Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Amelia's Newborn Photos

We are beyond thrilled with how the photos from Amelia's newborn photo shoot turned out! She was pretty feisty for most of the shoot, and I am thankful the photographer, Heather, was so patient. I can't say enough wonderful things about Heather Fairley Photography. We are sorority sisters and I met her through our alumnae group in Denver. She was a Zeta in Alabama and now is a professional newborn photographer at Denver area hospitals, with her own photography business on the side. She came to our house and brought all the props, and she even made the adorable aviation goggles! She was so patient and even when I was ready to give up and try the shoot another day, she hung in there and Amelia eventually fell asleep. You can check out her website here


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Checking Out the Neighborhood

We had beautiful weather this weekend so we decided to take walks to show Amelia the neighborhood. Of course, her first Saturday morning walk wouldn't be complete without a trip to Duffeyroll! Little does she know, she will be spending lots of Saturday mornings there and we hope she comes to love these delicious little bites of heaven as much as we do (and as much as Papa and Poppi do)!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Week 2

A few photos from our 2nd week with our little one...

I liked this photo for size comparison!

So far, she's happiest when she's naked, so needless to say, she loves diaper changes!

This makes me smile, he's such a trooper!

Our alma mater sent Amelia a bib - "Future Drury Panther" - so neat!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Amelia's Birth Story

Once you are pregnant, women start sharing their labor and delivery stories with you. I always asked my friends to tell me their stories, so welcoming stories about emergency c-sections and epidurals not working, is really my own fault. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful experience delivering Amelia, and since I felt like I heard more scary stories than positive ones over the last 9 months, I feel inclined to tell the world her birth story! I am eager to share because it was such a positive, enjoyable experience, and I hope it will be encouraging to other women!

I woke up around 5:30 am with what I felt like "cramps." I didn't wake up Chris until around 7:00 when I realized my water had broken, and woke him up to Google some signs of labor beginning - isn't that the most reliable way to diagnose things?

Flash back to Tuesday - At work my boss looked at me, telling me I looked ready to have a baby and she said she just knew I would have it that week. I had noticed I was retaining water moreso than before, and this was the only change that had happened recently. Also, on Tuesday night at acupuncture  I was doing some visualization of how I wanted labor to happen - similar to visualization like you do in sports, to picture how something will happen just as you want it to. I was doing this and I started noticed a lot of pressure and cramps in my abdomen. So much so that it kind of scared me and I thought I was bringing on labor, so I opened my eyes and stopped. Little did I know that the next morning my labor would really be beginning!

So logically, when I realized I was in labor, I hopped in the shower and began getting ready for the big day. I fired off an email letting work know I was crampy and working from home, and would be on my already scheduled 9:00 conference call. Chris also had a 9:00 call scheduled so he made a quick breakfast run to grab me a Jamba Juice smoothie (recommendation from child birth class instructor - get protein in your system because you won't be able to eat during labor), and a burrito for himself.

By the time the call began, I was no longer experiencing "cramps" and was now feeling full on contractions. After the call, my coworker called me and said, "Are you okay? You were breathing really heavily on the call." I explained to her that I was talking through contractions and that we were getting ready to leave for the hospital. Yikes!

We left the house around 10:30 and contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, so our plan was to head to the park and walk for a while. We were using Lamaze breathing techniques we learned in our childbirth class and I felt like they were moderately effective in managing the pain. But, after making Chris pull over 3 times to breathe thru intense contractions on the way to the park, we decided to skip the walking and head on to the hospital. Great decision! We arrived around 11:00 am and I stopped in the hospital lobby on the way in for a contraction. It's humorous the way people respond when they see you in labor! One woman with a 6 month old baby took one look at me and said, "Good luck!"

I was hooked up to monitors and checked - I was at 2 cm, 90% effaced and at a stage zero. I am convinced I was at a stage zero for months, she was always so low in my pelvis, ready to come out! The nurses were so encouraging and really helpful, supporting and cheering me on. I spent an hour or so breathing thru painful contractions and then decided since I still had so far to go with dilation, it would be best to go ahead and get an epidural. After the fact, I joked that second to marrying Chris, getting an epidural was the best decision of my life!

While waiting for the anesthesiologist I was given a narcotic for the pain and because the contractions were now at 2-3 minutes apart and so intense, but it didn't have any effect on the contractions at all. I feel like this confirmed I had made the right decision to go ahead with the epidural. Once the anesthesiologist got there, he began asking lots of medical history questions. I had a contraction start so Chris continued to answer the questions for me.

Chris' side of the story: And then Sarah slapped my arm and said "quit talking!"

Sarah's side of the story: Chris was helping me breathe thru contractions and since he was talking to the anesthesiologist, he wasn't helping me and I was frustrated, so I kindly asked him to please stop talking. HA!

The epidural had taken effect by about 1:30 pm and I was pain free, very comfortable and excited more than ever to meet our baby girl. We watched the movie Ocean's 11 and Chris went to grab some lunch. At about 2:30 I was checked again and had only dilated to 3cm, so we decided to begin pitocin to move things along.

Chris' side of the story: This was the point when Sarah looked at me and said, "Remember how we have leftover apple cake in the refrigerator? That is going to taste so good when we get home!" This was the difference between before and after the epidural.

Between 2:30 and 4:30 I went from 3cm to 10cm dilation. The doctor had stopped by at 4:30 to let us know that she was leaving to go pick up her dog from the vet but would be back shortly. She said she would check me before she left, and when she did, she said, "Oh, I will go call my husband to pick up the dog because you need to start pushing!"

The nurse came in and explained that we would do several test pushes to get the hang of things since I had an epidural. I could feel the contractions and the baby pushing her way down, but I wasn't in pain. Going into this I was scared that I would feel out of control and wouldn't be able to fully experience labor if I had an epidural, but my experience was just the opposite. It was enjoyable and memorable, and I loved that I was in complete control of my body and pushing the entire time.

We did a couple of practice pushes and then the nurse abruptly told me to stop pushing because the baby's head was starting to crown. She ran to the nurses station and paged the doctor to come back immediately, and she ran back to my room. The doctor and nurse told me to tell them when I wanted to push, so I did, and we pushed through about 3 contractions, for about 20 minutes, and Amelia was born! It was quick and easy, and we were all laughing and enjoying the special moment together. Chris said I laughed her out!

Amelia was laid on my tummy so we could touch each other for the first time, and Chris cut her umbilical cord. My favorite moment as a new mommy was when the nurses picked her up to move her over to the warmer, she was grasping my sports bra with her tiny little fingers, and as they lifted her up off my stomach, she wouldn't let go! I loved that moment, and will always remember those little fingers holding tight to her mama.

About this time, my mom came busting through the door, with her luggage and all! We knew she had booked a flight to Denver for that afternoon, but we didn't know what time she would be getting in. She sweet talked the airport gate agent to let her on an earlier flight, and arrived at the hospital just minutes after Amelia's birth. It was a very special moment to have my mom there.

The next few hours were kind of a blur of lots of happy tears, laughter, ohhing and awwing, and sharing special moments with our new little one. We joked about how efficient she was, since she got the job done during the work day, and we were really only labor from 9 am - 5 pm. Chris' parents drove from Missouri during the day and arrived late that night, so we got to see them the next morning. It was wonderful to have family there to welcome little Amelia into the world!

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable, perfect day and we were so thankful to end the day with a happy, healthy baby girl!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The First Week

We have had a wildly successful first week, hooray! I can't believe how fast it flew by. We're falling more in love every day, and can't get enough of her. She's opening her beautiful blue eyes more and becoming more alert. Mom and dad are getting the hang of her schedule a little more and creating more of a schedule for ourselves. We've made several trips to the pediatrician's office this week to monitor her bilirubin scores (for jaundice) and her weight. And, we also made successful trips to REI and Babies R Us - mainly because I was getting a little stir crazy and needed to get out and move!

Here's a quick list of things we're learning as parents:

  • We've learned about sleep - It's incredible how quickly your perception of "good sleep" changes. One week ago it would not have been normal to say, "Those two hours of sleep last night felt so great. I feel so rested." Now, two hours is magical, and three hours is a godsend.
  • We've learned why all baby gear is sold in multi or value packs - I was surprised to see that everything for babies comes in 3 - 5 - 10 or more packs. When we went through 5 bibs in one day this week, I realized why the bibs were sold in packs of 10, because logically you want them to last for two days before having to do laundry!
  • We've learned it's important to remember to eat - When you're entire day is focused on attending to her every need, we've realize that quite often, we forget to feed ourselves. And then when we don't eat, it's all downhill from there! I learned to keep a stack of snacks next to my nursing chair, on our kitchen counter, on our bedroom nightstand and in her diaper bag. It's incredible how great peanut butter crackers taste at 3 am when you realize you haven't eaten since you ate an early dinner at 5 pm.
  • We've learned the incredible power of friends - Our friends have signed up to bring us dinners for the first 6 weeks and we are so appreciative of this simple act of kindness. It seems so simple, but it's such a blessing. We would be eating peanut butter crackers for dinner if it weren't for them!
A few more photos from the first week:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meet Amelia Leigh

We are thrilled to welcome Amelia Leigh Gilstrap, born on April 3rd at 5:17 pm (The nurse made sure we knew that was 17:17, so neat!) and she measured in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces, and 19 1/2 inches. She made her grand appearance a full 12 days early. We were all thinking she may come a little early, since both Chris and I were born at 38 weeks, and now just like her parents, she too was born at 38 weeks!

We wanted a more traditional, classy first name and had several favorites, but soon after we found out her gender, daddy quickly decided on "Amelia" because of his love for aviation. I wanted to meet her before we decided on the name and announced it, and sure enough, I took one look at her and couldn't imagine her as anything other than our little Amelia. We love all that the aviatrix Amelia Earhart represents for women - determination, confidence, independence, empowerment, adventure, a passion for life and exploration. Our hope that our Amelia will always chase after her dreams and have confidence in her ability to accomplish whatever she desires to achieve in life.

Her middle name is in line with her daddy, Poppi and Great Grandpa Gilstrap - Christopher Lee, Stuart Lee and Robert Lee. We wanted to continue the tradition and opted for the feminine spelling. We love that this is a special family name that she shares with three generations of Gilstraps.

I'll share her birth story in another post, but we wanted to let everyone know that she is very healthy and doing well. She passed her hearing test at the hospital and had great apgar scores. She had a little bit of jaundice and has struggled to keep her weight up, so we have been supplementing with a little formula until she is consistently gaining weight. We are breastfeeding and feeding her 1 ounce of formula at each nursing. The formula will help with weight gain and also helped with her jaundice because it contains extra Vitamin D. She is a champ at nursing and received lots of great compliments from nurses at the hospital!

I am feeling great and am thankful to have had a very easy recovery thus far. I've been pleasantly surprised through this whole process at how well my body has held up and how good I feel - it's such a testament to how incredible our bodies are! I am so thankful for how well delivery went and how recovery is going. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to be struggling with taking care of myself while taking care of a newborn.

Daddy is doing great as well and has been nothing short of our hero this first week. He has changed almost every diaper thus far, has mastered the art of hushing her to sleep, burps her like its his job, and has been spending a lot of time running around the house retrieving things for me while I am nursing - food/water/remote/phone/computer/heating pad :) Everything these days is a team effort, and I couldn't be more thankful that we are on the same team!

We were thrilled to have Julie, Stuart and my mom at the hospital to welcome Amelia! We are so thankful for these special visitors to be there during the first hours of her life and it means so much to us to have their unconditional love, support and encouragement while we begin this new chapter as parents. Our families mean the world to us and we were thrilled they were willing to make the trip to Colorado to be there to welcome Amelia Leigh into the world!

Here's a collection of photos from this first week:

Getting cleaned up and checking vitals.

The nurses made these adorable hats with a bow for her - I think it's a Pinterest thing!

Proud daddy - I love this photo.

My team from work sent over these beautiful flowers - beyond thankful for these women in my life.

Her first official photo taken by the hospital for permanent records - it's a bit of a mug shot!

Sleeping at the hospital - you can see Chris' phone propped up next to her. We downloaded a white noise app that she loves. It must sound just like the womb.

Heading home from the hospital - she screamed from the moment we put her in the carseat until the moment we pulled up at our house. Here's to hoping she'll come to enjoy the carseat in the weeks to come, moreso than her first (traumatizing) experience.

Getting ready to be transfered from the labor/delivery floor to the mom/baby recovery floor on Wednesday night. 

Our first outfit for going home from the hospital - this is a 3 month size :) The pants were still pretty big, but the onesie was perfect in length. I think she has her mama's long torso! She was not very happy to have to be unwrapped from her cozy, warm swaddle - notice mom's hand on one side and dad's hand on the other. Everything is a team effort!

Proud Gigi!