Friday, December 31, 2010

My #1 Man

I am the 3rd of 4 girls.  The only boy in the house was my dad, until our dog Todd came along.  Growing up my dad was everything I ever wanted.  He was my knight in shining armor, he was my hero.  He spent many hours playing Pretty Pretty Princess, Barbies, and Polly Pockets with us.  He has endured many manicures, pedicures, and facials.  As embarassing as it may sound, we all know he secretly enjoyed it.  I didn't think I needed anything else, because I had my dad.  I remember the day I found out I couldn't marry him because he was already married to my mom (creepy? I was around 5, give me a break).  My whole life, he has been my #1 man. 

He has been there for me in so many ways.  He was at every dance concert, every softball game, every game I cheered at in high school.  He supported me with everything I did in Student Council.  He was a shoulder for me to cry on when boys were stupid, and he even threatened to beat them up for me if that's what I wanted.  He has been one of my best friends my whole life, and my #1 man.

I then graduated high school, and started dating this guy.

He enveloped everything I did.  I spent every day with him for 2 months quickly falling in love.  Everything I did, thought, and said revolved around him, and vice versa. 

We got engaged, and I knew that he would forever be my #1 man.  There was no one else that made me happier, and no one else I wanted to be with more.

He has been there for me through ups and downs, and has supported me through everything.  I didn't think I could feel more love for another human being than I do for this man, my #1 man.

When we found out we were pregnant, I was hoping for a girl.  But when the day of the ultra sound came and they said it was a boy I was secretly excited.  Terrified, but excited.  I only have sisters.  I don't know boys.  I don't know what you need to do to take care of them.  I do ribbons and bows, and I definitely don't know anything when it comes to know.

And then they handed him to me.

In that moment I knew my whole world had been changed.  I had finally met my #1 man.  

I knew that I loved this boy in a different way than I have ever loved before.  He has so quickly become my whole world. 

He is the most perfect baby anyone could ever ask for.  He is so mellow, I have only heard him cry about 4 or 5 times.  He never wakes up during the night, I have to force him to wake up every 3 hours to eat.  Occasionally he'll wake up earlier when he's hungry, but even then he doesn't cry.  He just fusses a bit and I know he's hungry.  

He loves to snuggle, and will just curl right up to you when he lays on your chest.  He has the best looking hair out of any 2 week old I've ever seen, and it does that all on its own.

He will smile at you if you ask nicely.  Or if you sing his favorite song "Hey Jude".  He is the most precious baby I could have asked for.  He makes me happier than I have ever been.  Now I am most certain I know who my #1 man is, and there is no doubt it is my little Jude Man.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hey Jude

After a crazy day on Sunday, our Jude Man is finally here! Be prepared for a very long post (sorry) with a lot of pictures.  I want to make sure I document everything before I forget the details, and after this week I just might forget it all.

I went to my 36 week doctor's appointment last Wednesday, December 15th.  I was dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, so I was right on.  My blood pressure was a little high, and Dr. B told me I could be having him the week of Christmas if it kept up this way. I just looked at her and said "You do realize Christmas week is next week right?" She just laughed and said we would have to see what it was at after I had some additional blood work done, and after my next doctor's appointment which was supposed to be on Tuesday the 21st.
Last Saturday my mom, sisters and I had a bake day.  We have bake day during Christmas time every year. I wasn't really feeling good all day and hardly contributed to the baking, I was mainly there to stir and chop as I sat in the same chair the whole time.  It was hard for me to move, and I felt like I had a bowling ball between my legs the whole day.  I was having a few Braxton Hicks, but I've been having those for a few weeks so I didn't think anything of it.  I just assumed I was doing too much and I was feeling the "I'm 8 months pregnant and just want this to be over" symptoms.

That night as Erik and I were watching Anchorman with some friends I felt like I had to pee every 10 minutes, as opposed to every 20 minutes.  I kept feeling something wet "down there", but it didn't seem like pee to me.  I was half asleep during all of this so once again I didn't think much of it.  I got into bed about 1:00 that night, and at about 3:30 I woke up having really bad Braxton Hicks again.  After about half an hour of having them as I was asleep, I realized that they were coming about every 5 minutes, and they were a lot stronger than the normal Braxton Hicks I usually have.  I started keeping track of when they were coming and how long, and after an hour of having them every 4.5-5 minutes for a minute to a minute and half, I decided maybe I should call my doctor.  I kept feeling a "drip drip drip" down there too, and the only thing I could think of was my water breaking.  Erik immediately jumped up and starting packing our hospital bag and trying to straighten up the house.  I had planned on packing our bag on Sunday afternoon and cleaning the house Monday, but obviously that was a few days too late.  After another hour and a half we were told to go down to the hospital, this might be it!

We walked in around 6:30 ish, they checked me out and said yes my water was leaking and I was dilated to a 2.  They decided to admit me around 7, and at this time I had been having contractions for a few hours and to be honest, it was horrible.  Around 8:30 I was in so much pain, they checked me again and I had dilated to a 4 so they decided to give me the epidural (finally!).  The epidural was the BEST thing that had ever happened to me in that moment.  It was not that painful at all.  The contractions were waaaay worse than the epidural by far. 

(Me right before the epidural. 5 1/2 hours is way too long for contractions)

I had planned on getting a pedicure before I was due, which was supposed to be in January.  That didn't happen and my feet were horrible.  So of course there was no way my mom would let my legs into those stirrups with my toes looking the way they did.  She is so good to me, she pampered me after I had my epidural and painted my toe nails:

and braided my hair:

Around 11 o'clock they checked me again and I was dilated to an 8.5, almost a 9.  I was going so fast, it seems like such a blur looking back.  At noon they checked again, and I was dilated to a 10, it was time! It had nothing at all to do with my blood pressure, Jude just decided it was time to come out and made sure that was going to happen. 

I started pushing around 12:20 and at about 12:30 the nurse had me stop because he was basically out and Dr. B wasn't there yet.  I started pushing again at 12:35, and at 12:40 he was out! They could not believe how fast it was, and I was pretty grateful that it didn't last that long. 

Jude Patrick Payne
6 pounds 9 ounces
20 inches long
12:40 pm

While I was pushing Erik was so good and stood by my side the whole time.  He loves stuff like this, and he thought the whole thing was so cool!

(him watching as Jude was born)

Erik and I with our favorite man Jude right after they handed him to me.

After our family left the room, the pediatrician came to have a look at him because he was born at 36.5 weeks and considered a preemie.  My OB Dr. B was still there, and as I held my precious baby in my arms, we were told that Jude was showing some mild signs of Down syndrome.  He has a crease in his hands, he has a thick tongue, he seemed floppy.  To me it didn't seem like enough to make one suspicious, but I'm also not a doctor.  A million thoughts and questions immediately filled my mind, and the next few hours and days seem to be a blur.  They had to draw blood for the test that will see whether or not he is.  He had an echo done and it came back perfect.  My baby has a perfect heart, which is always a good sign. 

The next day he was admitted to the NICU because he wasn't eating enough.  We had tried breast feeding the first day and night and he just wasn't getting enough to eat because he was too exhausted for his bottle after trying to breast feed. He is still there today and will probably be there through Christmas.  They said all of this is because he was born premature, and he would be there even if he wasn't showing signs of Down syndrome.

His feedings have been getting better, he is increasing his intake every day.  We started breastfeeding today and he has latched a few times which is better than what they were expecting. 

Yesterday as I was sitting in the hospital room in between his feedings, the doctor came in and I knew she had the results.  I held my breath as she looked down at her paper and said "Mrs. Payne, the test came back positive. Jude has Down syndrome".

I had been preparing myself all week for this answer.  After they said he might show signs of it, I saw it in him.  I looked at him and I knew I was seeing something special.  Everyone looks at their newborn child and will see some spectaculiar, but I look at Jude and see something so beyond that.  He is so perfect, so celestial.  So when she said that, it did not come as a shock at all.

Most people ask how I'm coping and how I'm taking it.  If I'm sad or angry.  The answer to all of those questions is I am overwhelmed, but handling. In no way am I mad, sad, angry or depressed.  Yes I have spent a lot of my time crying but only because he is still in the NICU and I just want to take him home with me.  I cried when they had to put a feeding tube in through his nose.  I cry because I feel so beyond blessed and honored to be chosen to raise one of the Lord's choicest spirits.  I am a natural weeper and I'm feeling pregnancy hormones which naturally brings on the tears.  I have felt the hand of the Lord so much this week.  I know that he brought Jude to me because he knows that is what I need.  He has touched my heart in the 4 days he has been here in a way I have never felt before.  

Erik has been such a great dad so far, and he has been such an amazing husband.  He has held me everytime I cried and has given me so much support.  Jude loves his daddy so much, and there have been times when I just can't get him to eat and when he hears Erik's voice is when he perks up and will finish eating. 

Tonight is the first night I haven't been able to sleep at the hospital.  It has been so weird leaving the hospital without him but I know that he is in good hands and that is where he needs to be right now.  I have had the most amazing nurses that have helped me so much in my stay at the hospital.  Heather, Marci, Cindy, and Melanie were all so good to me and were exactly what I needed.  I only had a problem with one of Jude's nurses.  I felt like a crazy demanding mom when I actually asked if I could have them change the nurse so we no longer had the one that was assigned to us, but I figured that since Erik had to ask her to stop texting so she could help Jude stop choking on his feeding tube it was pretty justified.  Other than that I have loved Margaret, Christine, Sonia, Stephanie and Brandi.  Especially Brandi.  She has sat by my side every time I have fed Jude.  She has helped me feed him when he just didn't want to take his bottle.  She has given me advice as a nurse, a mother, and as a friend.  She held me as I cried after she put the feeding tube in.  She reassured me when I said I didn't know how I was going to be able to take care of him when I took him home.
I will keep you updated on what happens with my Jude Man.  I know that he will touch so many lives in the years to come.  He has already changed me just by being here.  I am so happy to be his mommy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I know it's a bit late, but the Christmas cheer has finally hit the Payne home! Erik and I have been so busy lately, but I finally found time to get our Christmas decorations up.
(Thank you Hobby Lobby 50% off aisle!):

Poor Douglas has been feeling so neglected since we cut him down and brought him home with us.  He has been sitting in our stand completely naked for the past few weeks.  A few days ago I finally strung some lights on him to make him sparkle, and tonight I put some ornaments on him so he didn't feel so bare.  Erik of course putting the star on:

This year, Erik decided to pick out an ornament that is as big as my head to hang on the tree. He was more excited about hanging this ornament than the star.

The finished product.  Not much, but he's ours!

On Sunday it was my 21st birthday!  Erik and I had planned to go to dinner just the two of us on Friday night to celebrate, but he fabricated this whole story about how our friend's power went out and we needed to go help him get into the attic...or something like that.  I don't remember it exactly, but I just went along with it.  When we got there, all of my sisters were there along with all of our friends waiting in the dark with a cake and balloons to surprise me!  I'm so bummed I didn't get any pictures, but it was such a blast and Erik has never let me down on my birthday.  My baby shower was then on Saturday and I got so many great gifts! Everything I was so worried about not getting I got, and I feel so spoiled.  My mom and sisters put so much hard work into the shower, it turned out great! I was too busy eating most of the time to take pictures, but hopefully I will be able to snag some pics from my mom and sisters. 

For my birthday, Erik got me this amazing watch:

Yes my friends it is made out of wood, and no you can not have it.  I was so excited because I have been needing a new watch desperately, and I have never seen one like it.  I mean come on, wood? Only Erik would be able to find something so amazing. 
Along with all of the other awesome gifts I got, my parents got me a vacuum! You know when you are old and married when you are so excited about getting a vacuum for your birthday. The one that I had bit the dust and it has been driving me nuts. Thank you mom and dad!

Another one of my birthday presents from Erik, besides the watch and getting his hair cut, was my maternity photo shoot.  Erik came along with no complaints, and he was so good about it the whole time.  They were taken by the amazing Lang Photographers (see their site here).  Here are just a few of my favorites:

We have been married for almost 2 years now (what?? where has the time gone?!) and they have been the most amazing 2 years of my life.  I have never been more in love with him than I am now.  We always talk about how when we got engaged we thought we would never be more in love than we were then, and when we got married we would never be more in love than on that day.  2 years later he still proves me wrong.  Every day I find new reasons why I am so happy I married him, and I'm always reminded of the old reasons.  To be completely honest things have been a little hard for me lately.  I know it is just the stresses and anxieties of what is coming next, and it is also 100% the adversary trying to pull me down and make me feel like I am not going to make it, and I'm not capable of handling things.  Erik has, once again, been proving me wrong every day.  He has been my rock, and has picked up the things that I have been slacking on.  Sorry to get all mushy-gushy, but I just love this man and I don't care who knows it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We laughed for a really long time about this...

And I hope you find it as funny as we did.