Paige's NICU Birth Story

Ok so I have gone back and forth about sharing my birth story. It’s pretty sacred to me and putting stuff like that out there into the general public can be scary because of how close it is to my heart. But I do feel like I read so many birth stories that went exactly as planned and even though they are still completely beautiful and wonderful, I feel like it’s important to have ones like this out there too so mommas don't feel alone. Still beautiful and wonderful, but also scary and not expected. 

Last photo pregnant. Taken the day before we went in. 

Last photo pregnant. Taken the day before we went in. 

This pregnancy was so much more painful and uncomfortable than my other two. I was bigger and sicker. I had Braxton hicks like no ones business. But one night, a month before my due date, I started to get pretty intense contractions. They were bad but not getting worse. So I did a lot of swaying and not trying to overthink it. I packed my hospital bag just in case though. I tried to go to sleep but didn’t sleep very well. I was up at around 3am and woke my husband up. We decided it would be better to go in just to see what was going on and see if they needed to try and stop labor. My wonderful friend surprisingly answered her phone and came and slept on my couch so we didn’t have to wake our kids up. 

We checked in and they were worried about what was going on and ran all the tests but were probably just going to send me home. They checked to see how far dilated I was and right after that, my water broke. So they admitted me. Um I am a MONTH early.. how is it possible that I am having this baby right now? We were nervous but also hopeful that everything would be ok and excited to meet her so soon. I had a slight fever and baby girl’s heart rate was insanely stressed so they had concerns about an infection.

I got my epidural. I love my epidurals because I can still feel everything that’s going on without all the pain. I can always still move my feet and don’t feel trapped. I know when I need to push and can feel every contraction with pressure and not pain. 

Paige’s heart rate was still through the roof and not going down. And then all of the sudden I felt my contractions completely stop. My nurse called to tell my doctor and he told me if this continued, I was going to have to get a c section. I freaked. Like full on panic attack freaked out. I wasn’t expecting a baby already let alone a c section. My other two deliveries were like the easiest thing on the planet. I asked him to give me some time. He told me I had an hour (I really don’t like doctor bashing. Like it makes me so sad. Because most doctors are incredible and amazing and I 100% trust them and their abilities. But my doctor had the worst bedside manner on the planet. I am just going to leave all of that out because it’s not what I want to remember or is it helpful) 

Every time I panicked and my heart rate went up, it would make Paige’s even worse. So I had to try with everything I could to remain calm even though I was completely terrified. My husband was so sweet and so calming and helpful and everything I needed. 

We started praying so hard. Like praying the hardest I’ve ever prayed ever in my whole life. I know I would be ok if I absolutely had to get a c section, but mostly I just wanted my baby girl to be ok. The whole situation was so scary and nerve-racking. But as I prayed I felt my Heavenly Father’s arms wrapped around me clear as day. There has been countless moments since this experience where I close my eyes and try to remember it because I never ever want to forget it and how it felt and the heavenly love that was there.

My nurse came in and stopped talking and just stared at the monitor for a while. Then she was asked, “Do you guys pray?” We laughed and said “Harder than we’ve ever prayed before.” And she said “that’s the only thing that explains what’s going on right now because her heart rate is perfect and you are totally contracting just fine.” 

We were so relieved!! Not much later, a few pushes, and Paige was born. They handed her to me for about .2 seconds and then took her away immediately because she was completely purple and wasn’t breathing.

That moment where they hand you your baby after 9 months of being in pain and hours of panic and pushing and stress and tears is all worth it when they place that baby in your arms. It is the best moment in the entire world and nothing compares to the love that bursts out of every crevice of your heart. And I didn’t get it. I was devastated.

I couldn’t see what was going on, but she had a team of doctors surrounding her trying to get her to breath. All of them were tugging and beating on her with no success. They hooked her up to oxygen so they could breath for her. I kept asking over and over again if I could hold her and to please not take her away. My husband was by her and the look on his face was not reassuring even though he kept telling me everything was ok. Later he told me he thought he was watching his child die right before his eyes. 

Breathing for her 

Breathing for her 

They hooked her up to a bunch of machines and closed the lid over her bed. She was going to the NICU. They brought her to my bedside and I was able to put my hand into the little opening on the side of her bed and feel her shoulder and her cheek. I balled and balled. I needed her in my arms so bad it physically hurt. I told her I loved her over and over and then a few moments later she was gone. 

Matt went with her and I stayed back to deliver the placenta and recover a bit. I was shaking so bad and was having a hard time breathing. My head hurt and I was super nauseous. 

Matt with her while I was recovering. 

Matt with her while I was recovering. 

They brought me to my room. I felt so empty handed. After I got all checked in, I went to see her in the NICU. I walked in and was so overwhelmed with all the machines and thick smell of hand sanitizer. Seeing her tiny little self in that bed all hooked up to oxygen and feeding tubes and all kinds of monitors and IVs was overwhelming. I was able to reach in the little side holes again and touch her and tell her I loved her 47 million times. I kept asking everyone when I could hold her. A nurse told me I could come try at 9 that night. (I delivered at 10:30am so 9pm felt like an eternity) 

We went back to our room to try and get some rest. I would fall asleep for a minute and wake up in a panic. I couldn’t relax without her by me. Finally 9pm came by and we went in. They set me up in a recliner chair and pulled the curtains all the way around us and her bed. They took her out of her spaceship NICU bed and placed her on my chest. Tubes, IVs, and all. I finally felt peace. I was able to breath calm and just relax. They told me they could let me hold her for an hour. That hour came and went and they asked if I wanted longer and I told them I would sit there with her till they kicked me out. They were SO kind and so sweet and gave us some more time with her. It was the best thing in the world to finally hold my sweet girl. So many tears and so many emotions, but I could finally handle it all holding her. 

We went back to our room to try and get some sleep. Every time I woke up, I checked the little camera they had on her (This was amazing. I could check on her anytime, anywhere. Such a blessing) and would relax enough to go back to sleep. We then went back first thing in the morning when the doctors do their rounds. 

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They weren’t 100% sure what made me go into labor early and if she was ok or not so they were running a bunch of tests. It turns out they think there was some kind of infection that she had to get antibiotics for, she had blood sugar issues, breathing issues (but those didn’t last too long thankfully), and some jaundice. 

Under the lights for her jaundice. 

Under the lights for her jaundice. 

My other two kids came to see her and instantly fell in love even though I was worried all the tubes and stuff would scare them off. My daughter took one look at her and said “ Mom she is so cute! Thank you!!” Cue more tears from their already weepy mom. Hah 

So the next afternoon I got discharged. I sat in our room with my sweet husband as we packed back up her swaddle blanket and her cute little coming home outfit and bow that I so carefully picked out months before in anticipation of bringing her little self home, and put everything back in my bag. They wheeled me out in a wheelchair empty handed to the curb as I cried and cried. I legitimately thought I would crumble to a million pieces and die right there on the curb.

I got into the car and Matt told me we would come back all day every day and that he would make me a bed in the back of our van if I couldn’t bare to leave the hospital again. He was so good and so sweet to me. This whole experience brought us together in a way I didn't even know was possible.  

Pulling up to the empty house was brutal, but I took a well needed shower and a little nap. Then back to the hospital we went. 

The whole NICU experience isn’t something I can really put in words. Something I thought would totally kill me ended up being one of the most sacred experiences of my life. Heaven is so close there with all those sweet babies. Every nurse and doctor was unreal. They explained every single little detail and made sure we understood. They made sure we knew none of this was our fault or something we could have prevented. The whole experience was so unbearable painful and suffocating but also safe and sweet.  

Breathing and feeding tubes out! 

Breathing and feeding tubes out! 

One doctor in particular sat me down and talked with me for a good 15 minutes. He told me that I needed to take care of myself and that they were going to do everything in their power to keep my baby safe and healthy. He told me how much he loved his job and how honored he was to be working alongside women because women are incredible in nature. He asked me if I thought he ever thought about the Kardashians when he was at work and said no way. The NICU is a place where politics, media, race, gender don't matter. It gives you the ultimate perspective. He told me that down the road sometime when the world seems ugly and crazy, to think back on our NICU days and the people here and the things that happened there. The NICU really did end up being a sanctuary from the rest of the world. It turned out to be the sweetest pit stop in-between heaven and earth for our sweet little one. 

Saying goodnight

Saying goodnight

She ended up having to be at the NICU for a week. I could be there with her basically whenever I wanted except for shift changes which was a hour in the morning and an hour at night. They fed her every 3 hours so I would especially try to be there for those. (I was pumping and bringing in my milk and eventually would try to get her to latch before feedings for a bit) Basically all week long I drove back and forth to the hospital and would sit on that blue recliner for hours and hours. I didn’t eat much, my milk came in with a vengeance, and I was still bleeding and recovering. But there I sat with that sweet sweet baby in my arms that I never wanted to let go of. Matt would come with me and we would be there together surrounded by the beeping of machines. Her heels looked like minced meat from the heel prick before every feeding to test her blood sugar and have to get her IV replaced about every day or so after her little vein would blow out.

After I knew she would be ok, I began to enjoy my time with her a little more. It wasn’t ideal but I knew she was in good hands. This was the best place for her to be. And I knew when I brought her home, I wouldn’t have to worry because I would know 100% that everything was ok. It really forced me to slow down and enjoy her. And just gave me a lot of perspective through all the pain of just not having her home with me needle and pain free. 

After a week of spending hours upon hours on that sweaty recliner, way too needles and pricks, a day of not being able to really hold her because she had to be under the lights for jaundice, taking shifts watching the kids at home, sleepless nights, changing a diaper from the side in that dang bed, washing my hands 400 million times, and so many tears in elevators and kisses goodbye, we finally were able to go home. Unplugged and healthy. 

Going home!

Going home!

I am so grateful that things turned out ok and that she is healthy, happy, and wonderful. I am forever grateful to the wonderful NICU nurses who were so kind and good to us and my sweet baby. I was also not prepared for the overflowing amount of love from so many people. So many people shared their stories and gave me so much hope and peace. There really are so so many good people in the world and I felt extremely lucky to be surrounded by so many of them. I had no idea that being a NICU mom all of the sudden put you in this club of the strongest, most supportive and encouraging mommas I've ever come across. I felt so honored and so many brought me so much peace and hope. 

I wouldn't wish a NICU experience on anyone in the whole world, but I know I am a different person because of it. I couldn't possibly imagine having to be there a second longer but I know so many parents who have to. The strength those mommas have is awe inspiring and incredible. So give major hugs to any NICU mommas you may know. Their hearts are tender and brave, scared and hopeful. Ultimately I hated the whole experience but also am so incredibly grateful that heaven was close, how it's changed me and my perspective, and that my baby girl is home safe in my arms. 

Welcome to the world my sweet baby Paigey-Baby. You are such a gentle warrior and your strength has already completely changed me. I love you with my whole heart and soul and am honored to be your momma. 

home sweet home

home sweet home

Baby Essentials - What You Need And What You Don't

Once you have had a few kids, you really get a sense of what you really need. And all that extra stuff is like 10 times more annoying. So here's my list of my essentials. :)

1. Woombie: I love this freaking thing. It keeps my babies swaddled all night long, I don't have to worry about extra blankets in their bed, and I can unzip it from the bottom for those middle of the night diaper changes. Also no loud sticky Velcro and my babies arms don't have to be pinned down so they seem to like it more. I suggest buying two for when one is in the wash. 

2. Hand pump: This is actually new this pregnancy. I bought the most expensive breast pump my first baby and hated the thing. Unless you are going to be pumping a TON (like going back to work and need to pump every day) I actually totally suggest a hand pump. It is WAY less painful (this one especially), is actually really fast, and is super easy to clean. You can also do it on the go really discretely (under a nursing cover at dinner time if needed discretely. hah no way could you do that with a pump) and doesn't take up any space. And these bottles are my favorite. 

3. Ice packs: Actually doesn't even really matter what kind but I did like these cause they were easy to slip in my bra. But when your milk comes in ICE THEM! I never did this with my other two and it was a legit game changer this time. No heat ever. Not even hot showers for those few days. I got over my engorgement so much faster this way. 

4. Blankets: I am obsessed and everyone that knows me knows it. But they are wrapped up so much the first little bit that their blankets are basically their outfits. A simple onsie and a blanket are my go tos that first while. Plus I use them for a burp rag, changing mat, and nursing cover (when I don't have my Copper + Pearl nursing cover on hand)

My favorite brands are..
Max & Moose - Feels like a thick t-shirt almost. Keeps its shape perfectly when swaddling. Nice and big.

Solly Baby - Incredibly soft. Almost slippery so doesn't keep a swaddle AS well but pretty dang good. Also so big. And the cutest prints. 

Aden + Anais Dream Blanket - I really don't like their single layer bamboo blankets. They are terrible at swaddling and ride up when you hold your baby with one. But their dream blankets are the perfect cuddling blankets or when you want something with a little more weight.

Saranoni - The cuddliest blankets in the whole world. Heavy weight and just unreal soft. 

5. Onesies: Especially in the beginning. I always buy way too many newborn & 0-3 month clothes cause they are just so dang cute! But the truth is they just don't get used and are more annoying than anything else. These are super cute onesies for girls if it hurts to be too plain. hah

6. Bows: If you are having a girl my favorite bow shops are.. 
Loved by Sophia Claire - the sweetest little newborn bows
Bloomies Handmade - the cutest prints and styles. Lots of good deals and your first bow is free. 
Ellia May Designs - Some of the best prints ever! They also have a subscription which is rad. 

7. Binkies - Mam is my favorite brand by a long shot. They stay in my kid's mouths so much easier than everything else. I also just figured out that you can take nail polish and rub off the designs for a nice neutral binkie. I also found this cool thing this time around to help keep it in the babies mouth. And for binkie clips I love Ryan & Rose and Loved By Sophia Claire. 

8. Shout Wipes: Guys these things are a game changer. I have met a stain these can't get out. And I love how portable they are for on the go. 

9. Pregnancy Clothes: Augh being in clothes is so difficult when you are pregnant. hah. But this was my favorite dress and I am so stoked I can still wear it after pregnancy cause it's legit the most comfortable thing EVER. I dressed it up and wore it to weddings and then around the house. It's so soft and the sleeve length and everything is very flattering. 

And after a ridiculous legging quest.. these Lululemon leggings were the most comfortable leggings by far. Which is depressing cause they were the most expensive. But I tried everyone's recommendations and these are just the best. They don't slide down or dig and cover your belly as your grow. I just got my normal size and they worked just fine. If you get a lot bigger during your pregnancy I might size up but they were extremely forgiving. And I legit wore them basically every day so I guess they paid for themselves. 

10. Baby Carrier - I love the Solly Wrap for the first little while. Then when they get heavier and for long days, I prefer a structured carrier like the Lille Baby. And for quick ins and outs I love ring slings like Sakura Bloom or Wildbird. I could do a whole post on baby carriers alone (which I might just do) so leave any questions you have in the comments. 

Extra things you don't NEED but are reallyyyyy nice to have:
1. Doona carseat - This is legit the most brilliant thing that has ever been invented. Carrying a carseat is legit the worst thing on the planet. But this one has wheels that tuck up in it so you can release them and it instantly turns into a compact stroller. And then. you can easily fold it back up and it clips into the base in your car. It is a little heavier than other carseats but it doesn't matter because you never have to carry it. Seriously the best thing ever. 

2. Dwell & Slumber - These dresses are incredible. They are SO comfortable and really easy to nurse in. They are long enough where you don't feel exposed and weird but not hot and annoying. I can wear them to bed and around the house and to Target. :) Clothes after you have a baby are just hard so these are my saving grace while my body adjusts. 

3. Dock A Tot - This little bed is super handy. I love that it snuggles your baby so they feel comforted and that it's portable so I can bring it around the house with me if needed. 

Things I don't use:
Changing table - I will NEVER walk all the way over to wherever the table is. Just doesn't happen.
Nursing pillow - I actually think they hurt more than help sometimes and if you do use it the first little bit, then they just end up taking up a lot of space once you don't need it.
Pregnancy Pillow - I "treated" myself to one this time around and hated it. 
Electric pump - Takes up a lot of space, hard to clean, uncomfortable. (unless you are exclusively pumping or you are pumping every day)
Newborn clothes - Just buy a couple packs of onesies. They are too little for anything else to be comfortable/ practical. 
Baby shoes/socks - They never stay on. Wrap them up in all those cute blankets instead. :)
The hospital mesh underwear - A lot of women say to stock up on these cause they love them. I really really hate them. Haha. Who wants a bloody pad hanging between their legs after birth? I go and buy a pack of granny panty underwear that I will throw away after all is said and done. I just like the feeling of everything being close to my body and regular underwear keeps your pad in place and is waaaay more comfortable.   

I hope this is helpful! I will be sure to add or edit if I come across anything else life changing as well. :) 

My Favorite Recent Amazon Finds

Guys.. Amazon has been really good to me lately. Something about fast shipping and a one stop shop for everything makes this mommas life incredibly happy. And I am bringing up my love to a whole new level with buying clothes from there. Hah! But nothing good is worth sharing if you can't share it right? So here is a ridiculously random round up of my favorite purchases recently. 


My new all time favorite dress:

This isn't a maternity dress, but it's everything you would ever want in a dress if your preggo or not. It's lightweight and flowy. Buttons all the way up the front (hello perfectly nursing friendly). Has an elastic waist that doesn't cut into your waist. And a super flattering sleeve length. It comes in a bunch of different patterns & colors, and I am tempted to buy a million of them because they are only around $24. #score! I am wearing a size small and ended up cutting off the front tassel things because they were purely decorative, and I didn't think they added anything to the dress. And for the first time in a long time, getting ready for church pregnant didn't make me depressed AND I don't have to say goodbye to it after I have my baby. 

BUY ON AMAZON

A good non blinds option:

I don't even have a before photo because the blinds in this room were legit a embarrassing nightmare. They were those skinny cheep blinds that kids destroy in about 1.2 seconds. And we don't have room/ particularly enjoy curtains so I found the coolest alternative! These window clings took barely any time to put on, and it's insane how much better they make our room look. They still let in a lot of light so they won't work if you are looking for a blackout option. They provide the same privacy as curtains, and I love all the natural light flooding into my room at the same time. I also think this or this design could be a lot of fun. (basically if you don't understand the concept, you know those window clings they make for kids to play with on windows? Like stickers without adhesive? These are the same idea.)

BUY ON AMAZON


Two of my all time favorite maternity dresses I have ever worn.

This one I legit wore all day and it was the most comfortable I have been since I got pregnant. And this one is much too cute to be as flattering and comfortable as it is. 

Smart Plugs:

So we have lights in the house without switches so I have to physically unplug them. Or my kids are always asking me to help them with their lamp. ( Hello rental problems right? Our whole house doesn't have hardly any lights installed anywhere.) So these things you plug into your plug,s and you can turn the switches on and off with your phone. You can also set them to go on at a certain time. So the kid's room light will turn on when the sun sets every night and it's one less thing I have to worry about. I know not everyone needs these, but for us, they have been a game changer. 

BUY ON AMAZON