Saturday, February 2, 2013

Our Journey to Selah

Apologies for the tardiness of this blog entry - this parenthood thing tends to take up a lot of our time. 

Selah Day Kerwin entered the world with a bang- - or shall I say with a 3.9 earthquake.  You heard correct, about one hour before her birth an earthquake whose epicenter was right next to our hospital struck.  Yet, this seemed inconsequential compared to the miraculous drama unfolding before us.

The Birth
I started having small contractions on Sunday, September 3rd and into Monday the 4th.  Luckily, I had my weekly exam scheduled with Dr. Solky that day.  I was informed that I was 1 cm dilated and about 20% effaced.  The contractions were very small at this point and felt pretty similar to period cramps and so I was totally fine.  That night I went to bed and the contractions got a bit worse and kept me awake but they were totally manageable.  During the day of the 4th, the contractions lessened and I even made it out to Starbucks to do some last bit of journaling and to savor what I knew would be my last few precious moments/days as just "Ang".  Russ took me out to dinner that night to for a little pre-birthday celebration (my bday is the 5th) and I'm glad he did because on the 5th, I wasn't really in the mood for being out and about.  We celebrated my birthday with some frozen pizza and I was happy to take my Dr's advice to drink some wine in hopes of relaxing enough to get some sleep. 

We went to bed around 1:00 am, but the contractions were bigger than the wine by this point.  By 3:30 am I woke up Russ because the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and around 30-60 seconds in length. I felt like they were painful (little did I know ;).  We labored together for the next few hours, Russ drawing me baths and rubbing my back.  Around 7:30 am we texted our doula, Joni, who informed us that the contractions should be consistently 2-3 minutes apart and at least 45-60 seconds before heading to the hospital especially since we were hoping to avoid interventions.  Around 10:00 am Joni arrived at our place where we labored for a little while but by this point, Russ and I were ready to head to the hospital.  Joni suggested that we meet at the Beverly Center (a mall that is across the street from Cedars Sinai Medical Center), because she felt we still weren't ready to check into the hospital just yet but understood our desire to get closer to the hospital. We walked around the mall for the next 4+ hours and it was intense. The contractions felt very very strong by this point and were almost paralyzing.

Enduring a contraction at the Beverly Center
At 3:30 pm we headed over to my Dr.'s office, which is located in one of the towers of the hospital.  Despite the painful contractions, Joni wanted to keep my expectations in check and told us that we should only expect 2-3 cm by this point.  I didn't know how it was possible to go through the past three days of labor and especially the past 15 hours of intense labor for only 2-3 measly cm!  I started crying with joy when Dr. Solky informed us that I was 5-6 cm and that I should check into the hospital and told me to expect an early evening baby.
Checking into Cedars Sinai Medical Center at 4pm

With this encouraging news and a much needed boost to our morale, we checked into the hospital and anxiously waited to see how our little lady was planning her entrance into the world.  We labored for 4 more hours and the pain was absolutely incredible by this point.  At 8:00 pm I was 8 cm dilated and Dr. Solky recommended I have my water broke.  I told her I'd push through for a couple more hours but by 9:30 pm I was still only 8 cm dilated.  The pain continued to intensify and despite the amazing support of Russ and Joni, my psyche and body were on the verge of breaking.  I had been up for three nights and had been in very active labor for the past 36 hours and was beginning to question my ability to go on.  Just then, my mom and sister walked in and I burst into tears.  There is nothing quite like a mother's love at the moment in which I was to become a mother.

Pure Joy for Daddy

Teamwork at its finest
I decided to have my water broke at this point in hopes of moving the labor along.  But, if I thought I was in pain before - - this was at least ten times as great and there was very little time between the contractions to catch my breath and refocus.  After about an hour, and reaching a point where I was absolutely incapable of dealing with the pain, Joni said, "Angela, we have to look at why you have chosen not to do an epidural.  It is one thing to not want any interventions but you are absolutely suffering and you should reconsider your options".  I needed this, I was stubborn and exhausted and I needed someone to give me "permission" to reevaluate my decision to not do the epidural.  After careful consideration, I knew that getting the epidural was the only option I could choose.  It was a very emotional moment for me because I felt like I was letting Russ and myself down.  Russ assured me that he supported whatever I decided.
The epidural was literally like getting a new lease on life!  The pain was instantly gone and I was a completely different person -- I was relaxed and present, focused on what we were about to do - - welcome our baby girl into the world.
Within the hour, I had completely dilated and the nurse called Dr. Solky to tell her to make her way to the hospital so that she could deliver our baby.  This was great news, especially because my biggest fear was that the epidural might lead to pitocin, which may lead to a c-section.  I was also comforted by the fact that the epidural medication stays only within the spinal area and does not affect the baby.
As we waited for Dr. Solky, the lights were dimmed and everyone left the room except for Russ and I.  We tried to take a little nap but then an earthquake hit and frankly, I couldn't sleep anyways knowing that we were about to become parents. 

Welcome to the World Selah Day Kerwin!
Dr. Solky arrived and we began pushing around 1:00 am.  After 40 minutes of focused pushing, we joyfully welcomed our Selah.   It was a surreal moment, one we will treasure and hold sacred forever.  We chose Selah's name because of it's beauty and use in the Psalms.  Many scholars have debated what Selah means but overall it means: A pause, a moment to reflect (on what was just said), a "musical" way of saying Amen.
Hi Everyone!

Our Sweet Baby Girl

We had a tough time getting pregnant but I now know that Gods timing is perfect and His plan is flawless and that He truly is the giver and taker of life.  We feel so blessed that His face shined on us and His will was for us to become parents.  It was a long and sometimes emotional road but Selah was worth the wait.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

37 1/2 weeks...In the Home Stretch

We are feeling pretty good about welcoming baby into our lives.  Last Thursday we reached the "full term" mark, which means we could have her at any time and she'd likely be o.k.  We also finished our birthing class and feel empowered and less intimidated by the whole hospital/birthing process.

Russ and I are hoping to have a natural childbirth if at all possible and avoid any interventions (i.e. no epidural or analgesic drugs).  I love our hospital, Cedars-Sinai and my Dr. is incredible; however, the epidural rate at Cedars is 98% and the use of pitocin is close to 75% and so it is not surprising that the rate of cesareans is close to 40%!  We are praying to avoid all of the above.

I'm hoping and believe that if millions of women have delivered naturally in the past, my body must be able to handle the pain but I'm working on my mental toughness in preparation.  One step we took to empower us in this journey of a drug free birth has been hiring a doula.  Joni Lucarelli has been a great support to us and she has two children of her own - - one birth she used interventions and the other was natural so she's not over the top crazy about "no drugs" but she is supportive and knowledgeable.  She will be with us at our home as we labor and then will move to the hospital and act as our advocate and support system throughout the labor/delivery process.  She's really wonderful and I'm excited and feel so much comfort knowing she'll be with us every step of the way.

I finally began packing my hospital bag and think we'll have all of the loose ends tied up by the end of the weekend.  Baby girl is still moving like crazy despite what the books say (they say that the baby is usually too big to move around a lot by this point).  We are both looking forward to the next few weeks and finally welcoming our little lady to this world.

37 1/2 Weeks - Full Term!

Monday, July 30, 2012

LA Baby Shower

The "Hostest with the Mostest" and my awesome sister, Tricia - Thank You!!!
My wonderful, lovely, generous, kind sister, Tricia, throws one fabulous baby shower!  She hosted a beautiful shower for me and Baby at The Malibu Cafe last weekend and it was absolutely gorgeous.  We (well, everyone else) drank bottomless mimosas and lemonade to try and beat the heat while we enjoyed the beautiful setting and had a chance to catch up.  We ordered a delicious brunch (blueberry waffles, what!?) and then moved over to a more shaded/cool area to dip our feet in the water and open presents. 
Like I said, Baby, is blessed!
My wonderful sis-in-law, Mackenzie!

Marshall/Matt/Clayton/Judis - All the same person - I LOVE you!
I can't thank Tricia enough for such a perfect shower.  A huge thank you also to my mom who flew in from Oregon to attend the shower and to my sister-in-law, Mackenzie, for making the trek from San Diego.  Oh, and a huge thank you to Christina for some delicious push-pop cupcakes (that she decorated with "It's a Girl" ribbons (yummy).
My beautiful mommy
Xtina - Queen of Push-Pop Cupcakes (and she just had a baby!)

Baby K is one VERY lucky girl and can't wait to meet everyone in about 5 weeks!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bump, Bump and Away!!!!

Today marks our 32nd week on this journey of pregnancy!  I've kind of slacked on the bump update posts but hopefully, the pics from Spain and the baby showers have kept you in the loop.

All is going great with baby and I'm relatively comfortable - I'll be even more comfortable once the air conditioning is installed (crossing fingers this happens within the week)!  My doctor is happy with the development of our baby and my weight gain is on track thus far.  I have realized however that I can not lift heavy items like I had been, which is frustrating.  It's not like I was power lifting or anything but this fact makes me feel even less like a contributor to our renovation(s).  Russ is now relegated to carrying most large items up and down the stairs and I've found gardening a little more difficult with this growing baby inside of me.

Baby K is super active and loves to save her kicks and twirls for bedtime but it doesn't bother me because already, I think that everything she does is perfect ;)

32 weeks!  Baby is the size of a large squash!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feeling Showered with Love!

The love we have experienced over the past month is overwhelming, humbling and awesome all at the same time!  Russ and I are incredibly blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who poured out their love on us (and baby) by throwing us three baby showers!

Grandma Nancy and I
My ladies in Seattle - - Jenelle was with us in spirit, she was sick :(
Our first stop was Seattle where we were able to enjoy some sunshine (yes, it was rare) and celebrate Father's Day and Grandpa Dave's birthday in addition to two baby showers!  The first was thrown by my sweet mother-in-law and friend Carol Ross and the other was perfectly planned by my longtime girlfriends Piper, Jackie and Jenelle.

While it was a whirlwind trip, we also managed to fit in some quality time at some of our favorite restaurants with friends, take a beautiful walk along the Sammamish trail with Grandma and Grandpa Kerwin and enjoy a delicious Father's Day brunch with Grandpa Dave and soon-to-be-daddy Russ!  If you want to see more pics from the girlfriends shower in Seattle, click here.

Heather, Mom, Tricia and I
Russ headed back to Los Angeles after that first weekend but I was fortunate to be able to fly down to Oregon to spend a week with my family prior to the shower that my mom and sister, Heather, threw for me (and baby)!  Little did I know, that my cousin Lyn flew all the way from Maryland to be at the shower AND she did ALL the cooking!  She is incredible and the food was to die for!
Best Mom in the WORLD!
One of the highlights of my time in Oregon, was seeing all of my closest childhood girlfriends who I am still closer than ever with.  It is so rare to get all of us to get together at the same time and I felt blessed beyond belief!  We had so much fun talking well into the night, and we still didn't even scratch the surface.

While each shower was beautifully executed and the gifts were beyond generous (thank you!!!!), the real gift(s) were seeing friends and family and feeling so loved I could burst.  A heartfelt thanks to all who are making our pregnancy experience so memorable and our lives so blessed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Babymoon in Espana

We've been off the grid for a couple of weeks (and then a couple more to recover) from our babymoon to Espana!
Cocktails/Mocktails before dinner in Marbella, Spain

What a treat to spend nearly two weeks with each other exploring the southern part of Spain and soaking in the rays of the Costa del Sol. 

Not only was it a great trip to see another country and experience a new culture, it was also a really nice time to reconnect with each other.  Russ and I have learned that travelling has helped us enormously because it affords us the space and time (minus distractions) to focus on each other.

So, while Spain was beautiful - I'd say the best part of the trip was growing together as a couple and cherishing our "last hurrah" before baby.
Since we've missed some "bump" updates, this will have to suffice for the 26 week pic and of course, I'm acting like a ham!

Our overall trip went something like this: Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Marbella, Morocco, Almunecar, Nerja, Granada, Madrid, Amsterdam and HOME!
Alhambra in Granada, Spain

I can fill ya in on details (hotels, what we saw, ate and did) later but that should give you a general sense of our itinerary.  It was just enough city/beach balance and overall a once-in -a-lifetime trip that we'll treasure forever.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Growing Bump

I got a bit behind on the posts esp. since there has been such big news lately so don't fall over that you're getting two posts in two days ;)  I'm also doing my best to keep ya'll updated on the growing belly (it's an entity unto its own) and posting pics every two weeks.

We all know Russ was less than thrilled about taking this picture but he's learning to be a good sport.  Beba is silently protesting

My Dr. said that it is normal to gain about 25-35 lbs over the course of a pregnancy and at my last appointment, I had gained ten lbs.  Which, I should mentioned I relayed to Russ and his response was, "that's all, you look like you've gained more".  * Note, never a good idea to say that to your wife.  It's all good, I know the baby is getting everything she needs and getting big and round is part of the deal you make when taking on a pregnancy.
The fruit artwork is courtesy of Russ - it's supposed to be a papaya

My diet hasn't really changed too much since being pregnant.  Early on, I couldn't stand the idea of coffee but this aversion has passed and just recently I experienced my first craving for a strawberry shake from Jack in the Box.  All in all though, I'm just trying to remember more fruits and vegetables and to eat small frequent meals.  I took some tips from my mother-in-law and added some of the swiss chard we have in our garden to my fruit smoothies in the morning so at least I'm getting my fruit and at least one veggie each day (hopefully more in my lunch in dinner).
Not a great quality pic but I feel like this image shows more accurately how big the belly has gotten (22 weeks, 3 days)