And then there was you

(A little overdue, but finally finished writing this!)

A Birth Story

January 12, 2012, 4am

We woke at the unbelievably early hour of 4am. Took showers, got dressed and packed a few last things to bring to the hospital. Bundled ourselves up to leave the house, only to discover that it was freakishly warm out (I’m certainly glad I was overdressed though, because I needed all that warm clothing the day we brought Sam home, which turned out to be one of the coldest days of the winter). We arrived at the hospital a bit before 5:30am.

Check-in went quickly and before I knew it, I was in a gown and laying on a hospital bed while a nurse attempted to set-up the fetal monitoring bands. I say “attempted” because our little Sam was not very cooperative. Our obstetrician always had difficulty trying to listen for his heat rate because he was such a busy baby, constantly on the move. The nurse at the hospital spent half an hour or more trying to place the monitor and then finally had to seek the help of a senior nurse. In the end they managed to monitor his movements and heart rate for the required 20 minutes, after breaking a bit of a sweat and chasing that baby around in my belly.

We were informed that we were scheduled for slot two of the day and would be headed to surgery around 10am, which was a little disappointing because our paperwork said we would be in slot one and that was the slotted time my own obstetrician would be doing the procedure. We figured we were being bumped for an emergency c-section, so there’s not much you can complain about. I got comfy on the hospital bed and took a nap, settling in for the wait. But half an hour later, the nurse returned to say that their slot one patient was a no-show and that she would be taking me to labor & delivery in a few minutes. Definitely felt like I was being watched over by the Big Man himself. Getting slot one meant my obstetrician would be there and it was truly a blessing that it was him performing the c-section, given my history with fibroids (and the previous surgery he had performed on me).

Marcus was shown the room where he could put on scrubs and then we were shown to a couple of chairs just outside the surgical suite. So there we were finally, after nine months of waiting, on the verge of getting to meet our little baby. Oh, the anticipation was so crazy! I felt like I couldn’t wait a moment longer to find out if we were having a boy or a girl! But wait we did, while the anesthesiologist introduced herself and various hospital procedures were carried out.

8:30am

I was brought into the surgical suite and the anesthesiologist quickly placed the spinal block. I’d actually been quite nervous about having that done. Anything to do with needles in the spine creeps me right out. But really it went by so quickly that I didn’t have much time to register the bit of pain I felt. Within seconds my blood pressure dropped like a rock. I just had enough time to lay down on the table before I felt like I was going to black out. Thankfully this is normal and part of what the anesthesiologist monitors and corrects throughout the procedure.

My hubby was brought in just as I was being strapped down and the blue curtain was going up over my chest to keep us from seeing the more gory parts of the c-section. From there things seemed to move quickly and I thought that we were probably only moments away from meeting our little babe.

As more minutes past, I began to get more nervous. Even the anesthesiologist peered over the drape to see what was going on. That was about when I heard my doctor tell one of the nurses to call another surgeon into the room stat. My doctor quickly peeked over the drape to tell us that they were having difficulties getting to the baby. My fibroid was right in the spot where there needed to make the incision ino the uterus. They would now have to do a classical Caesarean (vertical incision) in order to get the baby out, leaving me with a T-incision (inverted T) to heal. I was pretty scared at this point and also discouraged knowing that the additional incisions would greatly increase my recovery time and present more possible complications.

The second surgeon arrived quickly and she and my doctor began working intensively to deliver the baby. I simply can not describe the sensation of your entire body beginning yank and pushed around, and yet not being able to feel any pain, when you know that you should. Hubby looked a bit frightened at how much I was being jostled around and we both nervously listened to my doctor labour away to get the baby out. Again the anesthesiologist peered over the curtain to assess the situation. Another large fibroid had been found on the upper part of the uterus and it too was in the way of getting baby out.

After much more pulling and yanking, I finally reached the point where I was going to throw up. While a nurse helped me with that, all I could faintly hear was the words, “it’s a boy”. He was out and softly crying! Praise the Lord! Hubby was brought over to our baby boy, while they assessed & measured him. Then they brought him over to me to look at while the doctors completed the procedure.

Birth of Sam

He smelled so wonderful! All I wanted to do was wrap him up tightly in my arms. Hubby continued to hold him right up to my face, while the c-section was finished. The additional incisions increased the time to get all stitched backed up, but eventually they lowered the blue drape. By this time was already starting to regain feeling in my feet and began getting very, very cold. I started shivering like crazy due to all the blood loss.

Sam with mom & dad in the OR

10:00am

I was wheeled into a small recovery room with two nurses, while hubby followed behind with baby. The nurses worked on cleaning and dressing my incisions, while I stared longingly at baby, still shivering. As soon as they were done, they put a bear hugger on me to warm me up (like a full body blanket that is inflated with hot air). It felt soooo good! And eventually the shivering subsided.

Tummy time with mommy11:00am

After about an hour in recovery, I was moved to our postpartum room again with hubby and baby following behind. Once I was transferred to my hospital bed and settle in, hubby and baby came in and I was finally able to hold him! It was wonderful to finally touch him and I snuggled him closely on my chest. Our doula arrived quickly, just in time for our first attempt at breastfeeding.

From there the day is a blur. My parents and hubby’s mom came to meet the baby, nurses popped in & out frequently, there was lots of tummy time with baby and some napping. The following few days were pretty much the same. We stayed three nights in the hospital and by then, I was anxious to get home.

And that is the story of how little Samuel Ian Helmut Riedner came into the world. Thanks for reading along. I think it will be nice to have this written down to look back on years from now.

A week ago today…

… At this eary hour, I was sitting outside the OR waiting for a team of nurses and doctors to assemble and say those magical words, “It’s time.” From there followed the typical c-section prep, which quickly turned into a not-so-typical situation. After a few tears and more than a few scary moments, we finally got to meet the precious babe that had been growing inside me for the past nine months. And here he is, Samuel Ian Helmut Riedner:

Baby Samuel
Baby Samuel, born Jan. 12, 7lbs 8oz, 20.5in long

Mama and babe are doing alright, although the recovery for this mama is going to be a long, slow road. Must remember to be patient and gentle with myself over the coming weeks. Thankful that Sam is doing so well! Hope to have a full birth story post to share with all of you soon.

Mama and baby Samuel
Tummy time with mama

Keeping with non-tradition

Back at the beginning of December, between craft shows, I squeezed in a baby shower. Well, really, I didn’t do much more than show up. My sweet friends did all the work. Now I know some people don’t like the idea of baby showers before the baby is even born, but knowing that I would have a c-section made this not-so-traditional approach to a baby shower appealing for us. Plus, it had been months since I had seen many of my friends and this was the perfect excuse to visit with them (all in one go) before Christmas hit. There was tasty food, lovely gifts, and much baby talk! Came home with bags of things to stock up the nursery and it definitely made me feel more prepared. AND loved! Thanks to everyone who attended! Special thanks to Lisa, Shauna, Tina and Peter for pulling it together (on a bit of short notice). You guys rock!

Here was one special treat, I had to share with you… my friend Anita made this amazing cake for me! Check out those buttons and balls of yarn! Couldn’t be more perfect. This super talented gal started up her own cake business, Cake Rocket, and I love seeing all of her creations. Thanks again, Anita!

Baby shower cake
Cake courtesy of Cake Rocket
Baby shower cake
Cake courtesy of Cake Rocket
Baby shower cake
Cake courtesy of Cake Rocket

Baby’s hideaway

So here we are, only one sleep away from welcoming baby. Can you believe it?! The time has really flown by. Lots of things didn’t get finished and will just have to wait for another time. I’m okay with that. We’ll take this all in stride, like we have all the other things that have come our way. That’s not to say that I’m not freaked out about how to keep an infant alive, though. I just mean that we’ll figure out how to fit things into our new life, find a new way of walking through each day and moment. I’m embracing the change that is coming our way.

Here’s a little tour of the nursery that has been slowly coming together over the past several weeks, as different bits of furniture arrived. The walls are looking a tad bare, but rest assured, there are plans in the works for getting it more cozy.

Nursery
A comfy glider chair (courtesy of mom) and pretty new dresser with change table on top
Nursery
Sweet crib (Toys 'R Us) and bookshelf (Ikea)
Nursery birds
Cute crochet birdies
Nursery
Closet, diaper pail & hamper ready for use
Closet knobs
Pretty knobs for the closet, purchased at Anthropologie

A couple of notes… the crib sheet, which you can’t see too great in these photos, is adorable! Just take my word for it. I purchased it from a fellow Etsy Alberta teamie, Jaimie, who runs Parker & Posie. Thanks so much Jaimie!

And as for those wondering about the little crochet birdie family, I made them up over a year ago, using a tutorial by Attic 24. I simplified things a bit (as I tend to do) by just cutting the wings and beaks out of felt, instead of crocheting them. They have little buttons for eyes and feet and they hang from a ribbon. I made two sets of these birdies at the time, but the other set has four birds… maybe one day in the future we can upgrade to that, but for now, the number three suits our little family.

Those knobs on the closet doors are a big deal (to me, anyway). Since the day we moved into this house, those door have been without knobs. Who knows where the previous owners put the original knobs! It didn’t matter much for a couple of years, because this room was the office and the closet didn’t see much action. But as we started converting this room into the nursery, it became more and more important to me to have, not just proper knobs, but unique knobs. We finally made our way down to Anthropologie last week and quickly found several beautiful options. We decided on two of similar design, but each is a different colour. Keepin’ it quirky in the nursery!

Well, I guess that’s it… in less than 24 hours we will (hopefully) be snuggling with our new baby and embarking on a wonderful journey. I’ll introduce the little one on the blog, as soon as I am able. I am prepared to be very patient with myself as I recover from the c-section and learn to care for baby. *If I get a chance today, I hope to prep some pre-scheduled posts for you to continue reading while we are consumed by our new life.*

Sad goodbyes and anxious hellos

Marcus & Sarah Napping
Photo by Scott Frank

That is how much of 2011 went. Started the past year off by saying goodbye to a much loved job and wonderful co-workers after a round of layoffs, which allowed me to dive into the nerve-wracking adventure of running my own craft business. I sat for months anxiously awaiting the birth of my friend’s babies, two special ones in particular, while mourning our own loss when my first pregnancy came to a sad and quick end (I don’t think I ever really said much about that here on the blog… a very private loss that has become a bit easier to share now that we have a healthy, full-term baby on the way). All the while, my mother’s diagnosis was going from pretty good to not-so-good when it was discovered that her cancer was already stage 3.

Hubby and I made the decision somewhere along the way to be baptized, together. It started out as a way to confirm the faith and reliance in God that has grown stronger and stronger in our lives. To say goodbye to old thoughts and habits, to be forgiven and to forgive. Who knew one of my greatest challenges would come the very night before our baptism? A horrible phone call to confirm fears that I’ve carried with me for too long. My oldest brother had died. At first we wondered how we could possibly go through with our baptism the next day… but that quickly changed to “how could we not?!” A clear sign from above that life is precious and often shorter than we expect. So instead of pulling away from our faith, we leaned into it even more.

Saying goodbye to my brother has had to be the hardest thing to do this year. In a way it has become more difficult for me as my due date draws near, knowing that he will miss holding his first niece or nephew. We will make sure our little one knows who he was and the amazing things he did to change the lives of others.

And so we sit and wait for the greatest of “hellos” we will ever have. A hello to the small life that has been growing inside me, to the person who has and will continue to forever change our lives. If we thought 2011 was a full and life changing year, just wait till this small babe arrives in only eleven more sleeps. Here we come 2012…

Patience, peace, and progress

Baby belly & yarn
Photo by Scott Frank
My poor neglected blog. It’s not the only thing that has been neglected a bit these days. Between a major lack of energy and increasing discomfort, I feel like I’ve been continually simplifying my days. And I’m okay with that. There’s been lots of time spent sitting by the Christmas tree reading my “baby” manuals, lots of naps, and small constant steps towards getting some things for baby made. My pile of little crochet baby sweaters has grown just a bit and there’s a freshly sewn stack of flannelette receiving blankets and burp cloths ready to be used. A few more projects sit waiting to be tackled in the coming weeks. All simple things. Some baby legs made from kids socks, some flannel baby pants, reversible pants for a little babe named Simon, and perhaps a little fleece outfit to bring baby home in (if I have time). I also have grand ideas for some pretty fabric wall hangings for the nursery. Some of which I hope to do after baby comes, when I need a little craft project to save my sanity. Since I don’t know what we’re having or what baby’s name will end up being, it makes it hard to do a project involving baby’s initial or name, which is what I have planned. Hence, having to do it following baby’s arrival.

Oh and there’s been some Christmas baking and lots of Christmas snacking these days too! My idea of a perfect morning at this time of year, is nibbling gingerbread cookies and sipping a coffee by the Christmas tree before the sun comes up. So peaceful! To cut down on a bit of the baking work, my mom and I made some cookies together and just shared the finished batch. Way less work than each of us making a batch. The two of us are a real hoot in the kitchen in right now! Between my “baby brain” and her “chemo brain”, we should probably have someone else supervise us. But the cookies turned out delicious in the end, so no harm done. Just lots of laughter and silliness. That’s really the best way to make cookies!

Compared to past years, I really didn’t do much Christmas “making”. At 36 weeks pregnant, I kinda knew that would be case. Hubby took on the role of Santa’s little helper and put together most of our gifts for family and friends. We usually try to do as many handmade items as possible, but again, I’m okay with simplifying that part this year. Still plenty of handmade goodness going on… just more nuts & preserves than sewn things. I DID manage to write up a ton of Christmas cards, which always seems important to us to do. So I can rest easier with that complete (sorry if some of these arrive late).

There’s been quite a bit of reflection these days too. My small family feels even smaller since my brother passed away. Although, it will grow soon enough. It’s amazing how much hope and joy and love this little babe can bring, and it’s not even born yet. Just wait until it comes into this world! And yes, it will be a sad day tomorrow, the first Christmas without Blake. Although we spent some Christmas days apart over the years, he always made an effort to video chat or call. So it will be strange tomorrow not to hear from him. Instead I’m trying to get used to hearing from him everyday, in my heart and memories.

Wishing you and your loved ones, a very special Christmas!

P.S. The beautiful photo above was taken by Mr. Scott Frank, close friend and talented photographer. He did an amazing photo shoot with Marcus and I recently to capture the three of us (baby belly included). The results are just so wonderful! It made such a huge difference, having a friend take these types of photos because he knew how to capture and bring out our personalities. So grateful to you, Scott! You can follow along some of the adventures in parenthood he and his wife Shauna are experiencing these days on their blog. And one day soon, hopefully, Scott will have an honest-to-goodness website for his photography and design business.

And then it was week 33

Little Baby Face

Somehow, today marks the beginning of week 33 of this pregnancy. I’m really not sure how we even got here. What a blur the past few months have been! I simply couldn’t ask for a more healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy. Sure, I have to have a c-section, but that’s not the end of the world. Baby is super average in all regards, developing along just as expected and, besides tiredness, I’ve been quite healthy and feelin’ good. Managed to survive six Christmas craft sales, with one left to go. AND we still don’t know what we’re having (boy or girl), which is becoming more and more exciting as we approach the delivery date!

Baby Fist Punching
Baby fist giving momma a little punch

The nursery is all painted, the furniture picked out, but not purchased yet. Car seat, stroller, and bassinet are waiting to be used. We’ve hired a postpartum doula, AJ Appleton, to give us a hand during the first few weeks and I look forward to getting to know her more as we go forward. Our prenatal classes through Alberta Health start up next week and towards the end of December I will be getting a lesson in breastfeeding from our doula. Our dear friend Scott will be doing a photo shoot for us, capturing the baby belly and some family portraits of the *three* of us (mama, daddy, and baby belly). My amazing friends and family are hosting a baby shower and it will just be so nice to see everyone before the Christmas holiday craziness gets into full swing. All the bits and pieces seem to be coming together. And it’s a good thing too, because we have less than six weeks till baby arrives and once we throw Christmas and multiple birthdays into the mix, December is sure to go by quickly. I can’t recall if I shared my c-section date here on the blog… it is set for January 12th. A Thursday. One week after my mom’s birthday (what a special gift to her this year).

Baby Foot
Baby foot about 2.5 inches long

Pretty in purple

Just wanted to share my new fav accessory these days. It’s been getting worn a lot! An empire cinch/belt. I have seriously had this project in mind to make for almost a year now (well before I got pregnant). Discovered this pattern in Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby, which is just such a lovely book! I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on here before. And of course, I’ve always pictured it in yummy purples and plums, so when I bought my one (and only) maternity dress, it was just serendipity that it too was purple.

When I realized that the first occasion I was going to wear my pretty purple dress was to my brother’s memorial service, for some reason I became determined to sit down and sew the empire belt. Maybe I just needed a soothing sewing project to work on that week, but whatever the case, I whipped this belt up. And I truly mean whipped it up! It was sooo easy! I had all the fabrics on hand. I combined scraps of silk brocade fabric with some printed cottons and solid silks on one side (the fancy side) and then used a printed cotton for the back (or rather the “everyday” side). Reversible items are just so awesome! I simplified this simple pattern even more by buying a package of double fold extra wide bias tape and 1″ wide satin ribbon instead of making my own edge binding and ties. Easy-peasy! I absolutely love the end result! Makes my baby belly look like a wonderful gift waiting to be opened! (Oh dear, did I just make some of you gag a little? Getting in touch with my inner sappiness lately, you know).

I’m sure loads of mommas-to-be have made this project, but here are a couple that I quite like:

25 Weeks

and no fruit photo to share with you. My weekly Keyword/Baby Size post was derailed for the month of September. I’m sure you understand. Hubby and I have certainly continued to relish the baby developments each week, but it just didn’t get shared here. At 25 weeks along now, baby is about 9 inches from crown to rump and weighing more than 1.5 pounds. It has just occurred to me that I have yet to take a single photo of my baby belly. For shame! I had totally intended to follow in the footsteps of others and document my belly each week throughout the entire pregnancy. Now all of a sudden we’re in the midst of our sixth month! Ugh… Perfection out the window. Of course, I’m quickly coming to terms with being imperfect and I’m okay with it.

Next week is exciting for us. We have our next prenatal exam, at which point, we’ll be able to book the c-section date. Finally an actual date! It feels more and more important to me now to have a date to look forward to. That’s not to say that baby couldn’t surprise us by coming early, but a date on the calendar would certainly be nice.

There hasn’t been any making of things for little babelette, so far. There’s a long mental list, which should really get written down somewhere, of things I want to make. It might not happen until December though, because between now and then, I will be neck deep in crocheting scarves. Happily though, I can enlist the grandmas-to-be in crafting for baby until I can join in. Our baby will certainly be wrapped in a great number of handmade things! A lovely way to start off one’s little life in this world, don’t you think?