Lexi Hospital Stay

Dear Lexi,

About an hour after your arrival, I called Grandma B to tell her about your arrival. The conversation started out very casual as she was just finishing up baking and then I just matter-of-factly asked if she wanted to come meet her grand-daughter and she was OVERJOYED! Her and Grandpa B headed over to the hospital right away.

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I had just tried nursing you for the first time, and I thought it went relatively well. I thought you had latched on well, but learned later you weren’t and were sucking in the opposite direction. Instead of your tongue pulling the milk in, you were pushing it out. That first night was a tough one. You screamed a lot. Eventually one of the nurses suggested skin-to-skin contact. They had you lay with your diaper on my bare chest and it really calmed you down, and it was the most soothing thing for me. I really bonded with you during those hours. Your skin was so soft and I just rubbed my hands on your back and we both fell asleep. It was the best sleep I had gotten in months.

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Once the lactation nurse arrived in the morning, she came straight to the room and tought us how to latch. The first thing she did was express some colostrum and fed it to you with a syring to get some food into your stomach. Then she showed us several different feeding positions and tricks to help you latch. One of them was having Daddy “tickle” the top of your mouth with his finger to teach you to suck in instead of out.

Later that day, we also went with you for your first bath. I was an emotional wreak. I cried the whole time and not just a couple of sniffles with water in my eyes, I had big-full tears streaming. In addition to the crazy amount of hormone changes my body was going through, I think it was the moment I realized how much I loved you and how perfect you were. I knew I felt those things before, but I hadn’t had the time to comprehend everything and it all just came to me at one time. We were so lucky to have this beautiful, healthy, perfect little girl. God has truly blessed us.

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That afternoon/eveing was pretty busy with visitors. Grandpa and Grandma Sampson, Aunt Becca, Great-Grandma and Great Grandpa Sampson, Auntie Angie, Aunt Teresa, Uncle Greg, Ashely, Courtney and Tia all came to visit. This day was pretty overwhelming. I was still nervous about the nursing, I was sore and tired and the constant visitors was a little exhausting  Next time, we’ll definitely limit the amount of time people are allowed to stay.

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The second night at the hospital went a little better. You had your 24 hour tests, which Daddy went with you for, while I took a bath. When I returned, you and Daddy were hanging out having some skin-to-skin time.  Below is a photo of one of Daddy’s favorite memories in the hospital. He said he sung songs and to you and began to realize all of the exciting moments he is going to experience having a daughter, which made him choke up a little bit.

We started the sleeping portion of the night with you in the nursery so we could get a little sleep. It didn’t last long and then just decided to keep you in the room for the rest of the night. The next morning, we began getting all of our stuff ready to go home, met with the lactation consultant again–who was SO helpful, had a quick visit with Rachel and Lauren and then headed home.

Love,

Mom

Lexi’s Birth Story

Since I had gotten so little sleep on Sunday evening, I left work early on Monday and went home and took a bath. When I got out and was changed, I went down to check my phone to make sure there weren’t any pressing emails that had come in from work, and was surprised to find a voicemail from the Dr. Sure enough the blood work had some in late that afternoon and I was diagnosed with cholestasis (ICP) and needed to head to the hospital that evening to be induced. They called at 4:30, I got the message at 5:10 and we needed to be at the hospital at 6 pm, so although we had the bag packed and were ready to go, it was still a little frantic trying to get everything together. I had a mix of emotions while listening to that voicemail from the Dr. I was excited that it was finally happening, but was also very scared for the labor. I had always heard the contractions of labor are a lot more intense when you’re induced, and overall, just really didn’t know what to expect. Your Dad was a little frantic too, as I was listening to the voicemail, I told him, ‘It’s go time,’ and he thought my water broke or something, but then I explained the positive blood work. I had to listen to the voicemail like three times because he kept talking while I was listening and couldn’t get all the details. Once we confirmed we had received the message with the clinic, Dad took a quick shower, while I got the rest of our stuff ready. On the way there, we stopped at Chipotle so he could eat. I’m not sure if he was more excited that I let him stop or that we were going to get to meet you the next day.

The labor and delivery section of the hospital was pretty full when we arrived, there were only two rooms available, one of which happened to be the second best room, which was ours. It was very large and had a huge bathroom with a special tub to do water births. Your dad took a couple quick last belly photos before I put on the hospital gown and got ready. As they were checking me in, they did a pelvic exam and learned that I had dialated to 3 cm, which they were surprised about and wanted to check to see what medicine they wanted to give me. Originally, they were going to give me a medication that helped dialate me, but decided to give me something to help soften my cervix instead. They also commented on how low you were inside of me. They had a hard time doing the internal exams because you’re head was right my cervix, which would explain the pelvic pressure and need to pee so often. Once they did that, Daddy and I were good for the night and we could just hang out. I hadn’t eaten anything yet that evening and was hungry so Daddy went to the store to get me some Cheetos, sweatarts and some tums, then we watched Disney’s Cats. By this time Daddy was pretty tired so he went to bed and I attempted to, but just couldn’t sleep. I had an IV in my hand and it just drove me nuts and I couldn’t sleep, I played several games oh phase 10 and Suduko. I was also very anxious for what was to happen the next day.

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Finally around 5 am I feel asleep but woke up around 7:30 am when they came in to check on me. Dr. Grajczyk came in just before 8 am, did an internal exam. The medicine didn’t seem to do much as I was 65% effaced (I was about 50%) when I came in and dialated to about 3.5 cm. She broke my water and gave the instructions to start administering the Pitocin. Having my water break was definitely interesting. It looked like she took a crochet needle to break it and there was just a little sound like a blister popping, and then lots of water. It felt like I was peeing my pants and it just wouldn’t stop for a couple of minutes. Eventually it slowed enough where I could stand up, I put a huge pad between my legs and waddled to the bathroom. I was then instructed to put on a pair of mesh underwear that were kind of like shorts and went up over my belly with the large pad in them and wear those throughout the labor as the water continued to leak out of me. One thing I was surprised by was that my belly didn’t look any different after my water broke. I’m not sure why, but I kind of thought it would be smaller or would kind of deflate like a blister does.

As soon as my water broke, I started having contractions. They weren’t too painful and I could talk through them for the most part, but they weren’t frequent enough or strong enough so they started administering the Pitocin around 9 am. I labored on the birthing ball for most of these. Each one was a little stronger than the next and they were coming about every two minutes and lasting 30 seconds. Your daddy was a rock star in helping me through them. He was so positive and encouraging and continued to remind me to relax my shoulders and keep breathing. I tried a few other positions, but could absolutely not do anything just laying or sitting. I needed to have some kind of movement through the contraction. So in addition to bouncing on the birthing ball, I would occasionally lean on Daddy’s shoulder and rock back and forth. Throughout the whole labor, I was really cold. We had to put the ball in the sun to help keep me warm. Also at the peak of the contraction, I would get slightly nauseous, but thankfully never threw up. Around 10 am, they checked me again, and I hadn’t dialated at all, but was now 85% effaced, which they said was really good. Typically, your cervix softens before you dialat further. So we continued to labor naturally, and I would say the pain scale would increase about one number every hour or so.

At noon, I was checked again and had dialated to a 4 and was still 85% effaced. I was a little discouraged by that because the pain was increasing a lot and it had been 4 hours and I had barely progressed. So I decided to get in the tub to try something new. Once I got in, labor started to take an odd spin. My contractions shifted, I would have three in a row without one ever ending, and the first one would be really intense. Then I would have a 5-minute break. At the time I didn’t know this was really happening, but I would fall asleep on your Daddy’s arm between the contractions. After about an hour, I knew I needed the epidural. The three contractions on top of each other was too much and I knew it was only going to get worse. So they began giving me the fluid for the Epidural and did another internal exam and I hadn’t progressed at all. I was still at a 4 and 85% effaced. I was so happy I had made the decision to get the epidural because it was heartbreaking to hear I had gone two hours and the pain was intense and I hadn’t progressed. Additionally, you had shifted inside of me and were kind of sideways slash backwards.

Before I knew it, the anesthesiologist was administering the epidural. I never saw the needle and I immediately began feeling the pain relief. The hardest part was sitting hunched over during a contraction. I was surprised that I could still wiggle my toes and had some feeling in my legs. I thought the epidural completely paralyzed you from the waist and below. By 2 pm, the epidural was in full effect and Daddy and I took a nap since I got so little sleep the night before. We woke up about two hours later when the nurse came in to see how I was progressing. In two hours I was 100% effaced and had dialated to an 8. I was so excited I had made such good progress and didn’t feel a thing while I was sleeping. Within 45 min I was at a 10 and we began pushing.

The nurse said it takes awhile to learn how to push so we’re just going to practice. She would tell me when a contraction was coming and I would take a deep breath in and then hold my breath for 10 counts while pushing and repeat three times for each contraction. That pattern continued for about an hour, which I thought was all practice, but then all of the sudden the nurse said we can see the head and I was amazed. I thought that meant you were going to come out in the next couple of minutes, but it turns out, they can see your head for awhile and I still needed to push you a ways out. Throughout the pushing, they shifted me from one side and to the other to help rotate you inside of me. I also was very cold, and shaking like I had really low blood sugar while I was pushing. I asked to eat some crackers or something, but they wouldn’t let me so I kept drinking juice. The pushing part of labor was the biggest surprise to me, I couldn’t believe how relaxing and low key it was. We were laughing and joking with the nurses between contractions, showing them pictures of the nursery and making bets on your size and gender. There was no screaming, yelling, sweating or anything. I didn’t have any pain, but could just feel pressure or a contraction.

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Again, Daddy was great through this whole process. He was there holding my legs, helping move me around and was so encouraging. He always made me feel like I was making good progress and doing good. He kept saying “You’re doing great “P”, keep it up, push push push.” Eventually the doctor and nurse wanted to know why he kept calling me “P” so he shared the “peanut” story. Daddy was also watching how you progressed out of me, which I thought was very cool and was surprised by it. He usually doesn’t do very good with blood and bodily type things, but he thought it was very cool. Another interesting thing about you was you kept moving your head around in the birth canal. The nurse said she had never seen another baby do that.

Finally, you were just about to come out so Dr. G got on her scrubs and she had to make a small episiotomy since I wasn’t tearing naturally. One push later and you were laying on my tummy. Daddy announced you were a girl while he cut the umbilical cord. The first time it didn’t go all the way through so he had to give it a second chance. You were absolutely beautiful laying there on my chest. You had a beautiful color and your head was shaped perfectly. The nurses quickly took you away and began whipping you off and doing an initial test.

Lexi born details

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You scored a 9 on both of your APGAR tests. You had a beautiful cry. I remember just laying on the bed kind of in shock but watching you scream and flale your arms and legs as they cleaned you off. I couldn’t believe you were here and were a girl and was amazed at how perfect you were. As they were cleaning and sewing me up, they announced that you were 7 lbs. and 15 ounces and 21.5 inches long. Again, I couldn’t believe that you were so little. I was planning on you being over 9 lbs. In fact, the nurses and doctors and I were all making bets on how much you would weigh. My guess was 9 lbs. and 8 ounces. Out of the 8 people that were in the room when you were born, Daddy was the only one that thought you were a girl, everyone else guessed boy. Daddy was busy taking photos of you and got to hold your little fingers while they cleaned you. Soon enough you were back in my arms and I just stared at you in awe. One of my favorite moments was watching Daddy hold you for the first time. He had a huge smile on his face and couldn’t take his eyes off of you. He was so happy and in love with you, so much so that he teared up and couldn’t believe we had created something so perfect.

Little had I known, but they had shut my epidural off 20 min before you were born to help me feel the contractions. But I still had no pain. And within an hour, I had feeling in my legs again and was able to stand up and walk to the bathroom. I had some bleeding, but it wasn’t bad at all. I was surprised at how painful my south-side was after. I don’t know why I was surprised, but I guess I thought it only hurt during labor and not after, but it was very sore for several days following. Padded ice packs helped with the swelling and the feeling that my insides were going to fall out of me–especially as I got in and out of sitting positions and walking. I had to walk very slowly—almost waddle like I was still pregnant.

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Lexi Week 1

Dear Lexi,

The first week home was pretty interesting. There were so many changes and things to learn about like when and how to feed you, when to change your diaper, how to sleep, drinking enough water, going to the bathroom and so much more.

Feeding you was by far my most challenging task, specifically getting you to latch. It always took you awhile to latch on, and I never felt like I was doing it right and would get frustrated that it took several tries to get a good latch. Then, when my milk came in, I was pretty engorged, and you had an even harder time latching. And for whatever reason, you couldn’t latch onto my left boob. You would try, and then scream while you continued to try. It usually took a good 5-10 min before you would finally latch. At about the one week mark, you were able to consistently latch onto both sides without a bloody-murder-scream fest. Additionally, I was pumping a couple ounces from each side before a feeding so latching was easier. It was pretty confusing because, the more I pumped, the more I produced, so there was this never-ending cycle I didn’t know how to break. Thankfully, a couple of calls with the lactation consultant helped with my frustrations. She believed I had an oversupply and suggested I only feed you from one side. She also said, I just needed to be patient and many of these frustrations would disappear with time.

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I think one of the most frustrating things to me was, it felt like it should be a natural and easy thing to do. And the fact that it wasn’t, was frustrating. Daddy was a huge help to me during these times. I almost dreaded feedings because I would get so anxious that you were going to cry and it would take a long time for you to latch. Often, I would want to give up and just give you expressed milk with a syring, but Daddy was there to help and encourage me to not get frustrated. He would help get you into a good position and then have you suck on his finger to remind you how to suck the correct way.

In addition to the frustrations with feedings, I had no idea how much preparation was required. First was hydration. To ensure good milk production and continued recovery for me, it was important to drink lot and lots of water. The catch was drinking the water between nursings. And when it was close to nurse you again, I needed to go to the bathroom and empty my bladder. My uterus couldn’t contract down to its original size during feedings if my bladder was full. (I also didn’t realize you actually have small contractions while you nurse that help shrink your uterus back down).

Second was always changing your diaper before a feeding. You would often fall asleep while or just after you were nursed and would wake up if we changed your diaper. We also needed to feed you wearing only a diaper to help prevent you from falling asleep. As a result, we never put the swaddle on you in the day because we didn’t want to wake you once you were sleeping.

Third, Daddy and I developed a nice little sleeping schedule. I would sleep downstairs and feed you through the night while Daddy slept upstairs. Around 8 in the morning I would go upstairs and sleep while Daddy took care of you. The first night was difficult. I don’t think I slept more than 20 minutes. Every time you cried, I got very anxious because I felt like you were going to wake up Daddy and I didn’t have him to help keep me calm and patient. However, when it was my turn to sleep, i was able to sleep on my stomach for the first time in 4+ months and it was divine! Around night four, I was getting worn down and I asked Daddy to sleep downstairs with me. I missed sleeping next to him and just wanted him to hold me in his arms for a couple of hours. It was so soothing to have him by my side, and nice to hold him. I hadn’t been able to give him a real good hug in several months.

Love, Mom

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Alexis Kristine Sampson

Lexi Announcement

Dear Alexis,

Welcome to the world my sweet sweet girl! You could not be more beautiful and perfect. You are just over three weeks old today and have turned Mommy and Daddy’s world upside down with the amount of love we have for you. You have your Daddy wrapped around your fingers. He loves you more than anything in this world. He is constantly wanting to snuggle, hold you and give you kisses. He loves to change your diaper, put clothes on you for the day, tell you stories and sing to you. It is the most incredible thing to watch him be so loving and affectionate with you.

You have opened our hearts to places that have never been touched before. I am blown away at how much love we can have for someone we have known for such a short time. Every other relationship a person has in life takes months and sometimes even years to grow and develop a deep, profound love, but within a matter of seconds of holding you and hearing you cry, I loved you in a way I have never loved another. God has truly blessed us.

Love,

Mom

39 Weeks

Dear Bump,

You are proving to be quite the trickster. We had a nice relaxing weekend at home and we were sure you were going to arrive. I even had a couple of minor false labor signs. My  contractions have increased in intensity but aren’t painful or distract me enough to stop whatever activity I’m engaged in. There were several times throughout the weekend where contractions were 7-8 minutes apart for over an hour, but never got closer and would dissipate over the next hour.

The itching continues and has become pretty bothersome. Last night I couldn’t sleep at all! I maybe got three hours of sleep. I even considered putting mittens on to prevent me from itching. Daddy has been sleeping in a twin bed in our bedroom with earmuffs on since 36 weeks because the scratching is so loud. He says I sounds like a raccoon digging through the garbage. I also noticed a new little rash on my belly near one of my freckles .

Overall, I’m feeling a little frustrated and I know I shouldn’t because I haven’t even reached my due date yet, but so many people told me you were going to arrive early it got in my head and now that you’re not its disappointing. Additionally, I feel like I keep having these signs that labor is going to start and then it doesn’t and it is another let down.

Tomorrow, we have another appointment with Dr. G so we’ll get the results back on the blood work they did last week, see if I’ve progressed and if not maybe talk about an induction date. I really want you to be healthy, but also come soon and naturally so I don’t have to be induced. Please be good to your mom!

Love, Mom