It takes trust.

One of the things that I was NOT prepared for with having a baby is the amount of trust required to simply survive. I've been floored by my own mistrust of my body and my baby. Stemming from her jaundice lethargy, I don't trust her to tell me when she's hungry. She slept for five hours today and I worried over her for the last four. I don't trust my body to make enough milk for her - she was dehydrated, after all, and I had been consistently, faithfully feeding her.

It's been tough to trust myself after Hazel's birth, after getting stuck in labor and having an emergency cesarean. Deep down I feel that my body is perfectly capable of birthing a baby naturally, and someday I hope to be on that path. But for now I'm having to relearn trust - it's going to be a long process, I'm afraid! Although I'm praying for a quick miracle!

Hazel needs me to trust her to tell me when she's good and ready to eat, sleep, and be merry. I need to trust myself, that I am capable of meeting her needs. I need to trust God, that He's organizing and in control of Hazel's growth and my productivity.

Because she's a dear and I don't want to let her down!


Going Home

Such an apt title, I think. What better way to quickly and succinctly state a fact - Hazel had to go home at some point, right? Ha!

We checked into Portland Adventist on Thursday, November 20th, and checked out on Tuesday, November 25th. Before we left the hospital, though, we had to stop in at the room next door to ours, number 2416. My friend Linsea had checked in the day before to deliver her little girl, Lucy Sharon.

Lucy is a cutie, and it's just too fun that she and Hazel are only two days apart. I'm excited for Hazel to have a friend just her age!

You wouldn't believe the load of stuff we checked into the hospital with us...and you wouldn't believe that fact that it multiplied before we left the hospital! Nate had some foresight in packing his bag - he overpacked whereas I packed enough for two, maybe three days. I made fun of him and his numerous (5) black bags. He shrugged me off neatly, though, and I ate my words when we ended up staying for five days. When it was time to check out, Nate had to take down a load of bags with the help of a volunteer before I could be wheeled down to the car. Hazel and I hung out in the room for a bit by ourselves and chatted. I dressed her, undressed her to change her diaper, undressed myself to breastfeed, and then redressed both of us before Nate called up to say he had the car at the hospital's entrance.

The ride home was probably the most traumatized Hazel has been so far in her short life. There was just too much stimulation. She jerked hard with every bump in the road. Nate drove and I rode in back with her and tried to comfort her with my pinky. It worked...a little, anyway!

Getting her home was so good - it brought a little more reality to Hazel's permanence. She's fit herself right into our lives. Like I said before, she's just so familiar to me, like she's always been with us. It's lovely. She's lovely!

When we had her home finally, we bundled her up and settled in for the night. This picture cracks me up. She kept wiggling her head and the hat (which is too big) worked its way down over her eyes.

She slept well that first night; we've worked together on some kinks since that first night, and slowly but surely we're figuring things out. She's had some major jaundice so we've been working with Peggy, the pediatrician, and our lactation consultant to find ways so that she gets everything she needs, food-wise. She was getting dehydrated because she was lethargic, not at all interested in eating.

She's beating her jaundice now - today she looks fantastic compared to two days ago - and she's getting her weight back up. She was born at 7 lbs. 14 oz., but left the hospital at 7 lbs. 3 oz. At our lactation appointment last Wednesday, she was down to 6 lbs. 14 oz., but then on Friday she weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. at the pediatricians office. I just threw you a bunch of numbers. Sorry. The point is that she's doing really well right now. We have another lactation appointment this next Wednesday, so we'll figure out our next steps then.

I have appointments with the OBGYN who performed the cesarean and with Peggy this Thursday. I have some pictures of the incision from the cesarean birth that I'd love to post, but you'll have to trust me that the process of removing the staples was interesting and that the incision is a nice clean line. It's healing pretty well, I think; today I went without my belly brace for the most part. That's a step in the right direction!

From here on out, I feel that I'll most likely bombard you with pictures of Hazel. I hope that suits you! Come back for more when you get a chance! I'll work on keeping this up better. She does so many interesting things and I like her so much, it's hard to not share her - and you're my audience of choice!


11.22.2008, 19 & 3/4 inches, 7.14 lbs.

The process of birthing our girl was quite different than we expected it to be honestly! After our appointment with Peggy on Tuesday, we decided to go ahead and induce our girl's birth. Placentas can give out at the end of pregnancy, after the 40 week point, so we didn't want to run any risk of distressing our girl or bringing her serious harm. Peggy scheduled us to be induced at Portland Adventist on Thursday, November 20th, 10pm.

We showed up and checked in and were in bed and induced by 12:30am on Friday morning, November 21st (our girl's due date). Okay, so first of all we didn't want to induce labor. We wanted our girl to come when she was ready - I have a lot of faith in babies knowing when it's time for them to come out.

When we showed up at the hospital, we were not dilated at all, although there were other signs that labor would be imminent. We really felt like inducing would work and checked in believing that we'd meet our little one by the end of Friday. After the first 12-hour dose of our inducment (can't remember what it's called!), Peggy checked us and we were about 1.5 cm - not much progress!
Peggy put in the second 12-hour dose around 2pm on Friday. At 1:30am Saturday morning my water broke on its own (which I'm happy about, since it was one of the only natural things about our labor!). That began an 18-hour "countdown"...After 18 hours, the risk of infection to the baby would be much higher, as would be the risk of infection and fever to me. Peggy checked my dilation a couple more times and we weren't progressing like she wanted.

Our decision behind inducing our girl's birth held when it came to Peggy's next plan. We were in the 45th hour of labor when Peggy told us that not only were we not dilating like we should have been but our girl was backing away from the birth canal and my cervix was thickening from the baby pushing against it trying to get out. And I had a fever up over 100 degrees. All these issues combined for Nate and I to agree to a cesarean birth. It was a tough decision for us to make. I was already really emotional from a long labor, from grief as our experience with Nathaniel kept coming to mind...When Peggy told us that she'd give us another hour and then check our dilation before bringing in the surgeon, I lost it for a bit. A cesarean delivery would bring changes to my entire "plan" for our future children.

I was looking forward to having four children by the time I was thirty, which meant that when our little one is seven months old, we'd be pregnant again. Yeah, that's not happening any longer! If we were to want to keep delivering our children through Portland Adventist, we would have to keep have cesareans with every child. If we wanted to pursue VBACs, we could do so at another hospital but Peggy wouldn't be in charge of our labor and birth - she only has staff privileges at Portland Adventist - but she could be involved as our labor support. Anyway, so the decision to go through a cesarean was hard (and felt life/future changing). We prayed about it for awhile and I had my share of hard core crying, but we felt that it was the best choice for our girl. We would be active in protecting her by going through a cesarean.

So it was at 9:16pm on Saturday, November 22, 2008, that we delivered our little girl! The entire cesarean is a bit of a fog for me. I was shaking like crazy from the drugs and adrenaline; I couldn't focus very well and was pretty freaked out at the idea of a major surgery on such short notice. I hadn't read that far in the birthing book...

The sensations of cesarean are strange - I had enough anesthesia so that I was awake but couldn't feel a thing. Just before they started surgery, I felt like I couldn't breath, like I couldn't inflate my lungs - I had no control over them. That freaked me out well enough. Nate stayed very close to me, right in my face, talking to me and encouraging me through the cesarean.

He peeked over the curtain a couple times to figure out where we were at in the process. There were about three times that I thought she was already out, actually! In the end, though, Nate was able to watch our girl be drawn out of the incision. He watched her entrance, head-first. She was quite for the first bit, but then she let it all out! Nate got up quickly and met her over at the table where she was cleaned up and wrapped up. She quieted when he began to talk to her, and she made some eye contact.

When she was brought over to me, she was getting upset again, "chatting" loudly to the room at large. My left hand was preoccupied gripping both an oxygen mask and a barf bag. Peggy was climbing on my stomach to push out the placenta and clear things out (I guess! I should probably find out what she was doing...) and I was feeling pretty sick from her climbing, adrenaline, and the medication. Meanwhile, my right hand wasn't working right - it had gone to sleep because of the medicine. Anyway, the anesthesiologist had to help me let go of my security items so that I had room for our girl. I went into shock pretty quickly - she was so incredibly familiar to me that it was off-putting.

When we met, I began asking her what her name was. We had it narrowed down to two first name options, and I thought I'd have a clear clear idea once we began the labor process, but I really had no idea! She stayed on my chest when I was rolled out of the operating room and back to our suite. I kept asking her, "What's your name? Tell me your name. Please...I have no idea what it is!" Nate and I knew without a doubt that we didn't want to have family meet her without knowing what her name was - that would have been mean! In the end, Nate picked her name. He had preferred Heidi while I had fallen in love with Hazel, but as soon as I met her I was stumped...so Nate stepped up! And he decided on Hazel! I was as surprised by that as anyone, let me just say. For all those months of discussion, we knew that we both liked both of the names, but it was still surprising when Nate switched sides - we had noticed her dark eyes with lighter tones around the edges and Nate felt that naming her Hazel would fit her best. So our Baby Girl Banks is Hazel Elaine Banks. And now you know!

Nate decided to announce the baby's name to friends and family and he indulged my request of video taping the response. The picture at the top of this post, the one where we wrote her name in the sand (which we did last weekend...shh, don't tell Peggy we left town for a few hours), was what Nate used to announce Hazel's name.

I love her name! I'm excited about it. It's original - my girl name for so long was Emma, which was completely unpopular during my elementary, junior high, and high school days. I know there are folks out there who absolutely dislike the name Hazel, but that's okay - you just haven't met our girl yet! She's pretty special!


A few fun pictures...

This first is from the family baby shower - my cousin Jenni took many, many, many pictures and sent quite a few my way! Rae Ann took the exposed belly pictures yesterday, so those are quite recent. I like to refer to them as my "39 week pregnancy pictures." I'm one of those people who can't get enough of pregnancy pictures when someone I know is pregnant, so I'm posting these pictures for those of you out there who are a little bit like me. Enjoy!



We saw Peggy yesterday and we've got at least another week before this baby is even close to coming. We're still not dilated at this point, but if we are next week, she'll strip the membrane so that, if she's ready, our girl will come. I have mixed feelings about it - I want her to come, to finally have her at my fingertips, but at the same time I'm enjoying these last days of just Nate and I. I feel content still, not anxious, which I think is a blessing!

I'll update you on her status again by at least next Tuesday, after our next appointment with Peggy.

A Running List of Name Guesses *Some new guesses added*

[I'm going to keep moving this post up on the blog until Baby Girl Banks is born, so be sure to check just below it to make sure you've read new posts as well and aren't missing out on anything.]

* Meredith (Dad's guess, along with the next four names)
* Stacy Lynn Michelle Banks
* Dynette Mehem Banks
* Sticky Behind Banks
* Naked Baby Banks (so close, Dad, so close...)
* Delilah (cousin Jenni's guess)
* Heidi Elizabeth (Mom's guess)
* Lindsay Elizabeth (Ricky and Tiffany's guess)
* McKenzie (Rebekah's guess)
* Rae Ann ::snicker:: (Rae Ann's guess)
* Sydney Michelle
* Kendra Madeline
* Hailey Marie
* Riley Claire (the last four are due to Katie - whew!)
* Heidi Rae (Rae Ann's guess)
* middle name Elaine (Rae Ann again)
* Mary Ann
* Heidi Lynn
* Natalie Marie (the last three from Jennifer Powell...'cause I do, I like you best!)
* Natalie Michelle Banks (Aunt Susan B.'s guess)



I had the nicest pedicure last night! It was so relaxing...but it didn't start my labor at all. Which is fine! Apparently our girl is quite comfy where she's at.

At our appointment on Monday, Peggy checked to see if we had dilated at all - and we hadn't, so we know that it'll be a little while longer until something significant happens - you know, like birth. We were actually grateful for a little more time! Nate and I are enjoying these last days or weeks of it just being the two of us. We're trying to really utilize our time together.

So this weekend I'm hitting high gear and working toward cleaning up the loft and the bed nook so that I feel like the house is somewhat more organized and ready for our girl. Never fear - Peggy lifted my restrictions quite a bit so I'm not breaking any rules!

We have another appointment with Peggy on Monday. We'll check to see if I'm dilated again and we'll sit through another stress test. I'll let you know more after that appointment. Oh, and the season of birth has begun - there are about six friends of mine who are also pregnant right around the same time and two have already given birth, one is about to pop (love you, Lins!). It's crazy!