Saturday, June 29, 2013

One Month

One Month

Whew. I can't believe it.  Our Levi Jack is a whole month old. And, all in all, it's been delightful. You've been an excellent eater from the get go. Every night you only wakes up once, sometimes twice. I swear you came out of me smiling; you smile all the time! Either you have a wild imagination and great dreams, have bad gas, or you're simply a happy guy! No matter the reason, you have won our hearts and enriched our lives. You love your swing and love when your mama sings to you! You smile when Sophie sniffs your toes and look around for Daddy every time Brett starts to talk. Bath time has become a personal favorite of yours. The water must feel good and you smile so much when I put lotion on you afterwards (especially when I rub your feet!) We're learning you need to burp often and you've become quite dependent on gripe water (as have we!) We continue to give God glory for what He has done and in response, we surrender our baby boy back to the Lord in hopes that you will one day fall in love with Jesus and choose Him above all else!

Here are a few of our favorite pictures from the last month...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Long Road to Recovery

**Just to warn you, this post consists of a lot of information most would consider TMI. I'm sharing this while blushing just a little, but I'm passionate about telling the raw, honest truth, in hopes even one person finds encouragement. Plus, I had so many friends honestly share with me information about labor and delivery and recovery, and it prepared me so much for my own experience...for that, I'm so grateful. So, go ahead and read if you wish. Otherwise, go stalk someone on Facebook or play Tetris or something ;)

After you give birth, there's this rush of adrenaline that comes over you. At least it did for me. A million thoughts and emotions came over me. I couldn't believe I just had a baby. I couldn't believe how hard it was to deliver a baby. I couldn't believe he came as fast as he did. I couldn't wrap my mind around how cute the kid was! It was so surreal. I had an unreal amount of energy and exhaustion all at the same time. I always thought I'd want to shower shortly after I had my baby so that I could feel a little cleaner and put together when visitors came. I had absolutely no desire to do so. I was swelling up, which surprised me since my feet and hands were relatively free of puffiness throughout my pregnancy. Speaking of pregnancy, it felt so weird to not be pregnant any more! My belly went from round and ginormous to soft and squishy in a matter of seconds. Then, things move around in there as your other organs have room to finally start to go back to where they belong. You also have contractions (similar feeling to Braxton Hicks) as your uterus begins the shrinking process. Between the contractions and organs moving around, I swore I felt my baby kick, then I'd remind myself that I was holding my baby and that I wasn't pregnant any more. It made me happy and sad all at the same time. Like I said before, a million thoughts and emotions engulfed me. And so began my headache.

I'm not one to usually get headaches. Maybe a few times a year I'll get a headache bad enough to make me want to take some Tylenol. That's about it. When this headache began, I immediately chalked it up to being overwhelmed with adrenaline and exhaustion, plus maybe the strain of pushing was catching up with me. Regardless, I didn't say much to my nurse that night. For one, I was a first time mom and kind of felt stupid having just given birth then complaining that my HEAD hurt. For heaven's sake. Plus, I figured it must be normal. Also, I had this REALLY cute baby and amazingly handsome husband who I just witnessed become a father to focus on. I was happy. Exhausted. Hurting. But happy, nonetheless.

That night around 9:00pm, the nurse came to take Levi to give him his first bath (they usually do this in the recovery room, but his temp was a little low so they bathed him under the warmer in the nursery.) He was gone for maybe 45 minutes, and during that time Brett and I talked about how amazing the day was. He said over and over again just how proud he was of me and how well I did. What a hunk. I kept thanking him for all his help and support as I couldn't have done it without him. After about 30 minutes, we were both like, "Aww, we miss him! When will he be back? Shouldn't he be here by now?" ha Suddenly our lives were consumed by a 7lb 5oz human being. But alas, Levi returned where I was able to feed him one last time before he went to the nursery for the night. My head was still pounding, but my heart was so full, I disregarded the pain and tried to enjoy every moment.

Around 2am, Levi was brought back to me so that I could feed him again. Thankfully our little boy was one heck of a nurser because by this point all my strength was failing me. It hurt to sit up, it hurt to hold him. I couldn't move my head from side to side. The nurse did give me some meds for pain in hopes that would ease the headache. I was convinced if I could just get a little more sleep I'd probably feel better. Levi went back to the nursery and I fell back asleep right away.

By the next morning, I knew something was wrong. I was hearing the loudest noises in my head. I was unable to even move my chin up and down slightly without feeling my head pounding more and more. The back of my neck was harder than a rock, and I felt a radiating pain down through my shoulder blades and up through my skull and onto my face. Tears began to flow as I told my nurse how bad I was hurting. Right away, she said she believed it to be a spinal headache. She explained the blood patch procedure to Brett and I and said that would probably be our best bet. In the mean time, she suggested I lay flat as much as possible and that I drink a lot of caffeine. What a great remedy for such a crappy diagnosis. Brett went to the pop machine to get me my first of many Mountain Dew's and my nurse paged the anesthesiologist on duty to come to my room to assess me. Also, an IV pump was started to give me fluids and more caffeine to ease my pain.

The next 20 minutes were pretty foggy for me. Thanks to my husband, I'm able to tell you what actually happened. My brother in law and sister in law stopped in for a few minutes before they had to leave for work. Brett had told them I wasn't feeling well so they were quiet and gracious as they gave Levi a few hugs and kisses before taking off. (They also spent the night at our house and took care of Sophie the night before. PLUS they brought Ivanhoes milkshakes for us the night before. They are well on their way to becoming my absolute favorite people haha!) Right as they were leaving, a lady came in to perform a hearing test on Levi. All the while, I was feeling an instant reaction to the IV. My heart began racing and my vision became blurred. It was hard to hear what people were saying because of the pounding/ringing in my head. I felt like I was becoming a little delirious. The lady finished Levi's hearing test and gave Brett paperwork explaining how his hearing was perfect. It seemed as though she spoke to him forever, because I was panicking and needed him right away. Finally I told him I didn't feel right. I told him something was wrong and I needed the nurse. Poor Brett became worried for me, and as he goes to page the nurse, the hearing test lady CONTINUES to explain the results of the test. Then I told Brett I was feeling nauseous and needed to go to the bathroom. I tried to get out of bed but forgot how sore I was due to the stitches from delivery. Brett grabbed me a trash can and fixed my IV as I had moved it when I was trying to get out of bed. (The next few details are a little TMI, just warning you...) I began dry heaving as Brett handed me a trash can. My nurse ran in and asked what was wrong. I told her I was scared to throw up. She said, "Why? Because of your headache or because of your stitches?" I responded, "The stitches!" She quickly said, "They will be fine!" and before I knew it, I was throwing up a ton. It's like I almost needed permission to throw up, I couldn't understand it.

By the time I was done, my headache was out of control and I struggled to lay back down as my neck and back were frozen completely. I instantly told Brett to tell people not to come to the hospital. As much as I looked forward to visitors and "showing off" our son, if you will, I wanted to crawl in a dark, dark hole and go into a coma. We decided our immediate families could still visit (they weren't there to see me anyway haha,) but the rule was they had to be super quiet as I laid in bed completely flat with towels over my face to block the light. When my IV was finished, I needed to eat lunch, but was told I wasn't allowed to eat lunch until I finished my Mountain Dew. Again, loving these doctors orders! ha But they were very serious that the caffeine would help take the edge off of my headache. Whatever ya say, Doc!

The rest of the day, I rested as much as I could in between feeding Levi. I was so sad because I had to use all my strength and energy in holding him and learning to nurse him. I couldn't even turn my head down to look at him while he was eating because my neck wouldn't allow me to. As soon as I was done burping him I would hand him to Brett or a nurse and lay back down and beg God to take this pain away. At the end of the day, however, the anesthesiologist from earlier in the day (not the one who performed my epidural) came in to talk to me and brought me surprising news. She told me, after talking to the anesthesiologist who gave me my epidural, they came to the conclusion that there's no way this could actually be a spinal headache. She explained that when he gave me another dose of medicine shortly before I started pushing, if in fact my blood hadn't clotted properly, the medication would have numbed the top half of my body and not the bottom half. Therefore, my blood was clotted like it should have been and they believed the pain I felt was nothing but strain from pushing. It was hard to believe, but I was too exhausted to argue it and I thought for sure that if she was in fact telling the truth, by morning I would likely begin to feel relief. So I went to sleep that night filled with hope for the morning! (Sidenote: it was nearly impossible to fall asleep that night after all that caffeine I took in that day...I haven't consumed that much caffeine since I was in high school!)

The next morning came way too soon and sure enough, my headache and neck and back pain were in full force. I tried taking a shower, and I remember standing there, holding onto the rails. Every drop of water hitting the shower floor sounded like thunder in my head. I thought for sure the hot water against my back would ease the pain, but the water kept hitting the back of my head causing even more pain. At one point it felt like someone was literally taking a hammer and pounding it against my skull. Every noise felt incredibly loud and close yet fuzzy at the same time. I knew the afternoon was approaching quickly and we would be sent home. I made my pain clear to my nurses, but they were told it was muscle strain and encouraged me to hang in there for a few days until it subsided. I wanted to go home but I was scared all at the same time. I remember about an hour before we left, Brett was packing up our stuff and I just sat in a chair, using all my might to hold Levi, and I just sobbed because of the pain. As our nurse wheeled me out to our car, I told her I was still hurting and she just explained how sorry she was and told me to hang in there. We all believed the anesthesiologist's conclusion. How naive of us.
This was actually a time when I felt good enough to get out of bed for a while.

The next few days were nothing but a blur. I spent 99% of that time in bed with a heating pad on my neck and a cold washcloth on my forehead. My mom practically moved in and she and Brett took care of Levi until it was time for me to feed him. When he was hungry, they would bring him in and help sit me up in bed. I propped up pillows all around me so that I only had to use very little strength to keep Levi propped as I nursed. When he was done, one of them would take Levi to burp him and change him, and the other would usually help me up to use the restroom then back to bed again. The whole process would take a little more than an hour, then I'd rest until it was time to start all over again. 

During this time, so much was on my heart. I prayed so much that I would get better. I
Napping with Sophie and Levi
cried knowing I was missing out on so much of my little guy's first few days here with us. I'm teary eyed now thinking about how I missed some of his first smiles and sighs and hiccups. I felt like I should probably ask how Levi liked to be held the most because they were learning those things while I laid in pain. At the same time, I praised God for a healthy child and for such a wonderful husband and Mom (as well as other family members) who loved me and Levi so much. Never in my life had I hurt so much, both physically and emotionally. I needed a miracle.

Monday morning I woke up feeling different. Not good different. Bad different. I remember my sister stopping over to help for the morning. I was just getting ready to feed Levi when I began to feel nauseous from the pain. I had had enough. We called my doctor and begged to be seen as soon as possible. Within no time, I was leaving my baby for the first time as Brett took me in
Pic my mom and sis sent while we were at the docs!
to be seen. When we got there, we quickly realized that the office had lost power. My heart sank because I was afraid they'd send us home until the power came back on. I decided before we even walked to the front desk that I was NOT leaving without being seen. I clung to Brett as he guided me inside. Every step made my head pound. I was still hearing this piercing weed whacker sound in my head. I felt nauseous. I wore my sunglasses into the dark office with my hands over my eyes to keep out as much light as I could. Thankfully, within 15 minutes our doctor called us back. On our way to the room, I had to stop yet again in the bathroom due to nausea. This was out of control. Within 30 seconds my doctor told me that indeed this was a spinal headache and that I needed a blood patch right away. I was relieved and ticked all at once. How was this overlooked in the hospital? If the blood patch would kick in right away, why couldn't I have had this done at the hospital before I ever came home? Why have I had to go through 5 days of misery if there was a simple solution?

By 2:00pm we were at the hospital. Of course I still had to go through the basic check in procedures before I could see a doctor. The receptionist quickly learned to just ask Brett for all my information as I had my head laid on the desk with my hands over my sunglasses yet again. The light hitting my eyes felt like laser beams burning my eyes. So stinkin' painful. Before I knew it we were back in our room. The nurses turned off all the lights, laid me down and covered me in blankets. One even went and got me another Mountain Dew to drink while I waited. They were so accommodating. Of course there was a delay in getting the anesthesiologist there, but once he came, the procedure only took about 15 minutes. Within an hour, I could open my eyes again. Within 24 hours the weed whacker noise began to fade. By hour 36 I was able to pick up Levi and look down at him as I nursed. I was healed! You better believe that for the next week, I volunteered to change almost every diaper because I was so excited to finally be able to! I cuddled him so much and just cried as I praised God for healing me. I was finally able to do all the things moms get to do!

Once my headache was relieved, I felt brand new. Of course, since the most obvious pain had finally disappeared, I realized I still had a ways to go to be completely 100%. I had a 3rd degree episiotomy that needed time to heal. My back hurt from the blood patch procedure. I dealt with engorgement and constipation. As if that wasn't enough, I also wound up with a bladder infection that gave me 102 degree fever. My headache was gone, but the battle had just begun.

All that being said, every day I would feel a little better. There were little victories popping up all over the place. If you would have asked me two days after my blood patch, I would have told you I felt amazing. Of course, a few days later, I felt even more amazing. Every passing day would become sweeter and sweeter. No amount of pain or sleep deprivation would rob me of my joy. I was a mom. One of the highest callings was granted to me, and I was humbled and flattered and grateful beyond belief. We didn't deserve such a sweet baby. All the glory goes to God, who fought my battle for me and declared victory. Every day I just pray that God smiles and receives glory as he watches me be a mom. Praise to You, Jesus!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Long Version of a (Fairly) Short Delivery

Levi's Birth Day!

On Tuesday, May 28th at 40 weeks and 1 day, I went to the doctor for yet another weekly visit. I was excited that I had made it to 40 weeks, even though who wouldn't want to deliver a week or two earlier than that?? I kept reminding myself that being able to carry a baby this long is a blessing not a curse, and I had so much to be thankful for. I went to the doctor that morning simply hoping I would have made some progress. Up to this point, I was just 1cm dilated and having a million contractions a day. Sure enough, nothing had changed. My doctor and I talked about it and he said I could either wait another week to see how things go, or we could talk induction. I wanted to go into labor on my own, but I also wanted him here by the weekend since I was so uncomfortable and since so many of our family and friends live out of town, it would have been the perfect situation for them to be able to come visit. So I asked if we could aim for Friday for an induction, giving myself a few leeway days to have him on my own. Turns out my doctor was going to be gone for the weekend, and he said that we could either schedule induction that night or wait another week. So obviously, I said we'd gladly take tonight!

The next few hours were a crazy mixture of emotions. Of course I couldn't wait to call Brett. He answered the phone and I said, "You ready to be a daddy!?" He was elated. Then we called our families and just a few close friends. As much as I've enjoyed sharing so much of this pregnancy with the world, for some reason that day I just wanted to savor it all to myself. Maybe it was because it was going to be my last day pregnant. Maybe because I was nervous it wouldn't work out. Regardless, I spent the day relaxing and doing some last minute packing, day dreaming about the fact that in about 24 hours, I'd be holding my son for the first time.

By 5:30, I had changed into my gown and I began the cervadil. Within no time, the nurses came in and said how impressed they were by how many contractions I'd been having (they went from 7 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart in about a half hour time span) and asked if I was comfortable. I laughed and told them how I was
barely even feeling them and how I'd had these same contractions for the last month. They seemed surprised and said that they'd wait to check me again then until morning. I reassured them I was totally fine and didn't need anything for pain. Brett and I were able to order (yet another) dinner and we spent the night watching the Pacers/Heat play. Well, Brett watched the game. I dozed off a few times and had fun texting some friends and calling my mom every five minutes. She stopped in just for a few was so great having her there to reassure me that I was in good hands and that the baby would be here in no time!

10:00pm came and went, and the nurse came in to check on me. I told her I started feeling stronger contractions that were keeping me from going to sleep. Originally I planned on declining the sleeping pill I knew I'd be offered because I usually don't respond well to medication like that. However, I knew I had a long day ahead of me and I was not going to get any rest without it. She got me medicine, and I was completely out in about 20 minutes.

Around 3:00am I woke up to my water breaking. I expected a big gush of fluid, but instead it was like I just became more and more damp. I woke up Brett and asked him to page the nurse. By the time she got there, I had started to walk towards the bathroom and was leaving ginormous pools of water on the floor behind me. I turned the lights on in the bathroom and noticed the fluid wasn't clear. My heart sank as I knew it was meconium. I knew all about the risks associated with this, and had prayed fervently in the previous weeks that our baby's cord would stay away from his neck and that my water would remain clear. I wiped tears from my eyes and said to myself, "My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." And boom, I was filled with God's peace. The nurse changed my sheets and I laid back down. Within no time, contractions were coming on full force. To my surprise, the nurse told me I could get the epidural whenever I wanted now, even though I was still only 1cm dilated. My plan all along was to accept the epidural offer the moment they make it, because I wanted to avoid as much pain as possible. I gladly accepted...and am so glad I did, because it took another 2 hours for the anesthesiologist to make it to our room.

Those two hours weren't terrible, but they were definitely painful and I could tell they were only getting worse. By 5:30am, I was 1 1/2cm dilated. They started my IV, then I was finally able to get my epidural. I hadn't thought much about the process of getting the epidural beforehand. I had heard from some it was painful and others it wasn't bad. All I knew is that it couldn't be any worse than the pain I'd experience without it, so I knew I had to bite the bullet and just get it over with. And overall, it really wasn't too bad. It's nerve wracking  knowing they're putting something in your spine and you can't move, but they walked me through it so well and worked with my contractions so that I didn't have to fight the pain of the epidural and a contraction at the same time. Brett was a good sport...he couldn't stand close to me as he doesn't handle needles well. But he sat on the other side of the room encouraging me and telling me how great I was doing. Within no time, the procedure was done and I was back in bed. I might be delusional now, but I don't recall feeling another strong contraction after that point. And I was numb, yes, but I could still feel my wasn't a "dead weight" kind of feeling like I was expecting. Rather pleasant, really :)

Around 9:00, our nurse came in and explained to us the risks associated with meconium. She told us there would be 3 NICU nurses in our room at the time of delivery. The doctor would immediately cut the cord and give our baby to the nurses so that they could assess him. If he was ok, they would just clean him up then give him to me. If he had in fact inhaled any meconium, he would go straight to the NICU. Brett would go with him and I would join them later. She asked me if I had any questions. I took a deep breath. I had to be honest. I told her how thankful I was that she took the time to explain this to us, but that we weren't really too worried. I told her all about how I had so many friends with sick babies. I told her one of my friends just delivered a beautiful baby boy that she never got to take home. I cried as I told her how humbled I was that God would allow us to have a baby, and that if a baby born with meconium in his lungs was the cross He was asking us to carry, we would do it with a heart full of thankfulness. The point was that God would receive the glory. The point was that we would keep all things in perspective. The point was discovering if I really, truly believed that the same God that was comforting my friends in the midst of their loss would be the same God that would keep His hand on my child. He was good, all the time...Does that make sense?

My nurse came in at 10:00 am. (I loved her, by the way. All my nurses were wonderful, but Hannah was exceptional) She assured Brett and I that our baby was doing well, so they began a small increment of pitocin. She came back in several times in the next 2 hours because the monitor confirmed that our baby's heart rate wasn't handling the pitocin very well. They said that his monitor should show a line that goes up and down steadily. Instead, it was steady, but not going up and down a whole lot. It wasn't "dangerous," but they wanted to keep a close eye on him to make sure we weren't putting too much stress on his body. I prayed that he would stay safe and that God would allow me to deliver naturally instead of via c section, but I also suddenly became more than ok with a c section if that's what it took for my son to be safe. Our families joined us during this time and we all just laughed and told stories and they shared in our excitement. At 10:00 I was about 4cm. By 11:00 I was 7cm. I couldn't believe how quickly I was progressing...

By 11:30, my nurse announced that I was 9 1/2 cm dilated! WHAT!? Wow, it was almost go time. She went in the hall to tell our families that I was going to be pushing soon, so they all headed for the waiting room. I had Brett run out and grab my mom and dad first. They came back to our room and I just cried and asked that they would pray with us. We prayed for God to receive glory that afternoon. We prayed that Baby Fox would be perfectly healthy. We prayed that our nurses and doctors would be showered with wisdom and discernment, and that I would remain strong and healthy during delivery. And just like that, the room emptied, and in no time, it was being prepped for delivery.

At 11:45 the nurse had me push a few times through a contraction, but discovered I was still only 9 1/2 cm dilated. By this time, my epidural began to wear on lower right hand side of back. I can't even begin to describe the pain I felt from that one side alone. My nurse explained that the pain and tension from the worn epidural was keeping me from dilating to 10 cm, so she had the anesthesiologist puts meds in IV for me to relieve the pressure in that area for me. 

12:45 GAME TIME! My legs went up in the stirrups and my warrior of a husband stood bravely beside me and counted to ten during each push. Every time he got to "10," he would shower me with compliments like, "You're doing so great, babe!" or "You're almost there! He's coming!" (I wasn't "almost there" during most of the time spent pushing, but that little white lie kept me going!!) It's crazy how time really does pass quickly during the pushing phase. For one, you only push a few times during contractions. When the contraction is over, you kind of just chill out and wait for the next one. During these times, we had quick, random conversations. The one I remember most vividly was when I was pushing for a few more seconds, and once Brett said, "Ten" I gasped for air and yelled, "It smells like Chinese food!!" I thought I was delirious or that I was hallucinating or something. However, it turns out it really did smell like Chinese food. Our nurse said that sometimes the vent in that room can carry in scents from the room next door, and they must have ordered Chinese for lunch. Gave us a good laugh before the next contraction came to be. 

Pushing up until this point was relatively easy. Don't get me wrong, I was exhausted and honestly wondered if I'd be able to actually do it. But I didn't feel like I was going to die until around 1:55. I was pushing so hard and couldn't believe he hadn't shot across the room yet. I wasn't sure how much longer I could do this. Just at this time, however, my nurse called my doctor and told him it was time to come deliver our baby. The NICU nurses were paged and in no time at all were standing next to his bassinet. I think the reason they wait so long to bring the doctor in is because that rush alone gives the mama the second wind she needs to complete the task! Now, don't get me wrong...I still had ZERO confidence left in me that I could do this. But it was as if I suddenly had a team around me waiting in expectation, and I didn't want to let anyone down. Between Brett still showering me with compliments, my nurse continuing to instruct me on how to push, and the frenzy of people surrounding me completely prepared to meet our little guy, I was empowered. There were several times in between pushes I would say, "I can't do this, I can't do this!" My nurse would quickly respond, "You have to do this!" And before she could even complete her sentence, I would say, "Ok I'll do this!" I was easily convinced, I guess!

Just a few minutes before our baby arrived, my doctor very calmly said, "Ok now Kayla, what we're going to do is a little episiotomy, so I'm..." And I quickly interuppted, "DON'T TELL ME
WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO! JUST DO IT QUICK, DON'T TALK ABOUT IT!" He laughed and shook his head in understanding. And at 2:05pm, I felt my baby's body being delivered. HE WAS HERE! Our Doctor cut the cord and quickly handed him to the NICU nurses. They worked on him to be sure he was clear of meconium. Thankfully there was only a little found in his stomach, and they were able to suction him in the room then hand him to me a few minutes later. Now, there was a wide variety of thoughts going through my head during all of this. First, understand that while I was pushing, my eyes were closed completely. So when the baby was delivered, although I felt it all, I never actually saw it happen. Our doctor announced, "He's here!" and I remember lying back and saying, "Is he ok?" They told me yes right away, and I remember thinking, "Oh good. I need to sleep." My eyes remained closed for a little while after that. Then, once they finally got him crying, I looked over toward the bassinet and saw this perfectly clean little baby flailing his arms and legs as they were putting his hat and diaper on him. I think because I never saw the transition of seeing him leave my body, all..."sticky," if you will, to him being placed in the bassinet then being cleaned off, I had a hard time believing he
actually came from me. I remember asking, "Is that one mine?" as if there were a hundred other babies in the room, too. Anyway, Brett had grabbed our camera and started taking pictures of him. While they were still getting him cleaned up, I remember asking Brett to show me a picture so I could see him close up. Within a minute, the nurses brought him over to me. And there are no words I can say to adequately explain how I felt. Happy. Humbled. Amazed. Disbelief. Shock. Gratefulness. Wonder. Joyful. Blessed.  Love. Sweet love. I sat there and just repeated over and over again, "Oh thank you, Jesus. God you're so good. Thank you so much, Lord!"

We took our time enjoying being a family of three for the first time. I was able to nurse him and we just snuggled him and hugged and kissed each other a million times over. I already loved Brett in a brand new way. He got me through the most difficult, painful thing I've ever gone through. He stood by my side and encouraged me so much, not just in the last couple of hours, but in the past couple of years. And now, now he gave me the greatest gift ever. He gave me the gift of motherhood. He gave me the gift of a child. I felt so blessed to have such an awesome Daddy for my first born son. By 3:30pm, our family filled the room and loved on the little guy. I'll never forget the look on my mom's face as she was the first to come in. She peeked her head inside and I looked up from staring at Levi. Tears filled both her eyes and mine and I just said, "I'm a mom! I did it!" What a sweet moment for us.

The most beautiful day in all my life had just begun. Family was loving on Levi and congratulating Brett and I on our new baby. It was completely blissful and so unreal. Until around 4:00pm. Things slowly started taking a turn for the worst as the most excruciating headache began...