Friday, February 7, 2014

Welcome to the world Caroline Jean! The story of our greatest gift...

So, in my first ‘return to blogging’ post, I promised to take you all through each of my life milestones over the past four years. What better way to start than with the birth of my first child?

The sweet smell of baby lotion. All of the little coos and cuddles. Looking back on the birth of my daughter, Caroline Jean Surratt, is bittersweet. I would give anything for just one more day to hold her as a newborn and, at the same time, I’m in total wonderment as I watch her become such a sweet, independent and adventurous little preschooler. She turned exactly 2 and ½ just a few days ago. I celebrate her today and everyday. But turning 2 and ½ was a great excuse for a cupcake and new toy!

Jason and I started trying to have a baby about one year after we were married. Just like many other young women, I thought I’d get off of birth control and we’d be shouting pink or blue within months! It was easy, right? A year later and still no baby, we discovered we were very wrong. I know many of you have been there. 

Concerned after almost one year and no sign of pregnancy, we decided to visit my OB for guidance. After several embarrassing and painful fertility tests, we learned that I had low progesterone, endometriosis and potentially a blocked fallopian tube. Surgery was scheduled for December 27th in order learn more. We all agreed this was the next best step. Discouraged, frustrated and worried that I may never get pregnant, we entered the holiday season with the isolation and fear that only infertility can bring. “Please give us a baby Lord,” I prayed without ceasing from the depths of my heart.

As Christmas drew closer, we spent time with my parents in preparation for all of the holiday festivities. (Yes, Santa still comes and I’m 31.) My mom commented that my skin looked red and irritated. Later that day, I yelled at Jason and burst into tears following the argument for no good reason (ok, that happens sometimes!) And that night, my nose started to bleed. I just didn’t feel like myself. Could it be?

On Christmas morning, I awoke at 4 a.m. I’ve never been so excited to pee in all my life. And there it was. Two. Lines. TWO LINES!!!

December 25th, 2010 brought the best news of our lives. Jesus had given us a gift on HIS birthday. A baby that had been prayed for, yearned for and desired with all of our hearts. Needless to say, my surgery was cancelled. The look of on our family members’ faces that morning was priceless!

As Caroline was carefully and wonderfully knit together inside my womb, I complained more than any other pregnant woman has complained in the history of ever. I puked in every sink, toilet, trashcan and grocery bag from here to East Nairobi. I fainted, I cried, I threw things and my ankles grew to epic portions- think Michelin man. I was convinced that I was probably going to die before that baby ejected from my body! Heidi Klum, we all hate you.

After a trying (hellish) pregnancy, Caroline scared us at her 33-week ultrasound. She was not moving like she should be. I was ordered to rest, and left the doctor in tears. “Please let her be ok Lord,” I prayed. The next morning at our favorite Dalton eatery, The Oakwood, I told Jason that something was wrong. After the pain escalated, we decided to go to the emergency room. I was in pre-term labor. I was terrified, and poor Jason was simply freaking out!

After hours of monitoring, steroid shots and medication to subside labor, I was sent home. For two weeks, I stayed in bed and worried. Worried, worried, worried. I worried about Caroline. I worried if our house was ready for the baby. I worried about work. I worried about missed wedding showers and birthday celebrations. I worried about stretch marks and cellulite. I worried about the grocery list. Oh, how silly I was! If I could have only looked in her eyes, the worry would have revealed itself as so insignificant.

After two weeks of literally feeling her head protrude, my water broke while sitting on the couch watching TV with Jason on a Sunday evening in July.  Jason was convinced that since water did not gush out on the floor like a waterfall , then my water did not truly break. We decided to walk around the neighborhood just to gage any laborious activity. By the first block, my head was literally encircling like The Exorcist. We needed to get to the hospital now. NOW!!  Looking back, I’m pretty certain it took Jason 5 hours to get us to the hospital.-- the hospital was one mile from our home.

My labor was painful and fast. We arrived to the hospital at 9:30 p.m. and Caroline was born by 11:38 p.m. I was surrounded by my best friend Andrea Jones and Jason for most of the laboring which was done naturally. I was a childbirth class drop out and was not nearly equipped with enough pain coping techniques to labor naturally. I would imagine sitting peacefully in a meadow, and then I would imagine catching the meadow on fire! I’m pretty sure Andrea could be a midwife. I almost broke her hand, but she did an amazing job aiding me through the worst of the pain. My mom gave me one tip on childbirth, “Start screaming for the drugs the minute you arrive to the hospital!” Ha! 

My mother-in-law and mother arrived just as the epidural was administered. However, it did not set in well. And it was time to push. Encircled by the strength of my husband, Mom and mother-in-law, Caroline Jean Surratt was born at 11:38 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, 2011. While I daydreamed about the experience over and over again, no one can prepare you for that amazing moment when the doctor places your child on your chest. My Christmas miracle had arrived! I kissed our perfect angel through laughter and tears that came from the hollows of my being. It's the moment when you truly realize why you were created-- and that are a total rock star for just pushing out a tiny human! 

And now I'm watching that perfect angel play with her Minnie mouse doll and yank the pug's "squrily" tail. 

I would love to hear your pregnancy and labor stories. We all have such wonderful stories to tell! And I'll be posting much more about this sweet little girl. We have her nursery, over-the-top birthday parties, new big girl room and much more to chat about soon!

Some of my favorite photos:

Because she was born at 35 weeks, Caroline’s lungs were not yet fully developed and she needed breathing assistance and a feeding tube.  She was whisked away to the NICU. She stayed in the NICU for eight long days as her lungs gained strength and her suck/swallow reflex developed.

Caroline is finally coming home from the hospital! She looked so sweet and beautiful in her pink smocked homecoming gown and handmade blanket made by my late grandmother.  I remember Jason driving so slowly while I sat in the backseat draped around her car seat.

Welcome home Caroline Jean Surratt! You are so loved!


3 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. I was able to get pregnant, but could not sustain the pregnancies. Three miscarriages, the first was the worst emotional toll on me. I was 5 1/2 months along. I knew something was wrong as I was bleeding profusely. I called my mom (a nurse) and my doctor. I had to get to the emergency room fast. The trip to the hospital (3 miles) was tough. I had bled through 6 maxi pads, a towel and the cars seat. At the emergency room I was told I was miscarrying, the baby had to be delivered which I didn't understand. It was a boy. My baby Christopher Neal is in heaven. I was rushed to surgery. After two more miscarriages, I was given progesterone. I got pregnant again. At this point my husband was not there, he wasn't all along but I had family. At 5 months pregnant my doctor took me off work. I had my cervix sewn up hoping to sustain this pregnancy. It worked along with bed rest. I delivered my daughter Kathryn Mary on August 28, 1992. My only child. She is my angel. They do grow up fast. All my best to you and your family. God Bless.

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  2. Dawn, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I just recently had a miscarriage which I'll be posting about soon. I'm so glad you got your miracle baby in Kathryn Mary! Please come back to chat soon!

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  3. So glad Caroline arrived safely and healthy! My second son was born at 26 weeks and 3 days and spent almost 3.5 months in the NICU. He is 17 months now and doing well, outside of a few hospitalizations for viruses. Due to the damage in his lungs (from both the prolonged use of oxygen and just because he was so early and small), even a common cold can hit him harder than full-term babies. I'm so sorry to read about your recent loss of Conner. I hope you and your family find peace within this tragedy.

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