"For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

De ja vu...

Well hello there! It's been awhile. Not even sure anyone is still reading this (not that there has been anything to read) and if not that's ok. This post is more a therapeutic outlet than informative although it will accomplish both. Before I get on with my true reason for writing, I would be a horrible parent if I didn't provide a Brynlee/life as a parent/whirlwind of awesomeness update:

To say the last 18 months has flown by would be an incredible understatement. They say time flies when you're having fun and that could not hold more true. Being a Mom is nothing short of wonderful. And I'm sure it helps that we have a super fantastic kid too. She is so loving and kind (most of the time - she definitely has her moments) and smart and full of curiosity and innocence. She is forever on the move... busy busy busy! She loves to dance, play outside (sometimes it's a fight to bring her in... ever!), she loves to hunt lizards, the church nursery, bath time and is completely obsessed with our cat and youngest dog. Buc (the dog's name) is her favorite word with apple being a close second. She also says: book, sock, shoes, MAAAAAAAAMAAAAAAAA, DADADA, bad dog, cup, please (which is more like peas with a lisp), more, meow, duck, Jack (my nephew), cheese and she will tell you what a dog says (woof woof), a monkey (ooh ooh aah aah), a chick (peep peep), a squirrel (clicks her tongue), and I know there is more but that is all that comes to mind. She will try to repeat many things but the aforementioned is what makes sense. :) One of my favorite things is that she loves to give kisses and she makes a kissing noise (if that makes sense at all), more of a smacking then a mwah, when she does it. She kisses the dogs, the cat, us, her babies, a toy if you ask her if she loves that toy? She was even kissing her bath toys last night. Silly girl!

Brynlee starts school in June. Until then, she will continue to spend the days Cozart is working, with Cozart's Aunt Janie. She loves to spend time there. She has kitties (one of her favorite things), turkeys, has caught frogs in the swimming pool, watched cranes drink out of the rain bucket and Aunt Janie has great toys. We have made the decision to send her to school part time (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) so she can still spend a few days a month with Janie. We are so blessed to have her and to have the reassurance that she is in good hands and loved so much.
We don't have her 18 month check up until the 20th but I would guess she weighs about 26lbs and is about 32in tall. I can't believe how big she has gotten. Cozart was carrying her in from the car the other day and she was asleep. She looked ENORMOUS! So long and definitely not the little tiny baby we brought home yesterday, or so it seems. She has been relatively healthy, I say relatively because she is currently getting over a cold. We all are. Yuck! I can count on one hand how many times she has been sick. She has 12 teeth and has had those 12 teeth for what seems like forever. I'm dreading her getting her I teeth because I've heard their the worst but I wish she would just get it over with already.

She is still everything we ever hoped, dreamed and prayed for and so much more. A fellow blogger/friend once said in her blog that she couldn't imagine life without her daughter and if all those months they had failed pregnancy test after failed pregnancy test were a positive that baby may not have been THIS perfect child they were blessed with. I couldn't agree more. She is definitely worth the wait!

Which brings me to the second part of this post. We have started the journey all over again in hopes of adding another perfect little miracle to our family. I had my annual exam with my OB/GYN early January and he gave us the all clear to try for #2, in fact he was shocked I hadn't already made an appointment with my RE. Of course, I was on the phone with them as soon as I left his office. I wasn't able to get in quite as quickly as I thought I would be able to, being an established patient, but we still didn't have to wait long.

Little (pretty huge actually) side note: I started a new job in November (which I completely love by the way). It's a global company and the benefits are much better than my old company. However, even with fantastic benefits, fertility treatment coverage isn't all that common. Well, not only is it a job I love, working for a fantastic company, the benefits also cover fertility treatments... (INSERT CHEERS!) I seriously felt like I hit the jack pot. Nothing short of amazing.

Prior to our appointment, I was actually really excited to see Dr. D again. My final memory of that clinic was pure joy, I knew it would be hard not to hug him to thank him for the best gift we've ever been given. Our appointment was mostly just a consultation, plan of action type appointment. We determined we would pick up where we left off, with the treatment plan that was successful. We would be open to doing a modified IVF cycle for the right side months, should my right tube still have a blockage. We would begin with an HSG (xray test to see if the tube is still occluded) and then begin the first treatment cycle following the HSG.

HSG result: my right tube is no longer completely closed but still has significant narrowing. Conclusion: we forego right side months due to the narrowing or proceed with a modified IVF/Mini-IVF on right ovulating months.

Modified IVF vs Traditional IVF:  in a nutshell - Modified or Mini doesn't use as many drugs. The cycle is treated like an IUI but completed with a retrieval of eggs and a transfer after fertilization. They aren't trying to get as many eggs as possible without blowing up your ovaries like a traditional. They will retrieve one or two or whatever they can get and transfer what fertilizes, provided one does.

Cycle 1: U/S on Day 3- cyst on my right side but estrogen level shows it's a non-functioning cyst. Given the green light to begin letrozole on Day 3-7, Follistim injections on Days 6, 8 & 10, U/S on day 11, Ovidrel injection (trigger) when given the ok by Dr. D (based on U/S results)

During our consultation Dr. D stated they have changed protocol with regard to letrozole (used to stimulate ovulation). They have doubled up the dose, 2 tablets once per day vs. 1 tablet once per day. Apparently they have seen better results with the doubled dosage. Ok by me, especially if it increases any chance we have of this working.

Days 1-10 complete with injections went very well, it's like riding a bike I guess? My U/S on Day 11 showed 4 mature follicles, one on the right and 3 on the left. With the largest being 27mm (HUGE! Some docs want to see at least 15mm to trigger, some say 20mm.). My estrogen level was at 366 (not great for having 3-4 mature follicles. Ideally you want to see 200 per mature follicle.). Dr. D's nurse followed up with the results later in the day, stating I should give myself the trigger shot that evening and scheduled both my appointment and Cozart's for 2 days out.

By the day of IUI, I was feeling very bloated and crampy. Neither of which I felt in any of the previous 4 IUIs. I took this as a positive thing, maybe this was the increased letrozole. Cozart went in in the AM for his appointment and I returned 3 hours later for the insemination. Cozart's count was outstanding as per usual. I was relaxed, all went well. This should all be a piece of cake this time around.

Or not.... for days (3 maybe 4) post IUI I felt awful. Cramping, bloated, tired, just overall crappy. And then there is the emotional side of it. Even before we went in for our first appointment I have had this guilty pit in my stomach. Am I being greedy wanting another child? Is this fair to Brynlee? Will I be able to love a second child as much as I love her? What if it doesn't work, ever, like even after we have used all of what our insurance will cover? I feel like I'm really up against a clock, this time around as I'm older and the window of child bearing years is quickly closing. By the time I had my 7 days past IUI blood work, I was quickly transported back to all the disappointment I felt in that clinic. It was like the memory of joy was gone. Almost like I was experiencing some crazy form of PTSD. Anxiety set in and really hasn't left since. The anxiety is also coupled with guilt for feeling this way when I have a beautiful child at home. Some people are still battling infertility to have their first and some will never have a child and here I am stressing over having a 2nd. Ugh! I can't say that it's worse this time around because there is hope, hope I didn't have because I had never carried a child to term before. I have that now. But I will say that the pressure, anxiety and guilt is real and different than the first time but still very intense.

Day 7 past IUI blood work is to test your progesterone level, confirming ovulation. My P4 level was 26.6. They want to see 15+ This number is great but not indicative of pregnancy, unfortunately.

I'm 11dpiui now with zero symptoms of pregnancy, but definitely signs of a new cycle rearing it's ugly head. I'm preparing for disappointment on Friday, if not sooner. I'm not being negative, I've just been down this road before.

Should cycle day 1 come, we will start over again with an U/S and prepare for a possible mini-IVF due to the likelihood of it being a right side month.

That's all for now...

Back on the roller coaster we go...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The last 6 months...

So many things change when you have a child... CORRECTION: EVERYTHING changes when you have a child. For example BB (Before Brynlee) I would have spent my days/evenings while Cozart was working, going to yoga, spending time with friends, running errands, cleaning, napping, pedicures, blogging, reading, etc... A.B. (After Brynlee): well let's just say, I haven't been on my mat in months (going on a year) my friends without kids probably refer to me as an old friend and the ones with kids, I still have only seen a handful of times, unless of course they live within walking distance (like across the street). Errands happen only when they absolutely have to and must be completed in between naps and preferably on a full belly (hers not mine). My house is in such a dire need of a good, deep scrub down I'm afraid I'd have to ship Brynlee and the dogs off for a good week to get it all done. Naps: HA! Pedicure: what's that? As for blogging; well I think we all know how much of that I have been doing. And the only reading that gets done is skimming chapters in parenting books in hopes of finding some hidden secret on how NOT to completely screw up this poor little beings life! 

And although you can never be fully prepared for these dramatic changes, they are in fact totally, 100%, beyond worth it when you hear those little baby giggles, she reaches for you, as if in your arms is her very favorite place to be or when her little smile makes your heart burst with the type of joy you could never have ever imagined before your life was completely turned inside out and upside down. 

I could go on for days reviewing the last 10 months, all the milestones, the major moments and fun we've had as a little family of 3 but I'll just give you the cliff note version in an effort to actually complete and post an update.
Brynlee is consistently in the upper percentile of both height and weight. (Without her baby book in front of me, I just have to give estimates.)

4 month checkup: 15lbs, 23 inches
6 month checkup: 19lbs, 26 inches
9 month checkup: 21lbs, 29 inches

She has 3 teeth that are completely through (2 bottom, one top) 3 that have just started to cut through the skin (all 3 on top) and 2 more that should be cutting through any day now (both bottom). She is quite the trooper with all these teeth coming in. She has her days of restless sleep, not much interest in eating, wanting to be held and a TON of drool but through it all, I think we have been pretty blessed with one tough cookie! 

She is FINALLY crawling. We, and her pediatrician, were sure she was going to bypass crawling all together and go right to walking. But this week, she finally figured out moving FORWARD on all 4s is much more efficient than moving backwards on your belly or relying on Mommy and Daddy to hold her hands to walk from point A to B. She pulls herself up on anything she get a good hold on. And yes, we've had plenty of bumps and bruises already, with plenty more to come, I'm sure. 

She eats like a champ, feeding herself 99.9% of the time - "I'm a big kid now Mom!". She drinks from a sippy cup but still gets 4 bottles a day (2 formula - 2 breast milk but my milk supply is quickly fading away to nothing so not sure how long I'll be able to keep up). 

We definitely do not have a quiet baby on our hands. She is constantly babbling. Mmmmaaaa Ma, Dada, Ooohs, Bababababa, etc... She makes a different sound for what a kitty says (more of a squeal than a meow) and she is completely in love with our cat, Tink. She signs "all done" and understands "eat" but I haven't seen her sign it herself yet. She waves bye-bye and will lean in for a kiss (mouth wide open), but only when she is in the mood. She loves music and bobs her head along as soon as she hears it. And she seizes every opportunity to play fetch with our Boston Terrier, Winnie. She growls like a monster baby and clicks her tongue when she sees a squirrel. 

Her favorite time of the day is bath time. And very rarely puts up any fuss whatsoever when going to sleep at night. 7:30 sharp she's ready and out within minutes. (Naps are a slightly different story) She sleeps through the night and typically wakes between 6 and 7am. And yes, we are fully aware of how blessed we are to have such a great sleeper! 

She made her first flight in April to attend my sister, Katey's, bridal shower in Minnesota. And her 2nd flight in June, also to Minnesota for the wedding. She also was in and attended her first wedding (unless you count Freddie and Naomi's while I was pregnant?). She did great on both flights to and from. Thankfully Daddy was with for the 2nd trip. It made everything much easier having a 2nd pair of hands!!

This past weekend was Brynlee's baptism. It was a very special day. We were blessed with many friends and family members to help celebrate this wonderful time! 

I will close with a few (hundred... JK) pictures. She sure is a special little girl! I don't know if I will ever get over how incredibly blessed we are... Definitely well beyond what we deserve. I still find myself waking in the middle of the night... Not because I have to get up with her but just to stare at the monitor in utter amazement... "She's mine! All mine! (And Cozart's too of course) And so much more than I could have ever dreamed of having." My cup runeth over! 


6 month pictures with Dylan... 

Just out for a stroll...
7 months!

Swimming with Daddy...

Ready for church!


8 months!! ("Really Mom, we're doing these pictures this early in the morning??")

Playing in Grandma's yard...

My whole world!!

Sweet girl! 

Flower girl!

Drool monster!

Happy 4th of July!!

9 months!

9 month checkup...

10 months and VERY busy!! 

Baptism Day! 

Hanging on for dear life... 

Can't get enough!! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where to begin...

Wow! It really has been entirely too long since I last posted. To say that having a child is life altering is the understatement of the century!! Every opportunity I try to take to write, something steals my attention... But how on earth could anyone resist this face... 

Brynlee is 4 months old and has developed quite the little personality! I seriously can't get enough of her and thank the good Lord every chance I get for our precious little girl. 

We took her in for her 4 month appointment last week and she is growing like a weed!!! She is 15lb 11oz (90th percentile) and 26 inches long (97th percentile and 3 inches from her 2 month appointment). Crazy! 

As I said, she has developed quite the personality and to say she is vocal is putting it mildly. The girl jabbers none stop. Whether she's "singing", "screeching" or giggling at us or her puppies she is ALWAYS making noise! Some mah not think it's as cute as I do but oh well... My favorite is when she sings along at church! Hilarious!! 

We were given the go ahead to start her on solids but I just don't think she's ready. She isn't very interested, in fact she has cried 3 of the 4 times we have tried to feed her cereal. I think we will stick to breastmilk for a few days and give the cereal a try again next week. 

Brynlee spends most of her week days with Daddy. She LOVES her Daddy so much. Cozart loves to take her on errands, where he is inevitably stopped by every other lady they see. I can't blame them, a hot bald man with a sweet baby girl... Who could resist?? Certainly not me! ;) He loves every minute of it too, as you can imagine. I am reminded again and again of what an amazing man I have been blessed with as a husband and father to our little girl! God is good!!! 

When Cozart is working, Brynlee gets to spend her day with her nanny, Christine. She is such a sweet person and so good with Brynlee. We are so lucky to have her! It definitely makes it easier on this working Mom to leave her girl every day, knowing she's in good hands!! 

We are quickly approaching wedding festivities for my sister. Brynlee and I will be traveling home to Minnesota in April for Katey's shower and bachelorette party. I am SOOOOOO nervous to fly with her by myself but can't wait to bring her home for the first time to meet all my aunts, grandma(s) and friends from home. It will also be an emotional trip for me, as it will be the first time I will have ever been home and not see my Grandma Gen who passed away on Brynlee's birthday. A day doesn't pass that I don't think of her for one reason or another. And for that I am thankful for I know she is always with me. :) 

That's all for now... 

1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 4 months

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Where has the past 2 months gone? (Written 12/17/13)

When you're pregnant and people tell you to enjoy every minute once the baby comes because it goes by fast, I never would have been able to comprehend just how fast time does go by. I am already 2/3s of the way through my maternity leave, Christmas is nearly here and my precious little peanut will be 2 months old tomorrow! Crazy! 

So much has happened over the past 2 months, I don't even know where to begin... I suppose it could be summed up by saying, our little one has had a bit of a rough start. She has been starved, confined to strange contraptions, poked with needles, knocked out and cut open. Sounds scary and it has been, probably more so for me than her. Let me explain....

Shortly after bringing Brynlee home from the hospital I started to notice she was taking on a slightly yellowish hue. Sure enough, at her first appointment with the pediatrician she was jaundiced. So common but still not something you want to hear as a new mom. You don't want to hear that anything is wrong with your baby. After another trip to the hospital to have more blood drawn, it was determined she would need to be put in a bili-blanket until her bilirubin levels started to falling. Thankfully, they were able to deliver the crazy contraption to our home so we wouldn't have to be admitted to the hospital. 24hours a day she had to be wrapped in this light. Not fun for her, for us or for anyone who came to visit her. However, it worked like a charm. Just a short 36 hours after it was delivered, we were given the ok to discontinue using it, her bilirubin levels were dropping. Again, jaundice is so common, I had it and so many of our friends and family have had it or have had children that have had it. We were just so thankful to get past it.... 

At our 2 week appointment, she still had a hint of yellow in her eyes and slightly in her skin but they said it could take some time for it to completely fade. Everything else seemed to be going ok, she was a little fussy but some babies just are. We were brought back to an exam room and told to strip her down to her diaper and bring her in to get weighed. My heart sank when I saw 7lbs 2oz register on the scale. She was 7lbs 8oz at birth and 7lbs 1oz at her 48 hour appointment and I knew she was expected to have gained her birth weight back and then some. Clearly, that hadn't happened. Dr. C suggested that I begin pumping and bottle feeding, so we were able to quantify the amount she was taking in. If I wasn't able to pump at least 2oz every 2 hours were instructed to begin supplementing formula. We would return in 3 days to have her weighed again. We went home, I pumped and was only getting 1/2oz every 2 hours. I was starving my baby!!! We began supplementing formula and by Monday she had gained 13oz! I began taking a supplement called Fenugreek to increase my milk supply which worked within a few days. She has been strictly breastmilk fed and is continuing to gain weight since, thankfully. 

As you can imagine, once she was past the jaundice and no longer starving she was a much happier baby. We were out of the weeds and finally able to enjoy or HEALTHY baby.... Or so we thought...

At about 3-4 weeks I began to notice that often after I fed Brunlee, her belly would get really full and firm. By the end of the day, she would have a big ole Buddha belly but by morning it would be back to normal. I assumed (TIP: never assume as a new parent) that this was just gas andas soon as she would pass it, was when the distention would reduce. The pattern continued for a little over a week until I began to notice she would wake in the morning and her belly was still full. By the 2nd day her belly was so big and hard you could see her veins and she was becoming obviously more uncomfortable. While changing her diaper that evening I noticed a bulge on the left side of her pelvis. I knew, right away, that this was likely a hernia. 

First thing the next morning, we brought her to the doctor. She confirmed it was in fact a hernia which was easily fixable, usually with an outpatient surgical procedure. Her real concern was not the hernia but the distended tummy. The doctor asked us to take her immediately to the children's hospital ER. She called to let them know we were coming and also had a surgeon on standby to fix the hernia. Needless to say, this triggered panic for me. So many things were racing through my mind but mostly was what a horrible Mom I was for not bringing her in as soon as her belly got a little big. 

After several hours in the ER, 2 X-rays, a dye contrast enema, 3 attempts at getting an IV started, no eating allowed for her, it was determined that the blockage could possibly be caused by something called Hirschsprung's Disease. Basically it's when the nerves in a portion of the intestine, colon or rectum have not developed. It was also determined that she didn't have just 1 hernia but 3, 2 inguinal (in her pelvis) and 1 umbilical. Surgery for repair was scheduled for the following morning. They would also be doing a biopsy to test for Hirschsrung's at that time. 

We spent the rest of the day in the hospital with a much more comfortable baby due to the passing of much, if not ALL, of what was causing her belly to be so big. Thank goodness the hospital supplies you with diapers, a change if sheets and blankies and a shower for Mommy!! 

Surgery was scheduled for 8:30am so, just like if you or I were having surgery, she wasn't to eat anything after midnight. Unlike you or I, Brynlee normally eats 3 times between midnight and 8:30am. I was envisioning a night from hell but, much to my surprise and relief, she slept the majority of the night and didn't start to get fussy until right before we were taken down for surgery. 

The procedure took less than an hour and went very well. At this point the surgeon wasn't very confident the blockage was caused by Hirschsprung's but did the biopsy anyway. My concern was, if it wasn't Hirschsprung's and it wasn't caused by the hernias, what was causing it? He told us we'd cross that bridge when we came to it but we would probably be referred to a GI doc. 

We had to spend the next 24 hours in the hospital to be sure she didn't have any apnea episodes. She had 2 but both very minor and only lasted a few seconds. 

The next morning we were cleared for  discharge and Brynlee seemed to be doing very well. Especially after being able to eat! We were so happy to be going home!!! 

That Thursday we went back to the surgeon to get the biopsy results and so he could check the incisions. The biopsy was negative for Hirschsprung's and she was given a clean bill of health. Praise God we were out of the weeds... Or were we?? 

The next week and a half we great! She was happier, her belly looked normal, she was pooping, her incisions looked almost healed, all was well... Until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving... 

Wednesday morning I begun to notice her tummy was a bit more grumbly than normal. It sounded much like it did pre-surgery. By the time she got up from her nap at 1pm she was exhibiting clear signs of discomfort. By 2pm she started crying and didn't stop until 6pm. Her tummy was, again, very distended and she was very " burpy". Back to the doctor we went... Thankfully she slept the whole way there and had pooped by the time we got to the pediatrician's after hours office. The nurse practitioner examined her and massaged her belly and she pooped again. After the 2nd diaper change she was all smiles. There wasn't a doctor at the after hours office so the nurse practitioner got one on the phone. Cozart spoke to him about the surgery, what the surgeon said he thought after repairing the hernias and told us to keep an eye on her and sent us home. Clearly something was causing her to have difficulties passing gas/stool. But what could it be? 

It's been a week and a half, and with a little massaging of her belly periodically, we have been able to avoid another distended belly issue. We still don't know what is causing the issue but we have an appointment this Wednesday to discuss it with one of our pediatricians. It could be something as simple as gas or an allergy to something I'm eating which is really what makes the most sense but we will see. 

It has been a bit of a rocky road the past 2 months but there have been a TON of fun moments as well. Brynlee is smiling and cooing and seems to get bigger every day! She absolutely loves her playmat, going for walks in the stroller, watching the fan in any and every room of the house, and bubble baths. She's not too fond of, having her clothes changed, getting out of the bath tub, her swing and she would rather lay on her playmat or the bed then be held for an extended period of time. Kind of a little miss independent already! 

I am so incredibly excited for Christmas and to finally have my family here and meet our little Sweet Pea! I am also very much looking forward to healthier days ahead for her and many more milestones to blog about!!! 


4 weeks

1 month

Just out of surgery

Angel face

Happy Girl

Excited for Thankgiving

Christmas Tree Shopping

Ready for church

Bath time (her favorite part of the day)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Brynlee Grace Dahl Lawrence

So it's been quite some time since my last post. I have had a few "things" going on that have taken precedence over updating my blog. Shortly after my last post my time was consumed with nesting, and for good reason...

Four weeks ago yesterday (Monday, October 7th), I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant and 100% confident that I would be going well past my due date. I couldn't really explain why I felt this way except for the fact that everything you read about your first pregnancy and going into labor is that the majority of women go past their due date. This would be the week I would be communicating appropriate contact info for my maternity leave to all my accounts at work. We would be ordering the final items needed for the nursery and finish decorating. I would begin my weekly OB appointments. I had started to pack our hospital bag but still needed a few things which I would pick up in the next coming weeks. We had our hospital tour scheduled for Friday and we needed to register at that time as well. I had at least 2 weeks left but was beginning to get a bit antsy about getting everything finished... Now I know why!

Monday evening, Cozart was at work, I had fallen asleep on the couch but wasn't able to fall back to sleep once I moved to our bed. I tossed and turned for well over an hour. At around 11:30pm I got out of bed to use the bathroom. After finishing, I walked back to bed and as I was laying down, I felt like I may have pee'd my pants a little. (Eek!! Had I really lost control of my bladder already? I thought that happened after giving birth???) I ran back into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and it just kept coming, I really had zero control. A minute or 2 passed, it stopped but I was a little freaked out. I tried Cozart... no answer. Then I tried my Mom at home... no answer. (odd she wouldn't answer the house phone) I tried her cellphone and she answered right away. I explained to her what had happened and she said "Honey, your water broke!". I was completely in denial. "But I'm not due for more than 2 weeks!!?? And I'm not having contractions or anything.". Mom replied, "I don't think Brynlee cares, she's coming now! Is Cozart home? Have you called your doctor?". Oh geez! No he wasn't home and no I hadn't called the doctor so I got off the phone with her but not before asking why she didn't answer the house phone. She informed me she was with my Grandma and that she really wasn't doing well. It was then that I knew she was right, Brynlee was coming soon and Grandma would be with us until she did, just as she said she would.

I tried Cozart about 40 more times (seriously, 40 times), with no luck. I also left a message for the doctor and was just waiting to hear back. 20 minutes passed before I decided to attempt to reach Cozart on the station line instead of his cell phone. Thank goodness someone answered and was able to get him on the phone. I still hadn't started to have contractions so I told him to just keep his phone on him and not to bother rushing home just yet. Shortly after talking to him, the on call nurse called and said I would eventually need to come in to confirm that my water did in fact break but to come in when I felt I needed to. Within 30 minutes contractions had begun and I decided it was time for Cozart to come home.

By the time he got home my contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart and lasting about 30-45 seconds. According to what we learned in our child birth class, we were in the first stage of labor and there was really no need to rush off to the hospital just yet. I was still able to talk on the phone with my sister and my Mom, I was packing anything I hadn't already packed in our hospital bag. We read the car seat manual and installed it in Cozart's truck. I even started a load of laundry, thinking we'd have enough time for it to finish and for it to dry. Contractions were intensifying but definitely manageable. Another 45 minutes passed and my contractions were getting worse and lasting longer than 30-45 seconds. I decided, after some convincing from my sister, that we should probably head to the hospital. (that load of laundry never made it to the dryer...)

We got to the hospital around 2am. I was fully prepared to have to sit and wait in the ER for some time. We were scheduled for our L&D tour and to register the coming Friday, clearly that would not be happening as planned. Much to my surprise, they met me at the door with a wheelchair, Cozart parked the truck and we were wheeled right up to L&D triage. At this point it was getting more and more difficult to talk through contractions and they seemed to be lasting forever (in reality probably about a minute). The triage nurse asked me a few questions, put us in a room and told me to get into a gown and she would be in to check me. When she returned she was able to confirm that my water did in fact break, I was dilated to 5cm and they would be moving me to a delivery room right away. We asked about how long she thought we had before Brynlee would be gracing us with her presence. She said it would probably be another 5-6 hours... Let's just say, she was a little off on her estimate...

By around 3-3:15am we were in our delivery room and my contractions were beyond what I had ever imagined. My "plan" was to go au naturale . Both my Mom and my sister had with all of their kids, there should be no reason I shouldn't be able to do the same. Boy was I wrong! After discussing (in between screaming through contractions and getting REALLY annoyed with every one telling me to breathe) with Cozart, we decided to go with the epidural. The nurse started my IV and told me I would have to have fluids run through me before we could start the epidural... UMMMMM... NO! I needed relief NOW!!!!!!!! Cozart could tell I had had about all I could take and asked the nurse to check me one more time. She obliged, but only to appease Cozart. She did and to her astonishment she asked whether or not I felt like pushing. I said screamed, YES!!!!!!!!! She then informed me that I would NOT be getting an epidural and that the baby was coming NOW!

35 minutes, of excruciating pain, at 4:03am with blood shot eyes and a hoarse voice I met our 7lb 8oz, 20.4 inches of love, sweet, little, miracle baby. Cozart and I were completely overwhelmed with joy and utterly amazed that she was here! And so quickly! 4.5 hours start to finish and my OB didn't even make it to the hospital on time. I guess he didn't think much of it when I told him the women in my family delivery babies in less than 5 hours. Maybe he'll listen next time?? :)

The next several hours are somewhat of a blur. There was zero sleep, we were 100% in a state of intoxicating baby bliss. What I do remember is staring at her thinking, "Are you really ours?", "I can't believe you're here!" and being in a very VERY cold hospital room in L&D triage because there were no rooms available on the main floor. (apparently there was a baby boom in Orlando on October 7th & 8th)  It was mid afternoon/early evening before we were moved to our "birthday" suite. A temperature regulated room, with much more room and a place for Daddy to sleep. Thank goodness.

Shortly after settling in to our new digs, my phone rang. It was my Mom, whom I had spoken to several times between the evening before and the present time, but this time my heart sank. I knew why she was calling. When I said hello, she responded through tears. My grandmother had just passed away almost exactly 12 hours after Brynlee's arrival. It was no coincidence that, despite knowing for sure what our due date was, having no complications and no sign of her coming early, she decided to arrive on this day. My Grandmother promised she would not go to heaven until Brynlee was born and that's exactly what she did. Earlier that day, my Mom went to see my grandma, to tell her Brynlee was here, we were both doing well and to show her a picture. Mom said she smiled and only hours later she decided it was her time.

I can't, exactly, put into words the emotions I was feeling when I hung up the phone. I was completely overjoyed with the arrival of our little blessing but all I could do was sit in bed with her and cry. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I would never see my Grandmother again, on earth and Brynlee would never meet her. After crying for sometime I realized, Grandma not only knows Brynlee, she'll be with her every day. She will forever be her guardian angel and it will be of no surprise to me if she is stubborn and has an amazing sense of humor just like Grandma too.

My Grandmother was an amazing, God-fearing, strong willed, loving, independent, honest, giving woman. All the qualities I pray our daughter will too possess. She was also my favorite person in the entire world... I think I was left with a pretty amazing replacement!

It's been 4 weeks today, since Brynlee's arrival and Grandma's departure. I can't believe how fast time is going, and that it's taken me this long to post her birth story! (oops!) I hope to give updates more frequently as we are finally starting to get into, somewhat, of a routine. Until then, here are a few photos of Brynlee's first few days with us... Enjoy!!!

Just minutes old... Mom looking rough but oh so happy!!

Sweet Baby!

Love this face!

Going Home!!!!

Long fingers... Future pianist perhaps?

And big feet just like her Mom. Grandpa used to say: "Big feet = strong understanding"

Fist bump???