Sunday, June 30, 2013

Perfect Combination

If you remember I posted Jason' and I's first baby pictures awhile back. We found them and were surprised to see that 1985 babies in different States had the same newspaper background on the photos.

So of course Jason needed to photoshop Madi onto the same background for a comparison of who she looks most like. I personally think she is a perfect combination of Daddy and Mommy. What do you think?


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Newborn Photography Sneak Peek

Yesterday we took Madi over to see Marta from Beautiful Moments Photography and get newborn pictures taken for her birth announcement.

It wasn't easy finding a photographer here in Norway, but it was even more challenging to find one who also gives you the digital files! Most of them charged a reasonable fee for the session and then out the wazoo for each hard copy print!! No digital at all even offered. :-/

The best time to take newborn pictures is within the firsts 7-10 days. We were scheduled for Madi's 8th day and figured we'd be safe with that...Boy were we wrong!! Little Miss had a long night Thursday  leading us to hope she'd sleep more that afternoon. That was not the case!

Fortunately, Marta is an incredibly patient person (I suppose that's a pretty crucial job requirement for a newborn photographer) and despite peeing on three of her props and having to coax Madi to sleep every position/set change, we were still able to get some great shots!

Oh and she said Madi was only her third worst baby she's had in the year she's been doing newborn photography. There's no trophy for that, I asked.

Here are some "behind the scenes footage" we took of the session-

Trying to coax her to sleep...
Carefully positioned... now don't move!
Man, this modeling gig is hard work!
Team work!
Headband change!
Daddy and Madi :-)

We just got the proofs last night and are picking the ones that we want in our package, but this favorite is definitely going to be one of them!!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

One Week Today!

Gosh it's hard to believe that it's been one week since Madi was born! I have a strong suspicion I will be saying or at least thinking the same thing when she's 18 and about to graduate from high school... Just a good reminder to cherish the time that we have with her while we can!

And yes... I made a 0 month in her monthly onesies. :-)

What up homies!

So how was our first week? Well, it had ups and downs of course!

Ups -
  • Staying in the hospital hotel after Madi's birth
  • Madi gaining weight at both of her health station checkups
  • Getting my milk supply and being told we don't need to supplement with formula or have me pump after each feeding
  • Madi losing her umbilical stump
  • Getting decent 2-4 hour sleep sessions at night
  • Amazing friends coordinating meals so that we don't have to worry about cooking
  • Cuddling with this cutie!

  • Finally meeting Madi and not being pregnant anymore!! Goodbye weekly outfit and terrible fruit/vegetable chalkboard drawings!

Um, why are there clothes on my dinner?!

Downs -
  • A possible growth spurt that caused us to have some late nights and long afternoons of trying to comfort a crying Madi and feeling pretty helpless


Madi's Hospital Hotel Stay

We feel very blessed and very spoiled to have delivered our Madison Rose here in Stavanger, Norway. Granted right now she is an illegitimate alien who is not a citizen of the USA or Norway, but we'll fix that eventually. ;-)

After delivering Madi (birth story here) we were fortunate to snag a spot in the hospital hotel. It's a very busy time of year so there was a possibility we wouldn't be able to stay there. We got checked in around 10:30 pm Thursday, June 20th after Madison's delivery.

The rooms are actual hotel rooms and we had a double, meaning that Jason was able to stay there with me. They have midwives on call 24/7 to assist with answering questions, helping you breastfeed, and anything else that you are concerned about.

During our next three days at the hotel we took advantage of the help! We called the midwives to come check on me during feedings and make sure she was latching properly. They checked her weight during the weekend and encouraged me to start pumping because Madi was losing a little bit too much weight. Fortunately, she picked her weight back up at our visit to the helsestasjon after we'd gone home.

We had a good first night and the next two nights were a little rough. When Madi wasn't getting enough food she was having trouble sleeping. We allowed the midwives to take her both Friday night and Saturday night for a couple hours to allow us to get some rest.

We had all our meals at the hospital cafeteria and it was so nice to be able to just spend time taking care of Madison and not worrying about anything else! We spent a lot of time starting at this little cutie!

They also helped us give Madi her first bath and showed us how to take care of her umbilical cord. She was not a happy camper with the bathtub!

We took a trip up to the 7th floor to see my midwife who I've gone to for all my appointments. She was excited to see us and meet Madi!

We also got a chance to visit with some of my fellow ConocoPhillips co-workers! Ingi and Hugrun welcomed their little boy into the world on June 20th as well and Stig Arne welcomed his little girl the day before.

On Sunday we got everything packed up to head home. We enjoyed the stay at the hospital and all of the advice and help we'd been given, but were ready to go home! And slightly terrified to take her home as well. :-/ But she was stylin' in her personalized "Newest and Cutest Stingerie" outfit!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to NOT Follow Your Birth Plan (aka Madi's Birth Story)

"Nine Months of Wondering in One Second Solved." -Enid Bagnold

We knew that there was a strong possibility that things wouldn't go according to our birth plan for Madi. We prayed about the birth plan and prepared ourselves mentally in case one or two things didn't happen as planned...

In retrospect it's almost comedic how incredibly...different things went. In fact, the only part of the birth plan that we achieved was Jason cutting the umbilical cord and Darcy getting to hold Madi right away! But let's start from the beginning. Here's Madi's birth story from Jason and I along with our individual thoughts about the entire process included at the end.

Darcy began having contractions on Wednesday morning around 4:15 am. Jason went ahead to the office and Darcy stayed home timing them using an awesome iphone app of course! Plus she was in good company. :-)

The intensity wasn't much and they weren't frequent or very painful for most of the day. Towards the evening the contractions began getting closer together and Darcy started having a burning sensation in my lower back with each one. Finally, around 3:00 am on Thursday morning we called the hospital to inquire about coming in based on the contractions. They suggested we wait awhile longer, but by 4:15 am the contractions were closer together and more painful. We headed in and had to stop on the way because of the pain with the contractions.

When we arrived at the hospital we headed up to the 7th floor, the Fodeloft, where we planned to give birth. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor to check the contractions, Madi's heart rate, and let us know that we were dilated 4 cm. They monitored Madi for about 30 min before coming in and telling us that her heart rate was too high and we needed to go down to the 1st floor for the delivery. The 7th floor is only for "normal" deliveries. :-/ Deviation 1 from the birth plan.

We headed down to the first floor and were told that there weren't any rooms with a window or a bathtub. We were hoping for at least a bathtub. Deviation 2 from the birth plan. Darcy got hooked back up to the monitors. Another 30 min and they told us they were going to break my water and insert a continuous monitor onto Madi's head. Deviations 3 and 4 from the birth plan. 

During this time the midwife shift change occured, which we welcomed since the one that we had briefly breaking my water didn't speak English very well. In retrospect, Jason wished he would have asked more questions or pushed back some on the monitoring and breaking my water, but everything happened so fast we just listened to what we were told.

The next midwife checked me around 10:30 am and I was only 5 cm dilated. The contractions were still just as painful, but a room with a bathtub opened up and we were able to move into it. The bathtub helped some, but come 1:30 pm I was still only 5 cm dilated and the lower back pain was getting unbearable. It was hurting all the time and not just during contractions. We decided at that point to get an epidural. Deviation 5 from the birth plan.

The epidural made things significantly better. Fortunately in Norway, they do not do a heavy epidural. We believe in the States it's called a "walking" epidural. The medicine was not on very high and we were able to walk laps around the hospital ward, Darcy could still feel every contraction, but both of us were doing better mentally.

However, the epidural also slows things down a bit and Darcy was still only 6 cm dilated around 6:30 pm. Since they had broken my water earlier, they needed to start a pitocin drip on me to start progressing things. Deviation 6 from the birth plan.

The midwife started the pitocin at 30 and began increasing it every 15 min. The contractions started coming very regularly and very intensely since Darcy could still feel most everything. The contractions got to be so quick (every minute without a break) and the pain was increasing significantly. We asked the midwife to turn down the pitocin drip and she did, but it takes a while for the change to take effect. Darcy told the midwife that the pain was down in her tailbone and front and hurting really bad. She decided to check her again and was surprised to find that it was time to push. She pulled out the pitocin drip, hurriedly called another midwife to come assist, and started giving Darcy instructions on what to do. This was around 7:40 pm.

By 7:52 pm Madison Rose had arrived! The pushing was so quick that Darcy didn't get to touch her head when she was crowning. Deviation 7 from the birth plan. Jason got to see Madi's head crowning and see her arrive. The midwife picked her up, wiped her, and immediately laid her on Darcy's chest. Our daughter had arrived!!! Darcy and Madi began feeding and getting a chance to meet one another. 

The midwife gave Darcy a shot in the thigh to help pass the placenta. Deviation 8 from the birth plan. By this point, we didn't care. We were in pure bliss. Just a couple minutes later Darcy told the midwife she felt the urge to push and the placenta was out. 

As we held our daughter the midwife told us that she needed to call the doctor. In addition to having perineum tearing she was concerned about a possible anal sphincter rupture. Fortunately, the doctor confirmed that it wasn't a rupture and only second degree tearing.

After a few minutes the umbilical cord stopped pulsating and Jason was able to cut it. This and being able to hold Madi right away were ironically the only things that went according to our birth plan! We held and kissed our daughter for two hours until it was time for her to get weighed and measured. 

We needed to wait in the hospital room for awhile and make sure Darcy got something to eat. She had lost more than the 500 ml of blood that they are comfortable with (she lost 800 ml) and would need to have a blood test the next day as well. 

After a light meal in the hospital room, we transferred to the hospital hotel at around 10:30 pm.  We were fortunate that the hotel had availability and a double room so that Jason could stay with us for the next three days. 

Jason's Thoughts - This was the most amazing experience I have ever had, the miracle of watching our daughter be born is something not soon forgotten. It was also one of the harder experiences I have had, not hard in the physical sense, Darcy had that part taken care of, but hard mentally and emotionally. Seeing how much pain Darcy was in during the contractions and not being able to really do anything about it except try and keep her focused on breathing and get her through it was tough. This, along with first having the midwives recommend us going down to the first floor and then shortly after telling us they were going to break Darcy's water and put the heart monitor in her scalp left me feeling rushed, a little disappointed and wondering if maybe we waited just a little bit longer things would calm down. I mean, we had just rushed out of the apartment, bags in hand with Darcy in pain to get to the hospital and I can expect that didn't help Darcy's or Madi's stress level.

But, after all that I can't help but feel amazed at the whole experience, how wonderful it was to see our daughter brought into the world and how extremely proud I am of Darcy for what she went through and how well she handled it, even if it didn't go as planned. I consider Darcy to be very strong and have a high pain tolerance, and to see her in so much pain I knew it had to be pretty bad. Once the time to push came she did so well, pushing little Madi out in 12 minutes. The best part of the day was seeing Madi come out and hearing her little cry for the first time. It seemed like only a matter of seconds between the time her head came out and when Madison was out lying on the table, something I'll never forget. I'm so happy to finally have her here, what a tremendous blessing she is. I have an amazing wife, who is doing such a wonderful job with Madi. We're still learning this whole parenting thing, and I know she's going to grow up too quick, we just have to cherish every second we have with her.

Darcy's Thoughts - I definitely have mixed feelings about Madi's birth. I am so grateful that she's here and especially safe and sound. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn't also disappointed in myself that I ended up having to get an epidural. I knew things were bad and that we needed to do something when Jason was trying to cheer me up by telling me that we were going to meet our daughter soon and I hated hearing that, couldn't have cared less at the time, and started dreading her arrival. That is not how a mom is supposed to be feeling before she meets her little one and not the way I wanted to meet my little girl! I am very thankful that the epidural is light here in Norway and still allowed me to feel all of her contractions and feel my pushing her. I'm praying hard about letting go and not beating myself up about how things happened. The most important thing was her safe arrival and that was accomplished!

I'm especially grateful and praising the Lord for Jason. He is such an amazing person and was incredible throughout the entire ordeal. He was supportive and understanding, he coached me through contractions, he encouraged me so much and it made a world of difference! I'm so blessed to have him as my companion and he's continued to be amazing helping take care of Madi since we've been home.

Mommy! Daddy! Get off that computer - I need my nappy changed!  


Monday, June 24, 2013

First Pram Ride, Helsetasjon Visit, and Errands

Today was one of many firsts for Miss Madi - her first pram ride, her first trip to the health station, and her first grocery shopping.

We had to literally rip away a stowaway that was trying to go with us...she was not too happy with us when we forced her out. :-/

Our first stop was the helsestasjon (health station). When we left the hospital on Sunday Madi had lost a little too much weight. They expect the baby to lose the first day, but want to see them gain on the second before they leave and she didn't. Fortunately, she didn't lose more than 10% of her birth weight, but we still needed to take her to get her weight checked. In the meantime I have been pumping after every feeding and we've had to give her formula a couple times.

When we took her in today at the health station she had gained!!!! She was a champ yesterday and did a good job feeding and sleeping. We're still having a little trouble keeping Miss Sleepyhead awake while she eats. I personally think she finds it entertaining for Mom and Dad to strip her down to her nappy and blow on her face and put a wet washcloth on her and tickle her feet to try and keep her awake. 

We also weighed her before and after a feeding while we were at the health station and she had a full serving! The nurse told me I should cut back pumping after every feedings and bring her back on Wednesday to check her weight once more. We are praising the Lord that we're both getting better at this!!

Afterwards we decided to run a couple errands since we were already out and about. We stopped at the butcher's and the grocery store plus the vegetable market to stock up on a few necessities to get us through the week. 

Then a quick walk by the lake on the way back home and a family photo! It was a great first outing and Madi slept like a champ on the way there and back. :-)

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