Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dad's First Post

Hey Guys,

I must say that I am not quite the novelist that my wife is which is why I chose to become an accountant, and I want to keep this post short to spend as much time as possible with our new baby boy. But I wanted to share the much anticipated great news with our friends and family.

Elijah (Eli) Michael Stephens was born today September 14th, 2011 at 5:09pm. He weigh 8 lbs 7.1 ounces and was 20 inches long. Ali is doing great, but recovering from over two and a half hours of pushing, she was awesome!!! I must say I can't think of any other time that I have been more proud of my wife than today. She was so strong, and pushed and pushed like the little engine that could. I can say without a doubt that today is the best day of my life. The joy and emotion experienced today was amazing. He came out with quite a bit of hair, and we are thinking light brown at the moment but it is still early for those hoping for red.

Again I want to keep this short, but thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this entire journey, and below are some of our favorite pics taken today.

Our official bracelets

Ali's contractions
All belly
Sneaking a peek
 My beautiful bride
 Ali working on her week 39 post
 He's finally here
 Chest to Chest is Best!!! Awesome!!!
 Bright light
 My future linebacker
 With a cap
 Without a cap, look at that hair
 With our awesome nurse Karen, ps she was 37 weeks along
 From Auntie Libby and Uncle David

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thirty Nine Weeks: 9.7 - 9.13 -- My LAST pregnancy post!

*Writing in blue was completed after Eli arrived.  I was actually writing this post during my labor -- thank God for epidurals -- but before I could complete it I had to start pushing and 2.5 hours later we were greeting our precious Eli enter the world.  Since then he has been the center of our universe and I haven't been motivated to blog much.  :)  I am soon going to post his birth story -- stay tuned!

Wow!  What a week!  I can't believe this is my last pregnancy post!  I really wanted to make it to 40 weeks but like the Rolling Stones song says, You can't always get what you want and if you try sometime you find you get what you need.

Weekly events?

I forgot to mention last week that my sister had the fabulous idea of having a "Sister Day" and getting a pedicure.  It was wonderful.  Today, the nurses have commented on how good my toes look.  :)  And, I asked on FB how to enjoy my last 9 days of pregnancy and many friends replied: pedicure and date nights with Mike.

Besides that, Mike and I enjoyed a Saturday at Loose Park in KC -- the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed a picnic and taking Sammie for a walk.  If you remember that was one of my before baby to-do's.

At Price Chopper in LS picking up stuff for our picnic -- using the prego mommy spot!  Gotta love business who take care of pregnant women!

Mike, Sammie and I at Loose Park -- 4 days before the arrival of Eli!

If you didn't get a chance to read my last post, Our BIG scare, you can scroll down for the info.  Quick synopsis  -- Mike and I spent Sunday morning in the hospital due me losing a lot of blood.  Well, on Monday Mike worked late preparing for a board meeting.  He got home around 10ish and began to watch the Oakland/Raiders game which woke me up around 11:30.  I went to the bathroom and again saw bright red blood so we rushed to the hospital for the second time -- which was quite frightening. 

When we arrived at the hospital they took good care of us and luckily my doctor was the on-call doctor.  She decided to keep me over night.  That morning she checked me and I was dilated to a 3 and 75% effaced.  Dr. Trout (my OB) told us that she felt it was best to perform an induction on due to the bleeding.  Since it was about later in the morning at that point she wanted to wait until the following morning.  I chose to go home and rest.  I was very excited and had to take a tylenol PM to sleep.  Mike and I woke up at 4:30 to make it to the hospital by 5:30.  Read more about his "birth day" in my next post, Eli's Birth Story.

Baby Milestones this Week:  He's probably able to flex his limbs now.  His brain is still rapidly developing -- he's getting smarter by the week!  His nails may extend past his fingertips.

Best Moment of the Week:  Learning we were going to have Eli on 9.14.11! 

Obsession this Week: Making sure my classroom is ready for my long-term sub for the next 12 weeks.

Symptoms this Week:  Nesting.

What I'm looking forward to most next week:  Holding my precious son, Elijah Michael Stephens, kissing him, feeding him, talking to him, looking at him, loving him.  It has been the BEST time of my life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our BIG Scare

September 11th, 2011

First, I want to warn any pregnant mommies who read my blog -- this may not be the post for you.  I've been told (and I agree) not to listen to any negative pregnancy/labor stories while pregnant.   So here is your chance to take my advice and click the X in the upper right hand corner of  your screen -- you can visit again next week for a more positive post -- or maybe even a birth story!  :)

The purpose of this blog has been to document our pregnancy -- unfortunately for us, we have had some hick ups along the way from placenta previa to Eli's hydronephrosis to worrying about the realistic possibility of being a CF carrier (I'm not) and now to this.  I've never meant to scare anyone.  I've just tried to be completely honest about what is going on and how we are coping with it.  Hopefully, if you have read our blog somewhat regularly you have felt the love and excitement we have for our son and enjoyed hearing all of the positive things we've experienced.  God has truly blessed us and we are so thankful for every second of Eli's growth in my womb.

So, why was today the scariest day of my life? 

I woke up at 5:50 am to the feeling of warm liquid coming from my vagina.  I felt the liquid and saw that it was clear.  I then woke up Mike saying, "Mike, I think my water just broke -- crap, I didn't want to have this child on September 11th!"  (Ever since I learned of his due date I knew I didn't want to have him on 9/11 -- a tragic day in our nation's history that is remembered by its date "9/11,"  unlike 12/7 which was the day that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor -- we call that day "Pearl Harbor" -- I just didn't want his birthday to be connected to such a terrible event and such a sad, sad day.) Well, Eli's birth date being on 9/11/11 would soon be the least of my worries because I quickly noticed that I was losing A LOT of bright red blood. 

Rewind 27 years one month and 18 days.  My mother was sleeping, felt the same warm liquid and woke up to a big puddle of blood.  Her and my father called her doctor who ordered them to get to the hospital immediately and told them they didn't have time to even drop my older sister off at the babysitters.  When they arrived at the hospital my mother was taken in for an emergency c-section because her placenta had begun to rupture.  Thankfully, I arrived a healthy, happy baby.

Now, I've heard the above story I don't know how may times on July 20th as my parents and grandparents reminisce about my birth.  And, most pregnant moms know (if they have done any reading) that the placenta is the baby's life-line in the womb.  Without it the baby wouldn't get any nutrients or oxygen and would die.  So, when I saw all of the blood this morning my first thoughts were that my placenta had begun to rupture and we better get to the hospital ASAP.  I called my mom right away and told her what was going on and that she and my dad might want to head to the hospital as well.  I then made my way to the bathroom and continued to bleed bright red blood and, at this point, both Mike and I were pretty much in panic mode.  He was throwing our bags into the car and I was yelling at him to get me some pants so we could leave.  When I stood up I felt a huge blood clot come out of me (size of a large egg -- looked like a slice of liver) which made me worry even more.  Honestly, this is probably pretty naive but I thought it could possibly be part of my placenta.  I was horrified and in tears thinking I could lose Eli.  I told Mike to call for an ambulance because I wanted to get to the hospital right away.  He called 911 but we decided that we could be faster than waiting for the ambulance.  So I threw on the shorts Mike that grabbed me and some underwear and a pad and we got into the car.  I didn't even have any shoes on. 

Our drive to the hospital at 6:15 in the morning was intense -- both of us were very worried and didn't talk much.  I prayed for Eli's safety and that I would feel him move -- which I didn't.  Mike drove very fast and went through red lights.  I called the hospital and explained what was going on so they knew what to anticipate.  When we arrived Mike dropped me off at the front, parked and ran to meet me at the elevator.  We made it to the maternity ward reception/waiting area and there was no one to let us in so Mike pounded on the doors until a nurse showed up.  We went to the triage room and they put me in a gown and started to ask me questions like birth date, spelling of last name -- all I can think is when are you going to check to see if my baby is okay???  Finally, I said are you going to check for a heart beat?  I think they could hear the concern in my voice so they put the monitors on my belly and, thank the Lord, we immediately heard Eli's heartbeat!  Relief.  Wonderful, saturating relief.

I was still pretty sure that we would have Eli before leaving the hospital because I thought my water had broken and I know that if your water breaks and you're not already in labor they will induce it.  Before there was any blood, there was quite a bit of clear liquid and I'm pretty sure I didn't pee myself -- plus, that just didn't make sense to me with all the blood that came after.  They continued monitor Eli's heartbeat and also checked my BP and pulse.  Pretty quickly we had new nurses starting a fresh shift.  We explained to them what had happened and they called the on call doctor to see what she wanted to do.  She ordered an ultrasound to check on his amniotic fluid level.  And, we were told to just hang tight until the sonogram tech arrived.  She arrived and the ultrasound showed that his amniotic fluid level was 12.7 which was normal.  This did not mean that my water had not broken because his head could have been acting as a plug on my cervix.

After 2.5 hours of being in the hospital we finally saw a doctor who checked my cervix (still only 2cm dilated and 50% effaced) and performed 2 different types of tests to see if my water had actually broken.  Both came back negative.  She wanted Mike and I to go on a 30 minute stroll around the hospital floor to see if we could get any fluid to leak out.  Afterwards they did another test and it too was negative.  At this point, since they were pretty sure that my water had not actually broken there was no need for me to stay at the hospital.  They were not completely sure what had caused me to bleed as much as I did -- probably could fill three huge pads within a matter of 30 minutes, plus the big clot.  They thought it might have been my cervix stretching causing its capillaries to break.  But, I think that at some point in my pregnancy this clot began to develop in my cervix and when it released it caused the bleeding.  Whatever it was -- it was very, VERY, scary and I wouldn't wish it on any pregnant mother. 

Before we left, they told us that we did the right thing by coming into the hospital -- which I knew.  They also said that if this happens again to come back in right away.  I really hope this does not happen again-- I can't imagine what that would have been like if it happened at school.  The doctor also wrote me a note saying that I could take the next few days off of work but I'm not sure I'll do that.  I feel okay now just very anxious.  I keep feeling like I will bleed again and I know the rest of my pregnancy I will be a little nervous.  I think I would rather have my 12 weeks with Eli rather than 1 week at home and 11 weeks with him.  But, we will see.

Well, there you have it -- the scariest day of my life.  I honestly thought we might have lost Eli.  I can't imagine the pain mothers and fathers go through that do lose their babies.  I feel very thankful to be at home with my husband, dog and Eli (in belly) writing this blog right now.  Thank you God for answering our prayers today!  You are Eli's creator and You love him more than even I can imagine -- thank you for loaning him to us for this life. 

Please continue to pray for us in what hopefully is the last 8 days of our pregnancy!  We can't wait to meet our little guy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thirty Eight Weeks 8.31 - 9.6

My first weekly post in a while.  I want everyone to know that I'm so dedicated to documenting this pregnancy that I'm writing this blog post while laying on my side because sitting up on the couch is no longer an option -- too dang uncomfortable.  (Really there isn't many positions left in which I feel comfortable in and laying on my side is definitely the best option).  Dedication isn't the only reason I am writing this post tonight; I'm worried that if I don't write one soon I might not get a chance to.  Will Eli wait until his due date or come earlier?  We shall see!  I just hope he doesn't get too comfy in there because I'm not sure how much past September 19th I can make it!

I had my weekly OB visit on Wednesday (8/31) and was excited to talk to her because I had been feeling crampy all day.  It was a quick visit and she explained that it was normal at this point in pregnancy to feel cramps and that it did not mean that labor was imminent.  She then preformed an internal exam to see if the cramps were "working" and said they were because I was dilated to a two.  :)  Also, my blood pressure has risen a little bit in the last couple Dr.'s appointments and I've officially gained 20 lbs -- 7.5 which are Eli!

The next day Mike and I met at the perinatalogist for our final visit.  The doctor informed us that due to the size of Eli's right kidney he was pretty confident that Eli would need surgery after birth to correct an obstruction in his ureter.  I was hoping and praying that Eli wouldn't need surgery but I was ready to hear that he would.  Since our 24 week check up sonogram (we went in hoping for the best and left incredibly let down) I've tried to be positve yet realistic.  This has helped considering each sonogram his condition has gotten worse and worse.  Eli's kidney is now 19mm and an average size is about 5mm.  Poor little guy!  After we found out that he would, most likely, need surgery I called my mom and was a little chocked up.  Of course, she was devasted as well but offered that positive advice that everyone tends to do, "Aren't we so lucky they can catch this early before anything were to go really wrong?" or "Well, thank God it isn't a life threatening condition."  And, I know there are mothers out there that wished their child only had plumbing issues and God bless them because I don't know what I'd do if Eli's condition were life threatening.  However, sometimes I just want someone to say, "I'm so sorry Alison it really sucks that your infant son is going to have to have surgery."  I know this may sound like wo is me but it does suck!  Everyone always says they don't care whether their baby is a boy or girl, they just want it to be healthy.  Well, mine's not (entirely) and God has been so good to us but knowing he'll probably have to be under the knife at such a young age is scary and I feel so bad for him.  Well, thanks for listening to me grumble (I hate not being positive but I'm being honest) and I hope I didn't offend anyone. 

On a more positive note, the weather has been fabulous in KC and we've been able to keep our windows open -- how glorious!  Sammie is enjoying actually being able to be outside for more than a minute or two.  Mike is thrilled about the weather as well -- he loves the fall and is so excited about football season which brings me to mention that him and I went to a couple of our youth group boys' football game on Friday.  I was only able to make it through half time because sitting has become so uncomfortable but it was a good time.  I'm excited to see Eli lay on Mike's chest while watching the Cheifs play this fall.  We bought him a couple of Cheifs onesies and decided it would be good to raise him routing for the Cheifs since they are a local team (even though Mike's allegiance is to the Redskins and mine is to the Bears). 

On Saturday I woke up feeling pretty cruddy.  Runny nose, sore throat, and an overall achiness.  At first I thought it could be allergies with the season change but by Monday I was really feeling sick.  What kind of cruel joke is this?  38 weeks pregnant and sick?!?!  I felt so bad knowing that this could very likely be our last weekend without Eli and I was not in the condition to get anything accomplished.  I really wasn't even in the mood to hang out.  I hated missing my family getting together on Monday but knowing that our next get together will include our son is exciting!  Mike took extra good care of me on Monday and, bless his heart, stayed in bed with me most of the day.  I was/am a little concerned that if Eli comes and I am sick I won't be able to cuddle and kiss him freely like I would be able to like I would if I was completely well.  So, say your prayers that he stays in my belly until I am well.  Even better, pray that I am well tomorrow and he comes the day after.  :)  Hey, a girl can dream.

One thing we were able to get accomplished this weekend was the final finishing touches (really just some clean up) on Eli's Nursery.  See pics below.  I'm so excited to introduce him to it -- there is so much love in this room -- I'm know he'll feel it when he gets here.

Up close pic of Eli's family wall.  It includes of us, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Eli's treasure wall -- has pics of all of his great-grandparents and other sentimental stuff.

Great-grandpa Bennett restored this.

Mike found this for $7 at Wild Child in LS -- what a score!

How adorable -- my BF Katrina gave this to us -- can't wait to fill it in!

Eli's Oma and Opa got this glider for us -- can't wait to rock Eli in it!

Sammie enjoys checking out Eli's room!  She is so excited to be a big sis!

Today was back to school and I feel a little bit better than I did yesterday.  My kids were excited to remove three rings from our Baby Stephens Count Down -  only 13 left after the long weekend.  :)  Also, I'm proud to announce that I took the plunge and cut 5-6 inches off my hair!  Can't believe I had the guts to do it -- I've been pretty attached to my long blonde hair the last 5 years or so and it feels good to have something a little different.  It is still really cute -- best of all, Mike agrees.  It surely will take a few minutes off of the time I spend blow drying my locks each day -- which was my motivation. 

Other thoughts this week:

I've been really missing my grandma (who died in November of last year) lately.  It is really hard for me to think Eli will never meet her.  She was such a huge part of my life and I know she would have given my son the incredible amount of love that she gave me through out my life if she were still here.  Everyone deserves to have the BEST grandma in the world and I was lucky to have just that.  I know Eli has 1 grandma and 2 oma's who already love him so much -- what a lucky little guy!  Speaking of oma -- we are so excited that Mike's parents (AKA Oma and Opa to Eli) will be coming to visit in October!  They are so excited and we couldn't be more thrilled!  Mike is taking the week off and it will be a blast to have them in town with Eli being the center of attention! 

Baby Milestones this Week:  He may have about an inch or so of hair already -- red or blonde? (or maybe even brown if he takes after his grandma's).  He's slowly shedding that white goo on his skin (called vernix caseosa) but we might see some of it at his birth.

Best Moment of the Week:  Getting to see our maternity pictures!  They are A-MAZING!  Check them out yourself at:

Also, speaking with our neice and nephew on the phone!  They are so cute and sweet.  And, they are excited to meet their little cousin Eli come Christmas!

Obsession this Week:  Mike says that my obsession this week was complaining about how uncomfortable I was.  Unfortunately for him, this is true.  I have done my fair share of complaining due to the increasing pain I've been in.  I have to admit I'm ready not to be pregnant. 

Symptoms this Week:  Menstral-like cramps and I hope this isn't TMI but I did lose my mucus plus Friday at school.  Kinda gross but I think this is a good sign that my body is preparing for labor -- hopefully and healthy vaginal one!  And, fingers crossed, a quick one too!

What I'm looking forward to most next week: Um, can I say Eli???  I hope this doesn't jinx me but if he decided to come a week or so early I won't complain!  Otherwise, I look forward to the weekend -- relaxing and snuggling with Mike and Sam.  To tell the truth, I'm taking it not by weeks anymore but by days -- one day at a time. 

P.S. -- We've had 2,320 views on our blog (almost every state and 5 different countries) but not many comments.  If you're a regular read, I'd love to hear your thoughts and any encouragement as my pregnancy draws near to the end if you feel so led!

38 Week Belly Pics:

Can I say HUGE?!?!