Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Family Weekend in Review

Noah had a wonderful first weekend at home with mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa and especially, his big sister Nessa.
Vanessa was so thrilled to get to know her little brother. This weekend, she learned how to hold and handle our little guy properly, as well as change his diapers. This will surely come in handy in the future! Noah was very happy to spend time with Vanessa too. Who says babies don't smile? :)

This weekend, Noah also got to meet his great grandparents for the very first time. I "woke up" early this morning after another all night feeding frenzy and put Noah in his first real outfit. Until today, Noah's wardrobe has consisted only of onesies. Last night, however, I did put Noah in his first nightgown, which unlike the onesies, go over his head rather than snap closed. I was having trouble dressing him and Michael offered to help. After he was done pulling down the gown over Noah's feet, he looked at me and said "Did you just put my boy in a dress?!?!" I said, "No, you did," and then explained that a gown is NOT a dress! Michael was unconvinced. In any case, Noah looked very cute for his first visit downstairs and Ruth and Gene seemed to enjoy spending time with him.

Today, we were also fortunate to get a visit from our good friend Erich, who was good enough to bring us dinner tonight that can only be classified as a feast. He was very impressed with our little addition and had a good time holding him. Vanessa instructed him on exactly what he needed to do!

We have been very blessed to have so many friends who have offered to help us out during these first few hectic days. The transition has certainly been very difficult but it has all been wonderful.

It seems that Noah gets more adorable and changes so much with every passing day. His hair gets blonder by the day, and everyday he seems to open his eyes more and recognize our voices. He also seems to be adapting to life here with us. This morning was the first time I changed his diaper where he didn't cry hysterically -- and it was a VERY bad diaper to change -- because I sang him a silly song the whole time.

Although today is only Noah's 5th day with us, it marked another milestone. Today, Noah got his belly button!! He also seems to have figured out how to hold his pacifier in his mouth all on his own -- though this is something he is obviously still working on!

Tonight we will hopefully be giving Noah his first sponge bath. More posts to come soon!

UPDATE 09/01/09

The spongebath went...well... Noah was none too happy about it but he slept well afterwards!

I also have to post this picture that Michael took with his phone because it is way too precious not to be posted on the blog. This picture was taken right before Michael carried Noah into the house for the very first time.

What a beautiful family God has given to us.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Noah's First Trip to the Doctor

After getting in so late last night and getting only a few winks of sleep, Michael and I decided that I should try to get my appointment for Noah rescheduled to a time when we could go together, as he had to work. I called as early as I could and was talked into coming in, so I literally had five minutes to get both of us ready to go. My mother in law said she would drive us, as I am not permitted to drive for the next two weeks. And so together, we got Noah loaded up into his car seat, which was no easy task -- especially given the fact that Noah was incredibly hungry and not at all in the mood to deal with my inability to work a four-point harness.

Oh, how I wished I had made the time to read the instruction manual! (I had to call both Michael and Chrissy at two separate points today to figure out how to get him in and out!) While my mother-in-law worked on figuring out the set up, I fed Noah for a few minutes and then we got him situated. Given the time limits, Noah's outfit was far from color coordinated for his first appointment since the hospital! Fortunately, my quick feeding did help Noah to fall asleep and he was very calm for his visit. Fortunately, this was not one of those visits where baby gets poked or prodded very much and gets all worked up. I was very glad.

He did, however, react very unfavorably to being undressed and weighed and he dirtied his diaper in response.

So, here are the "stats" on our little guy:

- Noah now weighs 7lbs, 3oz., which is a big relief given that he dropped to below 7lbs. in his first days of life. Our all night "feeding frenzy" and scheduled feedings over the last two days seems to have done the trick! The doctor recommended that I continue breastfeeding and said that there was no reason at all for me to supplement with (evil) formula. lol - sorry I really am very into this whole breastfeeding/bonding thing and the thought of having to use that stuff ever again makes me a little crazy :) Who ever would have guessed?

- Noah is a little jaundiced and the doctor told me it was nothing to worry about and that I should put him by a window inside and let him be in the sun for a little bit if the weather improved today, which I did as soon as we got home.

- In all other ways, Noah is as perfect as he looks and so far I haven't done anything too terribly wrong as far as she could tell. (I just assumed that last one. :) She did tell me to keep up the good work!

I shall surely try!

Bringing Baby Home

After a very grueling few days, Noah and I were cleared to be discharged from the hospital yesterday. I was not feeling anywhere near ready physically to leave, but we were so excited about the idea of bringing Noah home, that I pushed as hard as I could to get mobile enough to leave. Michael and I were both by this time very sleep-deprived (not that we aren't now!) so it was a pretty exhausting day trying to get everything done that we needed to do before we could "check out."

Before we left, Michael and I had Noah's first pictures taken and they came out BEAUTIFUL! To view them, click: here. Noah was very cooperative and we were able to get a couple of shots where his eyes were open, as well as a very great shot of the three of us together than I cannot wait to post here soon!

After picture time was over, we then loaded Noah up into his car seat for the very first time and headed out to Warrenton to pick up his big sister, Vanessa, who was extremely excited to see her baby brother again. Although we were in a hurry to get there, Michael and I stopped along the way to attach the "baby in sight" mirror to the back seat. (Fortunately, there was hardly any traffic and we arrived early for pickup). The mirror allowed both of us to watch Noah as he slept in his car seat through the rear view mirrors. Vanessa also enjoyed watching Noah as she sat by his side for the rest of the car ride home. It was so great being to go home as a family.

As we drove home, we marveled at this being the very first time Noah would be outside, his first ride in the car, the first time he would ever see the sky or feel sunlight. How exciting for our baby boy to see the world for the first time (when his eyes were actually open)!

We did not get home until pretty late, but were so relieved when we did. It was so nice to be back in our own bed again, but I must say that my recent unwillingness to even try and sleep, which I persisted in, in the hospital for the last two days and until almost 3 in the morning yesterday, soon turned into a desire to get much more than I am going to be able to. Last night's sleep was the kind of sleep that the more I got, the more tired I felt. Poor Michael, after having such an exhausting week that he fell asleep in the Starbucks drive-through the other morning, has barely gotten any sleep at all given that he has had to work all day and help me with Noah all night, since I've been unable to lift Noah on my own before or after feedings once I am in bed. He has also been such a trooper by doing all of the night-time feedings ever since Noah was born. I must say that having a baby has certainly strengthened our marriage in so many ways.

It's amazing how fast the bonding happens and how quickly our little family has come together and adapted to this new little life. It's so amazing to look at my little guy and see how much he looks like his dad. This picture cracks me up because I think Noah looks so much like Michael here that it's scary!

So far we have agreed that Noah has Michael's forehead and temples, cheecks, lips and mouth and my hair and ears. His nose is pretty identical to how both Michael's and mine looked when we were kids and is very similar to Vanessa's. It will be so exciting to discover all the ways in which Noah resembles us more and more while he becomes himself more and more as he gets bigger. Right now, even though he looks big in most of these photographs, Noah is a little peanut. He is so tiny! And he is such a character, with a wealth of adorable expressions. He makes the sweetest little sounds. What a huge blessing our little boy is! It is so good to have him home!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The First Few Days

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb... I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Excerpts from Psalm 139).

Day 3

I cannot believe it has only been 3 days. I am so accustomed to life with my baby that it seems like we've spent a lifetime together. It hasn't been an easy three days but they have been amazing nonetheless.

Noah is such a good baby. I feel very blessed to be able to say that. Although most of you know that my experience with babies is minimal at best (I have more experience putting diapers on stuffed animals, even 3 days in), I think you'll all agree. He does not fuss and never cries unless he has gone to the bathroom, is having his diaper changed, is being undressed, or is hungry. That's pretty good, I'd say, as we always know how to investigate what is going on and can determine what is wrong by the simple process of elimination.

Seeing Noah face to face and being able to observe him in the world has been incredible. I have solved many mysteries as to what I was feeling in my belly while I was pregnant. How many times did I feel as though I was being punched and kicked on both sides of my belly at the same time? Well apparently it was Noah "frogging out" in his favorite position that looks a little like he is flexing his muscles with his arms and laying in a yoga pose with his legs. When unswaddled (or when he escapes) Noah loves to lay just like this... I also confirmed that he WAS hiccuping for 5 minutes at a time! He did that on his second day. On the third day, Michael found out for himself what I was talking about and we had a good laugh. It's been so comical and so exciting to discover so much about our little boy.

What I've also learned is that Noah is a sweet little boy with a ravenous appetite, which has made breastfeeding a little challenging but no less amazing. There is a reason I call him my my little alligator. :) I always told my girlfriends they were crazy when they ranted and raved about what a bonding experience it is, so I have to say I have been shocked at how right they all were and are (no offense...and sorry!). It's a surreal experience to look down at his little face knowing I carried him for nine months and that I am helping him grow big and strong even now when he is here with us. It is the sweetest thing to have him holding on to both my hands with both of his and squeezing his little hands to hold mine harder and harder while he eats. I have been blessed to get the hang of this as much as I have, while I'm laid up for the most part. The recovery has been difficult, but I'm hanging in there. Michael has been great but sadly today he had to go to work. :( It's been sad without him here and a little scary on my own. Fortunately I have lots and lots of help from the nursing staff which have been very helpful and accommodating. Soon, there will be no red button to push and no nursery to send Noah to for care when I need to get cared for myself... or sleep! I am looking forward to the challenge. I can't wait to bring my little guy home! Sleep is overrated anyway!

Anyway I just wanted to give a little update about our little addition. (I'm a corndog, I know). I'll be posting some more pictures soon. Now that Noah is here I won't be sending updates/notifcations unless you email me and ask me to... so let me know :) Otherwise, feel free to stop in from time to time and see how our little one is growing! I hope time does not keep flying... I want to enjoy every moment.

True to what I've been told time and time on end, the last few days have had me experiencing every emotion you can imagine: love, joy, fear, sadness, anxiety, you name it. But most of all, today, I feel blessed.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome Baby Noah!

Noah Thomas Lunsford
Born: August 25, 2009
20.5 inches
7 lbs, 6 oz.

Slightly before one o'clock this morning, I was told to say goodbye to Michael and enter the operating room. I really wish I could have done so blindfolded as it looked more like a chamber of torture than a hospital room. I was laid upon the table for what seemed like an eternity as I was strapped down, undressed, catheterized and drawn upon. My body was shaking the whole time from either the cold or my nerves or both. Dr. C told me that the same thing happened to her, but this was not reassuring. I never felt so scared in my whole life as I did laying there. I kept praying as hard as I could for God to give me peace about the surgery but as I was doing so, the anesthesiologists and nurses were moving at rapid fire pace without explaining anything to me. Out of nowhere a mask was brought down on my face and I suddenly could not breathe. Because I was strapped down everywhere all I could do was jerk my face out from under it to indicate that I could not breathe. The anesthesiologist told me that I would fall asleep soon but I could not help but fight to get away from the mask that was making it impossible for me to take a breath. Eventually (obviously) I fell asleep.

I woke up in the recovery room to see Michael feeding Noah a bottle. I could not really see much as my eyes were blurry from the medicine but I was so relieved that Noah was OK. It wasn't until later in the day that I was able to see just how beautiful my little boy really is. When Michael finally handed him to me he kept opening his mouth and sticking out his tongue. It was too precious.

My family arrived shortly before noon. It was such a great moment to see everyone together and to watch everyone's reaction to meeting Noah. It still feels a little surreal to me.

Seeing Vanessa's reaction to meeting her little brother for the first time was priceless. She could not have been more thrilled. Noah bears a striking resemblence to her in so many ways -- he is Michael's "mini me" for sure. As far as looking anything like me, I disagree with my sisters who both think he looks like me but I must admit... he certainly was born with my hair!

At about a quarter to 7:00PM, Michael left to take Vanessa back to her mom. My family had gone a few minutes prior. So here I was, all alone with a newborn! Of course, what seemed to come so easy to me when I had so many people to help became the most challenging and difficult task. Fortunately the nurses were able to help me but only after I practically knocked down everything on the table near my bed to reach the phone and call them. Noah would not stop crying and I took as many deep breaths as I could and tried to stay calm. I was SO relieved when Michael returned!

This has definitely been the LONGEST day of my life and one which gave me the hugest blessing. Noah is asleep in his little plastic bassinet besides me and I'm wondering what it will be like to wake every 2 hours to feed him tonight. I am up for the challenge but for now it's time to sleep...

I cannot believe how much love I feel for something SO small. God is so great and we are SO blessed! (And for now...and surely for MANY days and nights to come... exhausted!)

Goodnight and thank you all for your prayers, your love and support.

Michael, Nancy, Vanessa & Noah Lunsford

Monday, August 24, 2009

A surprise ending?

I am writing this on my iPhone from Labor & Delivery at Fairfax Hospital. It looks like date night will have to wait. It appears that I'm in labor. I am contracting every two minutes. At 5pm I started having bad pains and realized that in all my rushing around today and fussing with laundry I hadn't felt Noah move. So I ate some teddy grahams and drank some juice and laid down. Since that time I have been having bad contractions. Noah started moving shortly after so I did not go to the hospital. But once they got worse I had no choice. So here I am. Waiting. Feeling really nervous. I thought I had more time but I guess nothing prepares you for this, huh? After two botched IVs and contractions that have made me see stars I am accepting that it's now or never. We are still waiting on the platelet count so they can decide whether to transfuse me. Because I ate the Teddy grahams I have to wait until 1:00am for the cesarean. So it looks like Noah will be born on august 25th unless things start moving faster. My water still hasn't broken for whatever that is worth. Dr. C will be delivering Noah. For now we wait...

My family just called to tell me they going to be on their way from New York in a few hours. I still can't believe this is happening or that I'm just hours away from meeting my baby. I'm so nervous. Please keep us in prayer. Will update this entry if more news.


The Final Countdown!!!!

We now have TEN days until Noah will be born! It’s a little difficult to grasp. When I think of how time has flown and all the mini-countdowns we’ve already been through, it makes my head spin! Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were counting down to making it past the 12 week mark? Or to the third trimester? Or to the next ultrasound? The last was 18 weeks ago! Sometimes it's so hard to believe it is really happening.

I was going through my “belly book” the other night. (It's a book that charts the growth of my belly and baby in pictures and documents all of my prenatal appointments and milestones). And I couldn’t believe that when we first saw our son’s precious little face he was only 4.5 inches long!

Now he is possibly more than 20! Seeing how tall his dad is, that would not surprise me – or anyone!

These last few days I have been in crazy “nesting” mode, having huge bursts of energy during the day that send me cleaning, organizing and doing everything I can until my feet are so swollen I can no longer stand! Yesterday, I detailed the inside of my car with a dust-buster and microfiber cloths for a good 2 hours. I felt like a nut but all I kept thinking is that our precious baby will be riding in that car in a matter of DAYS and I wanted it to be as dust free as possible! Today I am set on folding and washing every remaining article of clothing and anything else that needs washing (car seat, swing, etc.) before I drop. It should be a fun day! If nothing else, it will certainly help me to get some much needed sleep tonight!

Tomorrow marks another milestone: Our last OB appointment! Our last chance to get any questions we might have answered. A big question on my mind concerns a conversation I had with Dr. B last week that I have not blogged on. Apparently, my platelet count seems to be in free fall for some reason. By the last hand count my platelets are at 64,000 which means that over a 4-day period they somehow decreased by 20,000. That is a little disconcerting and I’m hoping that there is either some mistake or that they will jump up a bit before delivery. The hematologist who I saw 4 days before that very last blood test was taken told me the only real “danger” is that the count drops into the 30,000’s -- but if they are decreasing as fast as the latest test suggests, that might not be so far fetched. Please keep that in prayer... We are still hoping that come delivery-time, a transfusion won't be necessary...

In the meantime, Noah is growing very uncomfortable in his close quarters. His kicks are very intense and he seems to be dragging limbs back and forth in frustration. (It really does look sometimes as though he is planning his escape!) I find myself gently rubbing his protruding feet out of my rib cage several times a day and all through the night. He has also now managed to get his hands down in my hip sockets which is a VERY unpleasant feeling. He is exploring... And yes, he is still content to kick just about anything that comes into contact with my massive belly. Washing the dishes at this time in life is NOT fun. But, oh, what a character my little boy is! I cannot wait to meet him!

In the meantime, I am treasuring my last remaining days with my husband, when it is still just the two of us for the most part. And I’m looking forward to one last “date night” before we have a new little life to take care of... God only knows how much our lives are about to change...

How time flies… More tomorrow…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Final Stretch

We now have exactly 16 days until Noah's arrival... or less! Today, my OB confirmed that I am 1 cm dialated, which -- as she put it -- is not earth shattering, but it shows that things are starting to progress! She said it was unlikely that Noah would come today or tomorrow but that he could really come any day now. I am still holding out hope that "any day" will be a Thursday, but we shall see what God has in store. Today marked the day that Noah became full-term so at least we have no more worries about "going early!"

Today's OB visit was mildly uneventful aside from learning this news. I did finally sit down and chart out a birth plan so that no matter who is on call when the time comes, that person will know all the details. Comforting... Next on the agenda: Packing the hospital bag! This morning I did a large load of Noah's laundry. I just sat there going through all those tiny tiny clothes and imagined what it would be like when he arrives. My head is spinning!

Other than that, these last couple of weeks have been trying to say the least. My feet have been so swollen that I can barely get my shoes on (some days not at all). My flip-flops won't even fit. Dr. C calls this "pregnancy Shrek feet" and for those who have seen the movie, I can say, it is a very accurate description. It's awful -- but it will be over soon, right? Dr. C just had a baby herself (8 weeks ago) and told me that after her Cesarean her foot swelling actually got worse for a couple of weeks but then cleared up. I'm hoping that won't be the case with me! We shall see.

The countdown continues...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Update from Hematology Appointment

So, yesterday I went to the hematologist where I had my platelet count done by hand. Fortunately, that count was in the low 80's, as we hoped and expected it would be. The doctor discussed different options with me and told me that she likes Dr. Silas' plan to give me a transfusion before the Cesarean and so she will not put me on steroids this late in the game. I thank God for that! I will have to come back in if the count goes back down into the 60's, but I'm hoping that, that won't happen. I will also have to go back in for more testing a month after I give birth to make sure that this was caused by the pregnancy and that it's not something that is going to be problematic in the future...

In the meantime, I have been getting a lot of quality time with my good friends, which has certainly helped me through what has been a trying time. Cardmaking with Kate, scrapbooking with Sherry, cookie baking with Carin (just to name a few examples from the last week!) -- it's all been a huge blessing to me and reminded me of just how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many caring people!

I am also blessed to have such a wonderful husband. Michael and I had a wonderful 3rd wedding anniversary on the 11th when he took me to my first drive-in movie, where I (in true pregnant fashion) fell asleep before the movie ended! I have a feeling it will not be the last time that happens as we approach parenthood!

We now have 20 days until my Cesarean! Less than 3 weeks! Time has flown so fast. And what a ride it has been...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update from OB appointment

So yesterday I finally saw Dr. Silas and he addressed a number of my concerns, including the issues with my platelets. He basically told me that the new plan is that if i make it to September 3rd, I will need to be at the hospital by 7am where I'll get all kinds of blood testing and then a transfusion of platelets if my count is anything below 100,000. Once they reach that threshold, then I will be ready to go under general anesthesia. Alternatively, if I go into labor on a different date, then I will receive platelets until the count is above 80,000 before I will go into surgery. If I make it to the 3rd, I will be at the hospital for at least 5 hours before the surgery so now I can prepare myself for a long day...

I go to the hematology and oncology specialist on Thursday where they will run all kinds of test to determine whether the cause of my declining platelet count is an autoimmune disorder, that my platelets are just not being replaced by my body as fast as they are being consumed or that my body is actually destroying them. Dr. Silas mentioned something about a bone marrow test, which I sincerely hope will not be necessary. There is still also a strong possibility that I'll be started on steroids which I am also hoping against. So... I will know more tomorrow and will likely be posting an update when all that is said and done.

Other than that, I am happy to report that Noah is now head down so he seems to be ready... 3 more weeks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Milestone.... and some more bad news....

Three years ago today, Michael and I eloped on a beach in the Turks & Caicos islands before God and no guests...

A year later, we were married in our church wedding in front of our closest family and friends... 

The year after that, we were on our way out of the city and into the suburbs...

And today, after three years of marriage we are just weeks (or days) away from bringing a new life into the world and adding a little addition to our family!

A lot can happen in just a few years and I feel very blessed for where God has taken me and what he has taken me through. This year has been a rough one, but I do believe that God has used it as a growing experience for me, Michael and our marriage.  Lately, in these last months of pregnancy, I feel like our patience and faith have been put to the test and I'd like to think that we are holding up to the test on both counts, only through God's Grace...

Yesterday, I got a very upsetting call from my OB (Dr. D). She called to tell me that my platelet count is "dangerously low" and that we are now looking at a count in the 60,000's. The normal range is 250,000-150,000 and I've been warned throughout the pregnancy if they got down to a certain number they would have to intervene and put me on steroids.  She told me that I am now beyond the point of an epidural (which we had already ruled out with Dr. Silas, who I still hope will deliver Noah) so I asked her whether it would be necessary for me to go on steroids given that I am already having the baby under general anesthesia. I was not prepared for her response.  "Do you want to wake up and see your baby?" she asked me.  She then proceeded to tell me that there was a risk I could bleed to death and that at this point she is afraid that my platelets might be "nonfunctional."  This was obviously not what I wanted to hear...  

So, I am leaving here in a few minutes to go to the OB where I am seeing Dr. Silas who will hopefully give me a more positive outlook and then later this week I will be going back to the hematologist to figure out a plan for getting my platelets stabilized before delivery.  At this point, Noah can arrive at any minute so the sooner we get the count up, the better, I suppose, though I do not look forward to having to take steroids by any stretch of the imagination.  At this point, I'll do whatever I have to do in the hopes that it makes things go as smoothly as possible on Noah's birth-day.  Ultimately, I remind myself that God is in control... and that is a great Truth to rest on these days (and everyday!). 

And in the meantime, I will try my best to make this a very Happy Anniversary for me and Michael, as we can only imagine all that another year will bring and where we will be a year from today...

Friday, August 7, 2009


We now have less than 4 weeks until Baby Noah arrives! 3 weeks and 6 days to be exact -- unless our little one decides he's had enough "baking" and makes an early appearance, which I am feeling certain he will. He really seems to want out these days and he has gotten noticeably bigger. His kicks have become quite painful and I won't even mention what it feels like when he tries to roll! Everyone I talk to who has seen me in person agrees that he will run out of room soon, but somehow my belly seems willing and able to keep accommodating him! I still am in awe of it most days!

The preterm contractions have continued, sad to say, and the doctor is fairly certain it is stress-related. I should have gone back to the hospital on Sunday night but forced myself to try and sleep through them -- something I probably won't get away with much more as we are now so close to our delivery date. I have been under a great deal of stress these past few weeks and I'm hoping that life will calm down a little before I REALLY learn what stress is, having my first interaction with a newborn that does not belong to someone else. I was hoping that M and i would be able to take a newborn care class but unfortunately they all filled up and we can't fill the one slot remaining in the only class left. I did have a good time learning how to change a diaper on a stuffed bunny at my friend Kate's house a couple of weeks ago so hopefully what I learned from doing that will stick! Not much experience, but better than none!

3 weeks and 6 days is likely to fly and there is still so much Michael and I need to do to get ready for Noah's arrival (besides learning how to change diapers on stuffed animals lol). I have been slowed down quite a bit now that I'm so far along (and so big!) but hopefully we will both find time and energy to get as prepared as we possibly can!

A little bit at a time...