans, I've been hot a lot. I'm ready for fall, so it'll be cool again.
Movement? Yes but I can definitely tell that Little M is running out of space.
Food Cravings? Peaches.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope
Gender? Boy!!!
Labor signs? Nope - not yet. :(
Belly button in or out? Stretched out.
Wedding ring on or off? On
Happy or moody most of the time? Happy! Anxious!
Looking forward to? Still very much looking forward to our little guy's arrival, and hopefully, he'll come while my parents are still here (they head back on Sunday morning). Also, Jeff's parents arrive on Saturday, so we are looking forward to seeing them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

39 Weeks {Full Term}

How far long? 39 weeks  
Baby size? 21 - 22 inches and about 7 pounds
Total weight gain? about 34 pounds
Maternity clothes? Yep
Sleep? Yes but it's becoming more difficult to fall and stay asleep. I'm hot a lot {even with the use of a fan directly on me and sans covers} and the slightest sliver of light has me wide awake.
Best moment(s) this week? Visiting with Ben and Katy on Saturday {thank you both again for Little M's gifts!} and finalizing the nursery {still minus his initials but they should be arriving any day now}. I'm so excited to show my parents when they are here, which will be in 2 days!! Also, with being at home and not out in the heat, my feet and ankles haven't been swollen.
Miss anything? Smaller legs!
Movement? Yes but I can definitely tell that Little M is running out of space.
Food Cravings? Cold apples.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope
Gender? Boy!!!
Labor signs? Nope :(
Belly button in or out? Still not out but there's still a bit of a lip on the top.
Wedding ring on or off? On
Happy or moody most of the time? Happy!
Looking forward to? Our little guy being here!! In the meantime, I'm trying to get as much rest as I can. Also, as I mentioned earlier, my parents arrive in 2 days and I couldn't be more excited! I have already cleaned and re-cleaned our home and finished all of the laundry, but I'm sure I'll find more to keep my busy until Friday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

38 weeks {Full Term}

How far long? 38 weeks  
Baby size? 21 - 22 inches and about 6.5/7 pounds
Total weight gain? about 32 pounds {I lost 3 pounds over the last week. After talking with my GP and answering a few questions, she said to monitor my weight over the next week and let her know if I lose anymore, but that all seems OK for now. Little M is still moving a lot, and both he and I checked out very well at my 38/40 appointment today.}
Maternity clothes? Yep and a lot of skirt wearing lately. With the hotter weather we've been having and lack of a/c, it helps me stay cool.
Sleep? Yes and I have been able to sleep deeply.
Best moment(s) this week? Visiting with our next door neighbors and meeting their sweet, little girl - who was born almost a week early. I'm happy that Little M will have a little friend next door.  
Miss anything? My family and friends who are stateside. While we keep in touch and I am able to share updates about the pregnancy via phone calls and social media, I still miss being able to experience all of this with them near. I'm excited that we can catch up and they can meet Little M when we visit in December.
Movement? Yes :)
Food Cravings? Peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope
Gender? Boy!!!
Labor signs? Nope
Belly button in or out? Still not out but there's now a bit of a lip on the top.
Wedding ring on or off? On
Happy or moody most of the time? Happy!
Looking forward to? Enjoying these last few days as a family of 3 {counting Monk, of course}. Working from home the past two days have been nice, and I look forward to my simple 'commute' the rest of the week. As we still have a few deliveries trickling in, I thought getting dressed rather than sitting in my pjs all day would be best. Also, one week from this Friday, my parents will be in London, and I absolutely can't wait! Oh and this Saturday - our good friends Ben and Katy are coming to visit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

37 weeks {Full Term}

The 'not so glamorous' weekly photo. Please excuse the tired face and swollen feet.

Katy, me and Matt in the office at my 'leaving do.'

How far long? 37 weeks  
Baby size? 21 - 22 inches and about 6.5 pounds
Total weight gain? about 35 pounds
Maternity clothes? Yep
Sleep? Yes and enjoying it while I can.
Best moment(s) this week? For having worked in Parliament for a year and a half, I had never seen Prime Minister David Cameron until last week, when I saw him twice. We also made good progress in our flat over the weekend. It feels so good to walk into an orderly home. When I met with my midwife last Friday, she confirmed that our baby boy is still doing very well, as am I. We discussed options for the birth plan, and I booked a 41 week appointment, in case I don't have Little M by 5 August. It's so exciting to think how close he is to being here!! Lastly, I'll include today's treat. As it's my last week in the office, my 'leaving do' was today. It was a wonderful time, and I greatly appreciate those who not only coordinated the party but also purchased the best gift (photo below)! I'll be reminded of many wonderful memories every time I look at it! :)
Miss anything? My siblings - if only they could be here to see their nephew when he's born. We already have our first trip back with baby booked for December, which is great as they'll see him then. The wait is just a little longer than we'd like.
Movement? Yes, especially near my rib cage.
Food Cravings? Still dill pickles.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope
Gender? Boy!!!
Labor signs? Nope
Belly button in or out? Not out but kind of still in - very stretched out.  
Wedding ring on or off? On
Happy or moody most of the time? Happy - even though I was tempted to be slightly moody to a random gentleman at the train station, when earlier this week, he asked me if I was carrying twins! ;)
Looking forward to? Resting. This will be a good 'last' week for me, commuting wise. Little by little, my body is starting to wear down. I work from home next week, but it will still be nice to do so in comfortable clothes (aka pjs)!
Gift from the office - front of cushion

Hybrid Union Jack Stars And Stripes Cushion
Gift from the office - back of cushion