Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birth of a Baby Girl

Mikayla's hospital picture - I would love to have known what she was thinking! I love the face she is making!
A couple of years ago, on his birthday, I posted Drew's birth story. At that time, I said I would be posting about Mikayla's birth story soon. Unfortunately, soon turned into a couple of years later. Her birth has been on my mind a lot lately as I think of her as a seven year old, who thinks she is going on 16. A lot of times I find myself wondering where the time has gone. Since we found out that we were expecting her, she has been our little peanut. It is hard for me to believe that our sweet baby girl has grown into a sweet, sassy, smart, independent seven year old.

Craig and I always knew that we wanted to have at least 2 children, maybe 3. We also had talked about our first two children being 2 - 3 years apart. So, when Drew turned a year old, we started discussing the possibility of adding to our family. On New Years Day in 2003, a home pregnancy test showed that we would be, in fact, adding to our family. Craig and I were ecstatic, and Drew was happy about it, but at 17 months old I'm sure he didn't understand how his world was about the change. He was first grandchild on both sides of the family and had been king for the last year and a half. Craig and I went to my first doctor's appointment at the end of January, where they did an ultrasound to help determine my due date. The first time we saw our second baby on the screen, she was no bigger than a peanut, so that's what I called "her" until we knew for sure that we were having a baby girl. From the ultrasound and other information, it was determined that my due date would be September 4, 2003 - we were looking forward to having two precious gifts in our lives 26 months apart.

The pregnancy progressed very similar to my pregnancy with Drew. We were overjoyed when we found out that we would be adding a little girl to our family at our second ultrasound. Then, we were facing our biggest fears when my triple screen test came back showing a 1% positive for Spinabifida (sp). When I got the call from Dr. Toler at school, I knew something was not right. I got so upset that Craig didn't even know who I was when I called him to tell him. Dr. Toler scheduled us for another ultrasound the following week to check for sure, but he felt pretty sure that this result was a "false positive" due to the fact that we had just had our ultrasound the Friday before and the tech did not notice anything abnormal. When we went for our next ultrasound, we were again assured by the tech that all looked normal and that our baby girl was okay. The doctor then offered reasons why these tests sometimes come back with a "false positive" result and told us that we would be having an ultrasound each month for the remainder of the pregnancy to ensure that Mikayla was on track for growth, and that her kidneys and other organs were developing normally. It wouldn't have changed a thing had things been different - we would have loved (already did love) our girl anyway. Thankfully, though, everything was fine and our baby girl is perfect!

In my third trimester, as in my third trimester while pregnant with Drew, my blood pressure began to rise. For some reason, I have a history of pregnancy induced moderately high blood pressure in my third trimester of pregnancy. For that reason, I was scheduled for an induction with Mikayla one week before her due date. Craig and I were scheduled to arrive at the hospital the night before, on August 27. Cervidyll (sp) was used to soften my cervix to prepare my body for what was to come. The next morning, August 28, 2003, at 7:00, I was started on a Pitocin drip. The morning of my labor progressed very similar to Drew's. Craig and I had already spoken extensively with my nurses, as had Dr. Toler, to let them know that I didn't labor very long with my son and that the delivery was even quicker. Dr. Toler had given them strict instructions to call him as soon as I had dilated to 5. (With Drew, only 30 minutes passed between the time that I had dilated to a 5 and he was born.) Dr. White did not make it for Drew's delivery, and Dr. Toler was hoping to make it for our sweet girl's.

There were many people at the hospital that morning with us. Drew was at daycare because we didn't want him to see mommy in pain, but we knew he would be at the hospital as soon after delivery as possible - Aunt Jennie was going to pick him up after her eye appointment that afternoon. Daddy, of course, was there, along with Poppi (my daddy), Mimi (my mommy), Grandpa (Craig's daddy), Grandma Cheryle (Craig's step-mom), Uncle Chris (Craig's brother), Aunt Jennie (my sister), Uncle Jonathan (my brother), Aunt Laura (my mom's sister), and Grandma were all there to help us welcome our new little bundle of joy. Throughout the morning, they were all allowed in the room and we were laughing and talking. After my water was broken, however, the pain got more intense and I asked for my epidural. We had also already talked with the nurses about how my epidural did not work for the entire time during Drew's labor and delivery. Because of all of this information we provided my nurses, they stayed in our room a good part of the day. They would leave for minutes only to go check other patients, and then they would return to check on me. I was very grateful for this!!

As with Drew, the epidural provided me with about 30 minutes of relief from the pain. After 30 minutes, the pain returned and it was more intense than before I received the epidural. After talking with the nurse about this, she proceeded with the "wipe test". She wiped a moist towelette on my forehead and asked if I could feel that, to which I replied "yes". She then wiped a towelette on my stomach and asked if I could feel it, to which I replied "yes". She then wiped a towelette on my right thigh and asked if I could feel it. When I replied "yes" to that, as well, she said "you aren't supposed to feel that". So much for the epidural, huh? But I had already told them that - remember that I delivered Drew basically having nothing for pain.

Once my nurses discovered that the epidural was not working, they did give me Demoral in my iv, which helped tremendously. I labored longer with Mikayla because she was "sunny side up" - in other words she was laying on her back, instead of on her belly. I was having extensive labor pains/contractions, but showing no progress due to this.
However, during one of my intense contractions, the situation got very scary for all of us. I begin to hear a heartbeat on the monitor (they had been monitoring Mikayla's heart rate the whole morning) that was way to slow to be a baby's heartbeat. When I asked the nurse whose heartbeat it was - I was sure it was mine, she said "no it's the baby's". I then went into panic mode - asking over and over again what was wrong because I knew her heartbeat wasn't supposed to be that slow. The nurse told me that it wasn't, but that everything was going to be okay, she just needed me to calm down. She kicked everyone out of the room except Craig and my Aunt (who is also a nurse) - we had already been told that only 2 people would be able to be in the room and our plan was for Craig and my sister to be in there. I didn't want my sister to see anything go wrong, so instead I asked my aunt to stay in there with us. My sister had to leave for her eye appointment shortly after that and would be bringing our boy up to the hospital for us soon. She asked me to take deep breaths and calm down - that would help my baby the most. They were rolling me from side to side, shaking my belly, and I even had an oxygen mask put over my mouth and nose and was instructed to breath deeply. They massaged the baby's head, and were getting ready to prep me for an emergency c-section (had called for the doctors and all) when Mikayla's heart rate picked back up. All of this happened in a matter of seconds or a couple of minutes at the most, but it sure felt like hours. During the next contraction, Mikayla's head crowned, and one nurse said "I don't know what it is, but it has a head full of hair". I just remember saying "my baby?" because Drew was bald until he was almost 2. Less than a minute later, at 3:33 pm, Mikayla Alysee was born with one push. She weighed 7 lbs 5 ounces, was 20.5 inches long, and was absolutely, beautifully perfect. When she was first born, I didn't hear her cry immediately, and again felt terror. But my aunt reassured me that she was fine - that they were suctioning her nose and mouth. A second later, I heard the most beautiful cry I've ever heard in my life and my eyes filled with tears. I just kept saying, over and over, "that's my baby, that's my beautiful baby girl". And she was! Dr. Toler did not make it to deliver our sweet girl, and instead our two nurses delivered her, with the help from the operating room doctors who had come just a few seconds before thinking that I would need a c-section. The nurses told us afterward that what probably happened (to cause her heart rate to drop) was that when I had the last big contraction, Mikayla flipped over onto her belly. She was squeezed so much that her heart rate dropped a few seconds. Because of this, the NICU team was also in my room during delivery, ready to take her there if needed. We were so fortunate that our baby girl was perfect in every way when she was born, and she didn't have to go to NICU at all!! Craig and I were very emotional after all of this, and he stepped out in the hall and began to cry. We didn't know that our family had gone down to the cafeteria to get some lunch. When they walked back up the hall, the first thing they saw was Craig leaning again our door, crying. They didn't know that we had a healthy baby girl, so of course their first words were "what happened?". He reassured them that she was here, and that all was fine now. They all got to come into our room, then, and they got to meet our sweet little baby girl! We were all talking at once - about how our lives were changed forever. A few minutes later, Aunt Jennie came into the room with Drew so he could meet his new baby sister. He loved her from the first moment he saw her! He kissed her and talked to her (and all of us) for a couple of minutes, and then daddy took him out in the hall to press the button to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to announce that another star had been born. Drew doesn't remember it, but we always tell him how he got to be the one to announce that his baby sister had been born.

Mommy gets to hold her baby girl right after she is born!Grandpa gets to hold his first granddaughter right after she was born. I couldn't get this picture to turn right side up for anything. We sure miss Grandpa!!Mimi and Poppi hold their granddaughter right after she was born. I love the adoring look my daddy is giving her!!Uncle Jonathan holds his niece right after she was born. She had him wrapped the first moment he saw her!
Daddy holds Mikayla while big brother, Drew, loves on them both. This was the day she was born, and Drew didn't want to leave the hopsital. The only reason he did was because he was spending the night with Mimi and Poppi.

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time - I even have it as a black and white. Mikayla sleeps on daddy's belly the night she was born.

It was a stressful day for all of us, but a joyous day as well, because we got the best gift of all on August 28, 2003 - a new baby girl to hold, love, and raise. Thank you, God for giving us Mikayla. Our lives would surely not be the same without her.

Aunt Jennie holds Mikayla the day we came home from the hospital. She has adored her since the first time she laid eyes on our girl!

Drew has always been such a sweet big brother - well, most of the time. He loved trying to give her her paci when she had lost it.

Another one of my favorites - our two angels napping side by side. Drew had just turned 2 in July and Mikayla was almost a month old in this picture.

Mikayla's first Christmas - 2003. Poppi was holding her and Drew, but they sure were focused on something else!

Grandma and Grandpa hold Drew and Mikayla that first Christmas in 2003.

Mikayla looked so cute in this "Santa Girl" outifit. Nana was holding her at our get together at Uncle Chris and Aunt Julie's house.Mikayla's first snow! January 2004 - we didn't keep her out there long at all, but we at least were able to get this picture of her on the sled with big brother, Drew. Mikayla turned 1 on August 28, 2004! She has been lighting up our lives ever since!! We love you baby girl!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

2010 was a good year for our family! We stayed busy with baseball and softball for much of the year, which was fun. We enjoyed good health, good relationships, and most of all lots of fun as a family. We thank God for all of these blessings and we can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for us!!

Friday, our family spent a lazy day. I went to pick Mikayla up from her friend's house (she had spent the night Thursday night) around lunch time and then we came home. We watched a lot of football, including the Clemson game, took naps, and then went out to eat at Hibachi for dinner (Drew and Mikayla had been asking to go there for a week). After dinner, we came home to watch the Carolina football game, and then waited for the ball to drop. Drew, Mikayla, Craig, and I all stayed awake long enough to ring in 2011.
Happy New Year from our family to yours!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

10 Years - Wow!

On Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, Craig and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! I have been married to my best friend for a whole decade - and even more surprising - I have spent over 1/3 of my life with him. I remember the day we were married as if it were yesterday - my mom fixed my hair so that half of it was pulled back away from my face, but then it spiraled down in pretty ringlets. She even added a touch of Baby's Breath, which I loved! Then we headed to the Spartanburg County Magistrates Office, where we were joined by my mom and dad, Craig's dad, my sister, Craig's brother and his wife. At 12:00 pm on Friday, December 29th, 2000, I became the wife of Craig and our lives became one.
We have had so many wonderful experiences in the past 10 years - the birth of our son, Drew, and then the birth of our daughter, Mikayla, top the list!! We found a church to call home, and Craig and my children were even there when I was baptized. We survived on one salary while I completed my student teaching, and Craig was the first one I called to tell I had my first teaching job!! He was the one that I called when I was selected as our school's Teacher of the Year, and then again when it was announced that I was our district's Teacher of the Year. He attended the Teacher of the Year banquet for our district where I had to give a speech. I will never forget the words of my principal after his observations that night - "I was watching your husband as you gave your speech and his face was so full of love." "I could tell that he is so proud of you!" I will also never forget my husband's words when the State Teacher of the Year was announced - "You will always be our teacher of the year. God knew what He was doing - He knew that the kids and I couldn't survive without you for a year." You see, the SC Teacher of the Year takes a 1 year hiatus from the classroom and travels the state. Those very words have brought such joyous tears to my eyes, even as I recall them now. We experienced all of the "firsts" of our two precious angels - first bath, first smile, first time rolling over, first tooth, first haircut, first steps, and all of the other firsts along the way - together as husband and wife.
We have watched as Craig's brother, Jason, graduated from the Highway Patrol Academy and began his job serving our great state. We have loved getting to know our sweet nephew, Haston, and our sweet nieces, Belle and Ella! We have watched as my daddy bought his very first brand new truck. We have watched my brother purchase his first home, and we watched my baby sister grow up right in front of our eyes - from the shy 13 year old hiding behind me when Craig and I first met, to the beautiful, confident 24 year old that she is today. We have enjoyed 10 years full of birthdays, family gatherings, Christmases, Vacations, and memories that we will hold dear forever.
I won't say that the past 10 years have always been easy, and I won't say that we have been without our share of trials, but He never promised it would be! What I will say - and what I believe with my whole heart - is that everything happens for a reason according to the Will of God. Craig and I believe we are right where we are meant to be, and we are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives making many more memories together as husband and wife. Happy Anniversary to my best friend, my soul mate, and the love of my life! I thank God every day for you!!
Craig surprised me with these beautiful roses on Wednesday - I was all smiles when I saw them!!My daddy agreed to keep Drew and Mikayla (Craig called and arranged this for the first time, and it made me such a happy girl - it's the little things that mean the most!!) so that Craig and I could go out to dinner! They always like when we go out on dates because they LOVE staying with their Poppi!
Daddy and Poppi talk to each other after we got back from dinner.

Another picture of my beautiful roses - this was such a thoughtful gift!! There is one rose for each year we have been married, for a total of 10!
10 years of marriage is such a big milestone, and I can't wait to celebrate many, many more with my sweet husband!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

School Programs 2010

On Thursday, November 4th, the Annual Veteran's Day Program was held at our school. All of our second graders perform in this program, under the direction of Mrs. Jana Curry. Drew loved participating in this program when he was in second grade, and Mikayla couldn't wait to participate as well, as school programs at our school begin with our second graders.Mikayla was so excited that she got the part of one of the flag bearers in this program. She was following in big brother's footsteps - when Drew was in third grade, he got the part of SC flag bearer during the third grade SC Program (pictures of that are hopefully coming soon). Mikayla was peeking at her Mommy, Daddy, Mimi, and Poppi by looking over to the side as she held the flag.After holding the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance, she joined some of the other second graders on the stage to sing. All Mikayla had been talking about all week, was how Mrs. Curry expected them to open their mouths wide while singing on stage. My girl is a good listener!
Mikayla, as well as all of the BSES second graders and Mrs. Curry, did a fantastic job of honoring our Veterans that night! There were several Veterans in attendance. I know this is something that Mikayla will always remember!

Then, on Tuesday, December 14th, Drew and the fourth graders at our school participated in the 10th annual Singing Tree Program, under the direction of Mrs. Jana Curry. This was also the last Singing Tree Program as next year the fourth graders will leave our school and go to the Intermediate school, instead.
I know it is hard to tell who is who, but Drew is the one almost directly in the center of this picture - on the row in front of the back row (next to last row).
These fourth graders are doing a great job of opening their mouths as they sing on stage, too!
Drew looks out at his Mimi and Poppi while he sings.

Again, looking over at his Mimi and Poppi! Mrs. Curry, our wonderful music teacher sings O Holy Night for the audience. She is one talented lady!! Drew, and all of the fourth graders and Mrs. Curry, did a fantastic job in this program. They got all in attendance in the Christmas Spirit!
Craig and I are the proud parents who love watching our angels perform!

Meeting Marcus!!

Lattimore, that is!! On Saturday, December 11th, between the Christmas Parade and looking at lights at Roper Mountain, our family had the honor of meeting Marcus Lattimore!! He is an SEC running back and he just so happens to play for my favorite team - University of South Carolina Gamecocks!! He attended high school about 20 minutes from where we live and I was thrilled to find out he would be attending USC - my Alma mater this year!! He has since been named Freshman of the year for his accomplishments this year as a Gamecock!!

Lattimore is a super nice guy - even Craig said so, and that's a lot coming from a Clemson fan. He happened to be at a church here in our community as he was attending a youth basketball camp. One of my friends called (while Drew was napping) to tell me that he was there - she knew he was my favorite and she said her son and husband had just come from there and got his autograph. As soon as we got there, we asked some friends if he would mind if we walked over, and their response was "no - he's been doing it all day"! As soon as we walked up to him, he stood up, shook our hands and hugged us. Craig said he acted as if he had known us our whole lives. He was very mannerly, and went out of his way to talk with us. I also found out during the time that we spent with him that he had been shooting hoops with the boys on the court a little, too! He took time to talk with our family, take some photographs, and he even signed a football for Drew! Craig told him that I had been wanting to put him in our Christmas card, and I told him I tell people I want him to be our "Michael Oher" - he said that would be okay to both of those. We all just laughed!!

The football that he signed for our boy!! A lady tried to buy it from Drew on the way out, saying "you wouldn't want to sale that would you?" Drew said "no ma'am"! Then we heard another guy talking as we were walking out the door that they were going for 800 dollars on the Internet. The Internet will never see this football - for sale that is! This is one that our son will treasure for his whole life!!

This was an incredible experience for our family, and it was so nice meeting a "local sporting celebrity" to find out that he is the awesome person we knew he was all along!!

Christmas Parade 2010

On Saturday, December 11th, our family went to the annual Boiling Springs Christmas Parade! This is a yearly tradition for our family - one that we have never missed. We love to see all of the different floats, and Drew and Mikayla especially love catching candy and seeing Santa at the end! We always sit in the same spot - year after year, and Poppi always joins us for the fun. He likes the catching candy part as much as we do!!
Poppi, Mikayla, Daddy, and Drew watch as the parade begins to move down the street. Mikayla is excited about something as Drew waves and wishes them a Merry Christmas.
Poppi and Mikayla collect some candy from the middle of the street while waiting for the next group to move by.

Drew sits in his chair. He started sitting about half-way through the parade. This surprised me because Drew never sits down during the parade - he is usually always too busy collecting candy. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied with "my head and throat hurt". My first thought was oh no, please not strep. He had his fourth grade Christmas program three days from this date, and we had been waiting for this for years. He could not be sick.
Both Drew and Mikayla wave at Santa as he rides by!!

We always go to Mimi and Poppi's house each year after the parade, just because it is easier with all of the traffic. While there, Drew kicked back in my daddy's recliner and asked to be covered up. We really knew then, that all was not okay. We took Drew's temperature and it was 99.6. We decided it was time to head home so that Drew could rest. Once home, Drew ate very little for lunch and then curled up in mine and Craig's bed to take a quick nap. Luckily, he felt better after a little rest - as you will see on a later post!!

The Blackwell House and Pacolet Mills Christmas Lights 2010!

The Blackwell House is always beautiful at Christmas! I love this house - even without the decorations I'm sure it is beautiful. See the arches out front? Like I said, just beautiful. Our family discovered this house last year, and we said we would be back every year. Drew and Mikayla couldn't wait to visit again this year, and mommy couldn't, either! We decided to go on Tuesday, December 21st.
The "snow gazebo" where Santa stays.

The beautiful Nativity - Mikayla's favorite part!

Drew's favorite part is the huge tree with the trains circling it. It is very pretty.
On Thursday, December 23rd, Craig and I decided to take the kids to Pacolet Mills for the first time to view the lights. I had been one year with a group of friends before Craig and I met, but it had been so long I couldn't remember how to get there. We looked up the directions, and we were even more excited to find out that they have a Pacolet Polar Express for families to ride. Once Drew and Mikayla heard that, they couldn't wait to go.
We parked as soon as we got there and got out to walk the grounds. Drew and Mikayla always love the Nativity, no matter where we go. Next stop - the Train Depot! We listened to the story of The Polar Express and Drew and Mikayla looked at the book while we waited on the train. We each even received a special ticket - you can see Mikayla's in her hand.
We rode through a forest, across an ice patch, and right to the North Pole. Who do you think was waiting on us there? That's right - the big man himself. He greeted the passengers on the train and gave each of the children a "special treat" - a bell, just like in the book. Drew and Mikayla had the best time, and it is a memory we will never forget! Drew and Mommy on the train ride. They had blankets for the passengers as well because it was so cold.
Mikayla and Daddy on the train ride. Mikayla was a little worried about the ice patch...
After the train ride, we walked around a little more and looked at all of the decorations.
Mikayla took this picture of Daddy and Mommy!!
Enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights all around us is one of our families' favorite ways to spend the holidays. Merry Christmas, friends!!

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage