Airi Jade: birth story || photos by heather nan

So much is going through my brain today -- forgive me if I'm all over the place. Also, this is my disclaimer letting you know that things are about to get real in this post. So if you'd rather not know any details, you can just skim through the pictures instead! Here we go.

I don't share my personal life very much when it comes to blogging, but today deserves a shout out to my baby girl, Airi Jade! She turns ONE today!!

I can't even begin to accurately describe how the last year went. It felt like a one year long roller coaster ride, to be completely honest. There were so many great days, so many "meh" days, and unfortunately too many very bad days. I won't say I wish they hadn't happened though. I feel like a stronger person and that I have grown so much in the last year. I was tried and tested in my patience, understanding, faith, and love. Hindsight is 20/20 and I am so grateful for all the experiences I was able to learn and am still learning! I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Being a mom is hard. Scratch that. Its FREAKING hard. Who knew?! I definitely had no idea. Yeah, I got a lot of advice from so many wonderful moms, old and new. But nothing can really prepare you for what is to come. It truly is life changing. Its kind of hard to remember my life before Airi. My life revolves around her now. Some days, I resent that fact. I'm just going to say it -- some days, it flat out sucks knowing that my life is put on hold because of her needs. I've gotten angry. I've ignored when she wants to be picked up. I've left the to-do list mostly unfinished every single day because she interrupts the itinerary for the day. Some days, I let my "postpartum whatever" get the best of me and I needed to just leave the situation (I say "postpartum whatever" because I don't truly know what was going on with my brain/body. I just felt off and not myself. Maybe I'm in denial and just don't want to admit that I went through a postpartum depression, so I call it my "postpartum whatever" for now...this topic deserves its own blog post for another day...). Ultimately, I just love her so much that it just doesn't matter what else is going on in the world. I just want to shnuggle my little babe and play and be silly with her (especially as of late -- she thinks she is hilarious when she plays with me and I love it!). My motto for the last year was to live day by day. Just get through the next day. Just get through the next day. Just get through the next day. So yes, being a mom is so so so hard, and it took me a while to get to a point where I could truly say this and whole heartedly believe it -- it is totally and 100% worth it.

Its so hard to believe that its already been one year. ONE YEAR! Holy heck, you guys. I feel like so much happened, yet it went by waaaaay too quickly. So today, I thought it'd be appropriate to share my birth story.

My original due date was January 7th, 2015. That day quickly came and went, and no baby. I'm very grateful she didn't come when we planned. I had gotten sick a couple days before and had to visit the ER due to a frightening high fever. Influenza decided to strike at the worst time! I'm just grateful baby girl stayed put for another week so I could get better.

We set an induction date to come into the hospital the evening of the 13th and hopefully deliver in the morning/early afternoon of the 14th. So many people would comment, "Oh I bet you're so ready to have this baby!" and it was definitely true. But at the same time, I was so nervous. I had so many feelings of inadequacy come over me that I thought, "Actually, no. Baby, you can stay in there. That way I don't have to worry about keeping you alive. Thanks." Inevitably, the baby had to come sometime whether I was ready or not.

The day before my induction date, I basically treated it like Armageddon. I was doing everything I could do make sure I had absolutely nothing left on my to-do list! I made sure there wasn't a single piece of dirty laundry in the house and that it was folded and put away (yeah, that didn't last long). I even IRONED, you guys. That NEVER happens.
Yes, that is me sitting on the floor with the ironing board in my lap ironing my husband's shirts, very unsuccessfully, might I add.

I got a call around 5pm that I am scheduled to come in in a couple hours to start the induction process. We decided since we had a couple hours to spare that we'd go out to dinner. Because that's totally normal to casually go grab some food before you have a baby. So we decided Chick-fil-A! It was a weird feeling, walking in, placing an order, and in my mind I was thinking, "The girl that just took our order has no idea that in a few hours this baby will not be in my tummy anymore!"
We got to the hotel -- excuse me! The hospital! -- a little after 7pm. ... I'm telling you, it was just such a weird feeling just walking in casually with suitcases and pillows in hand! We didn't feel like we were on our way to get a baby, but rather that we were just sleeping over somewhere else. Anyway, so we got there a little after 7pm and they started me on the cytotec around 9pm. It was weird just sitting there playing the waiting game, just waiting for something, anything, to happen. So we decided to invite my sisters and bro in law over to hang out -- and I had them order me a pizza. I was gettin' hangry! Progress was slow, so the next check up around midnight, they upped the dosage. At this point, still not feeling anything too painful, just some minor cramps. Little did I know that contractions felt like cramps...just a bajillion times worse! The worst part at this point was the check ups. I know this is TMI, but I truly believe the nurses fingers were very short because, MAN, she really had to use a lot of force to check me. At one point, she told me she couldn't find my cervix. Um yeah, its definitely up there somewhere lady. Heavens...I'm glad her shift was over soon.
By 6am, my progress had barely moved from a 1 and 50% effaced to a 2 and 70%. Because the progress was so slow going, my doctor decided to break my water (which was the weirdest sensation ever -- it felt like peeing my pants and not being able to control it at all) and hopefully that would kick things into gear. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this because I was so confident in myself and being able to tolerate pain...the contractions totally kicked in after my water breaking, I couldn't handle it! I was only at a 3...how do you natural women do it?! Props.
Around 10:30am, I had only moved to a 3+ and 80%. Oh. my. heck. This baby was never going to come!! Luckily I had some visitors to keep my mind off the time. One of my best friends Leslie stopped by. She had just finished her prenatal checkup with my same doctor! By 12:30pm, I finally progressed a little quicker and moved to a 6. I was grateful my body was still doing something, even as slow as it was, so that I didn't need to be on pitocin. I was also glad I didn't need the pitocin because the epidural wasn't working as much as I had hoped and I knew it would make the contractions stronger.
Next check up at 4:45pm, I moved to a 7+ and 90%. Just before 7:00pm, I hadn't moved much more and was barely an 8, so the doctor decided to get some pitocin going. By 8:00pm, I moved to a 9 and definitely felt it! The pain was getting so much worse even with the epidural. I knew I could push that magic little button to get more or the epidural in my system and relax a bit, but that is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do. I wanted to get this baby out of me! I wanted to be able to push with all that I had left in me so I decided to keep going without the extra dose of the epidural.hesterman_birth_story_0175hesterman_birth_story_0141hesterman_birth_story_0161hesterman_birth_story_0170hesterman_birth_story_0167
We discovered the baby was facing up. That might have been a cause to the slow process. Another problem we had been seeing for a while was that any time I contracted, the baby's oxygen would get down to 40, 50, 60ish -- that's a super no bueno for those of you who haven't done this before,  I think regular is around 140 (I hope that doesn't come off as condescending -- I just know that I would have no idea what all these numbers meant before I had Airi, even while I was pregnant I had no idea!). After she was born, we found the cause of low oxygen was the cord being wrapped around her neck a couple times. So to help the oxygen situation, I ended up having to lay on my side with one leg up on a stirrup, which was very uncomfortable and use the oxygen mask. I don't remember exactly if this happened or not, but I want to say that the doctor tried to get her head facing down but couldn't get her to turn completely so she ended up sideways.
A little after 9pm, nothing changed too much. I'm not exaggerating when I say I honestly thought this baby was never going to come. I think it was a mix of being exhausted and emotional, but I truly thought I was a lost cause. The doctor came in and he decided, "you know what, lets just try pushing and see what happens".  In my head I thought, okay we'll give it a shot and see if it pushes me along any further and then we'll try again in a few hours. I started pushing around 9:10. I'd feel the contractions and we'd push through every one. By 9:30, she moved to about a +4. I remember the doctor saying WOAH she has a lot of hair! And I remember replying, SWEET she's not going to be a baldy! He then asked if I wanted to feel the top of her head. It kind of caught me off guard. I thought, wait...what?! I'M REALLY HAVING A BABY!!! I remember asking, "Am I allowed??" Duh, Mari.
9:57, FINALLY, she was born.
I learned later that after she was born, there was a bit of a scare. I guess the nurses kept saying, oh man that doesn't look good, that doesn't look good. My mother-in-law said she was getting scared and wasn't sure what was going on! After looking at the photographs, I have to admit, she did look almost dead when she came out -- her limbs didn't have any tension in them, she didn't cry, and her color didn't look good. They had to call in the NICU nurse to check her and possibly take her away. She wasn't responding to any reflexes and was so limp. They would lift her arm and I guess usually babies would pull back and give a little tension. Airi just let her arm drop. This whole time I was on the bed just in euphoria not knowing what was going on, which was probably for the best. Fortunately we didn't have to do anything extensive. It just took her some time to warm up and get some tension in her arms and legs.
I remember while Airi was being taken care of by the nurses, I got MAJOR after shakes. Everyone thought I was freezing, but I just couldn't control my body. My teeth were chattering, my body felt like it was convulsing, I had to pull my arms into my chest to try and calm my body -- I think I even had deej or heather step in and squeeze me to get me to stop shaking. That was so strange...
After things calmed down a bit, we were greeted by the best support system ever -- my lovely sisters and my two brother-in-laws.
My sweet cousin and one of my best friends, Megan, came to visit. She treated me like GOLD while I was there, holy cow. I don't know how to repay her, but she visited me multiple times in the hospital, always bringing yummy treats or magazines or flowers. She. is. AWESOME!hesterman_birth_story_0548hesterman_birth_story_0502hesterman_birth_story_0555
This nurse is the queen of swaddling. There was no breaking out of that sucker.hesterman_birth_story_0565hesterman_birth_story_0579
I remember it being SO RIDICULOUSLY hot. I told the nurses to please not put a blanket on me, and they refused telling me it was going to be cold in my room. Yeaaaah, no. I was scalding. hesterman_birth_story_0662hesterman_birth_story_0673hesterman_birth_story_0625
The last thing I clearly remember before everyone left was that the nurse would not stop talking to me and telling me things. To this day I don't remember what she was telling me, and I told her I wouldn't remember a thing because I was literally falling asleep as she was talking, yet she insisted on finishing her shpeal. I know, she was just doing her job, but man alive, I had just been on that bed for almost 30 hours and hadn't eaten. You don't want to mess with me when I'm exhausted and hungry. It was probably a good thing I had people there to help me keep my cool. Not to mention, a new baby that was all mine! Just put that baby back in my arms and I'm good.

As I reflect on this last year raising Airi, I am overwhelmed with how much my Heavenly Father has blessed my life. I can't put into words how grateful I am, and I hope I am making Him proud. I am so so lucky that I can call this little family mine.
Shout out to miss heather of heather nan photo. She is a magician with the camera. She captured everything so perfectly, I will treasure these photos for the rest of my life. Thanks heather, love you!!