Posts Tagged ‘paisley joon’

Paisley’s 2-Month Appointment

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I’ve been dreading this day for a little while. Sure, Paisley turning eight-weeks old is heartbreaking, I mean, the time seriously flies by! But today was her eight-week appointment and that meant shots. Every friend of mine with a baby told me how awful it was going to be, and I believed them.

Not because their mommy scare tactics were working on me, but because I’ve heard and seen the way they describe those appointments. I’ve read their tear-filled Tweets and Facebook postings. I knew it would be terrible.

I made sure Shelton could go with me. I got Paisley dressed in a beautiful little yellow sundress with flowers on it (one of her 4000 hand-me-downs from older cousin Ellie… poor kid). Then we headed off to see Dr. H.

I had a nervous pit in my stomach all morning. I’m a huge needle phobe, something I made abundantly clear during the 60+ days of infertility shots last summer. Emersion therapy? Yeah right. My fear is just as real as it was a year ago. So the thought of someone jabbing one of those torture sticks into my teeny-tiny daughter’s body made me ill.

I wanted to hold her but the nurses assured me it would be easier if she were laying on the table. I laid out her purple butterfly blanket, placed her on it, then took a step back. They asked Shelton to hold down her arms. And I was done. I watched them stick her little legs simultaneously, and then heard her scream in a way I’d never heard before.

I told my mom it’s a sound you wouldn’t ever hear in nature.

Oh it was terrible! I immediately welled up with tears and nearly knocked a nurse out of the way so I scoop up my baby the second she placed the last neon bandaid. I just held her so tight and cried with her and told her how sorry I was.

Once home, she was quite fussy, but passed out immediately. She woke an hour later with a temperate of 99.5 and maintained this through bedtime. She was so whiny, not characteristic of her at all. It was as if she were just moaning saying “mama please hold me.” All she wanted was to be held and loved on and she would just wimper into my neck. The infant Tylenol made for an afternoon of two very long naps, which she needed.

Tonight she was inconsolable, until I gave her a bath. She loves to be in the warm water and as soon as she heard the water running she calmed down. I like to think this is one of those things she carried over to this side from the womb. I took hot baths almost nightly and everytime I’d submerge my moose-like self into the water she’d start kicking. I knew then that she’d be a water baby.

While at the doctor we learned that she’s grown to 9 pounds, 13 ounces (31%) and 21.75″ long (35%). She’s still my tinybits!

She also rolled over from her tummy to her back today! While on the table at the doctor’s office she just flipped over! A fantastic milestone that was totally overshadowed by her first sick day.


Friday, June 18th, 2010

Tonight was so perfect I wanted to capture it in a bottle. Instead, I rushed right in here to write it down before I forget.

Paisley isn’t feeling too well, she’s battling her first case of constipation. So it’s midnight, and she’s fussy. Usually she would have been in bed already for about three or four hours. At least it’s Friday night; we only have to be up early enough tomorrow not to miss out on the asparagus at the farmer’s market.

In an effort to help calm her down, and in dire need of a little bath myself, I got in to our shower and asked Shelton to bring her to me. The second the water hit her back she stopped fussing, and she didn’t make a single sound the entire 15 minutes she was in there with me. She never moved, never fussed, never even wiggled. Skin to skin, we stood there swaying with her pressed against my chest, her head laying sidewise with her tiny fist in her mouth, eyes wide open, and let the warm water rush over us.

It was perfect. I can’t even describe how perfect it was.

It just keeps getting better every single day.

Apparently They DO Grow So Fast!

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

I hate that I haven’t written down more. I don’t have the time to write every day and that’s the pace at which I’d have to write to keep up with her. We hit the six-week mark this past Tuesday and I’m dumbfounded by that. How is that possible? She has grown and changed so much in that time already, it almost makes my heart ache to know how much she’ll change in the coming year, and yet I’m anxious for all of it. We attended my cousin’s first birthday party this weekend and I teared up a bit during the happy birthday song thinking that a year from now my baby won’t be such a baby – she’ll be that two-foot tall giant in the chair eating cake. Tear!

The other day I placed Paisley in her car seat and realized she fills it out quite a bit; she’s not the tiny ball that just sort of slumps down in the bottom and we finagle the straps to hold her in place. That was the first realization that she really had outgrown the “brand new baby” size. Break my heart! I weighed her at Shelton’s parents’ house last weekend and she was nine pounds. NINE POUNDS! That’s two whole pounds heavier than when she was born. Again, break my heart!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so anxious to watch her grow and change and develop, to see her learn new things and put them into practice. But there’s not a mama out there who can argue that this handful-size of baby isn’t the most perfect time in their lives. When I get her ready for bed, I hold her asleep in my arms just a little longer, because she won’t be this perfect cuddle size forever.

In the past couple of weeks she’s been a very busy little girl. We took her to meet the entire OKC crew – which includes the Koskie family and so many of our friends. It was four very busy days and she kept up with us very well. It was fun showing her off to some of the most important people in our lives. She was a perfect little traveler, not a peep during the three hour trip down or back home. And I managed to not pack every single of one her belongings, just a bag of clothes and a bag of supplies! I stopped breastfeeding on this trip. Before the “Breastfeeding Propoganda” crew decides to hang me in a tree by my toenails and tell me that my baby won’t learn to walk until she’s seven, know that this was the best decision for us and I’ll explain more about my breastfeeding experience in another post.

She started smiling. Oh dear god did she start smiling! It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. First for her daddy, then for her grandfathers, and then finally for me! I didn’t have to resort to a Friends-inspired Baby Got Back rendition, but I did have to make that vibrating-blow noise with my tongue for a substantial amount of time. Now it’s fairly regular and is accompanied by “talking” – her little coos. The best sound in the world.

We moved her from our room to her room this past week. She’s been sleeping so well through the night, about 6-8 hours at a stretch, that we thought it was time. That’s where she naps during the day, in her crib, and so it wasn’t an unfamiliar place. The first night was terribly stormy, but she slept seven uninterrupted hours; I did not so much, but the three of us have been fine ever since.

Last night she had another first – rubbing her eyes. That poor baby was so tired after we drug her through the most ridiculously scheduled day. Again, such a little trooper for keeping up with us in spite of her lacking nap schedule. We got home and as I put her jammies on her teensy little fist just rubbed her eyes; she did it again tonight in her bath.

I’m just in love. In a classically cliche way, I’m in love in a way I never knew possible. I knew I wanted to be a mom, and I knew it would be pretty amazing. I can’t push the bar high enough to describe how much better this is than any expectation, dream or assumption I had. It’s indescribable. This is without a doubt the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and Shelton. She is perfect in every way and a sweet, wiggling, beautiful reminder of how truly blessed and abundant our life is.

Belly Button!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Big day here, miss Paisley now has a belly button! We’ve been waiting anxiously for that cord to fall off. In fact, two weeks ago I asked the doctor if it were going to fall off in time for the photoshoot we had scheduled the following Sunday and he plainly said “no.” And he was right. It was there for the photoshoot. So I put one of her headbands with a big flower around her mid-section. Not for all of them. We’re not that vain!

I was on the deck and Shelton yelled from the nursery “Brandi! You’ll want to see this!”. Thinking something was wrong or he’d discovered a diaper creation we’ve yet seen, I ran into to find that our daughter has a cute little innie. It was kind of slimy in the middle, but that seemed to only take an hour or so to dry.

I don’t know how long most kids’ cords take to fall off, but dang, that seemed to take forever!

Getting to Know Paisley

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Last night Shelton leaned down to place Paisley in her swing and before he could move away from her, she ripped a fart that a truck driver would be proud of. And I died from laughing. Shelton had to giggle too, a little shocked but still managed to find it mildly adorable.

Welcome to our new lives.

Today, Paisley is 23 days old. I can tell you with absolute certainty that these have been the best, and fastest, 23 days of my life. There’s been so much going on, so much change and lots of chasing lost sleep that I have neglected to write. I’m disappointed in that for myself, I feel like I’ve already missed the chance to capture so much, and for not sharing more here. That is being alleviated slowly, and of course I’ll get back on the bandwagon soon.

She is spectacular in every way and I genuinely mean that this whole “being a mom thing” has exceeded every expectation I have. I am in love with her, with this role, with our new family, all of it. There’s been a lot of adjusting, and yet it feels as though she’s been here all along. Funny how that works.

So I’m going to do a sort of FAQ thing here to answer some of those burning questions that always seem to come up when talking to people.

(This post, like the birth story post, is epically long. I’ll get caught up one of these days and go back to blog posts that aren’t equal in length to a Harry Potter book.)


Ahhhh that question follows us everywhere we go. The answer? Who knows. She’s either a really good blend of both of us or she doesn’t favor either of us. However, most friends and family have an opinion on the subject and will adamantly assert that she “looks just like Brandi” or “looks exactly like Shelton.” Neither of us see it.

What we do see is that she undeniably has my nose. It looks like a little button. Plus she’s small, so this is how she adopted the nickname “button”, one of many I’ve bestowed upon her.

She has freaking gorgeous blue eyes. The shape of her eyes is delicious, and the blue is stunning. I know it’s stunning because those are my blues! Not necessarily my shape, but my color.

Some people would say she has porcelain skin – Shelton and I say she is pigmentless. This she inherited from her father.

I love her hair. I have no idea where it’s going to go, but what she has now I think is beautiful. It’s very dark and appears straight until it gets wet/dries and then it shows signs of becoming curly like mine; when it dries it’s also fluffy like a baby goose. In the right light, it also lights up with Shelton’s red tones. So hair type and color are TBD.

I think she has big hands and feet, and if that’s true I have no idea where she got those.

At three weeks she is finally back up to her birth weight of 7lb/7oz. She spent two weeks down at 6/14, which was fine by me because she remained teeny tiny a little longer.

PS we think she is SO pretty!


Yes, she eats. Sometimes she’s like a hungry hippo and other times she’s like a hen-peck bird. I am breastfeeding. This was not a decision I came upon lightly. To be perfectly honest I never once had any desire to breastfeed; I thought it sounded horrendous. I know all the benefits and get rather annoyed with the whole “breastfeeding propaganda” group (as I like to call them), especially because I can count more formula-fed kids than I can breast-fed kids and none of them have lost limbs, they’re all capable of speaking the English language and they didn’t develop a rare form of leprosy.

HOWEVER… knowing the benefits, given that she’s staying home with me, and the fact that my husband over the years has turned me from a money-burning spender into a cheap-ass money hoarder… I knew I had to give it a fair shot. I was a Girl Scout after all, try everything at least once.

I was so dead set on not breastfeeding that I didn’t spend a single second learning, researching or asking questions about the process prior to delivering her. I figured if it failed as miserably as I knew it would, then I’d have a solid excuse.

So the night Paisley was born, the nurses told me I had to do her first feeding within two hours. I looked at the clock and knew I had to feed her by 9:05 pm, and began procrastinating and the “we’ll get to it” excuses. Visit with the family. Give her a bath. Let me eat. Oh, she needs a shot now, great. Et Cetera. At 9:00 the nurse was like, you should probably feed her. The moment I’d been DREADING had arrived. I had to feed this baby with my boobs.

I was actually quite comfortable with this particular nurse so I allowed her to help me get started. She introduced the football hold (for the baby, not my breast), showed me how to “sandwich” my nipple (the explanation about a giant hamburger vs. a small one was hilarious) and place it in her mouth and help her latch. And bingo, she was on and she was eating (the baby, not the nurse).

I tell you no lies when I say it’s been that simple ever since. I’ve not had a lick of trouble – none of the usual suspects of cracking, bleeding, etc. Paisley took to it like she’s been doing it all her life (I guess she has been!) and remains a skilled pro.

I’ve done every feeding, every two to four hours, since she was born. During the past week or so we’ve realized this isn’t always entirely convenient. Granted, nothing could be more convenient than carrying around two gallon jugs of milk on your chest with ready-to-serve nipples, but I’m not one of those flop-’em-out kinda girls. You will not find me nursing my baby in the booth at Chili’s. Just saying.

On Mother’s Day Shelton took me out for dinner; Bonefish, a place we really enjoy and the only place in Wichita you can get fresh fish that doesn’t involve the word “fest” in some sort of marketing promotion. I fed her before we left the house and planned to have MY FIRST GLASS OF WINE (oh it was heaven, let me tell you), so I’d pumped enough to take care of her when we got home. Knowing that she might, MIGHT decide she was hungry in between, I packed a freshly pumped bottle to take with us. Thus making me a smart mama! Toward the end of our meal she got hungry, and Shelton fed her for the first time, her first bottle. She took it very well, and proved that we don’t have to be under house arrest.

I finally started pumping, and that’s been a big relief. Now we can go anywhere and not worry about where, how or if I’ll be able to feed her. But, I don’t seem to be able to pump quite enough, so I asked the doctor if we could occasionally use formula and he was all for it.

Now, you want ironic twists? Me, who wanted nothing to do with the feeding a la breast went out to purchase a can of baby formula and when the time came to make a bottle with it, I felt completely guilty and couldn’t bring myself to do it. I avoided making that bottle for two days! Not because I felt like her limbs would never grow and she’d never learn to speak if I gave her formula, but we’ve been doing such a great job with the breastfeeding I didn’t want to let either of us down.

Putting my rational hat back on, I knew it would be fine. And it was. She seemed to take it just fine. Formula bottles aren’t the norm, still hooking her up to the mommy pumps and pumping bottles and the formula is our plan C back-up.


Yes, she sleeps. I’d give her a B+/A- on this habit of hers. Lots of one to three hour naps during the day, which is great because I can get some things done. Those one-hour naps are killer, I don’t get as many things done. And while it would be really cool if I could set her down and go about my business, that’s not a possibility. According to my mother I gave birth to myself… if she’s not being held, she ain’t happy.

At night, we get anywhere from three to five hours of sleep out of her. The three-hour nights are great, the five-hour nights we want to make out with her and buy her ponies. One for each hour of sleep.

We know we’re fortunate in this area, and we keep our fingers crossed that the infamous “other shoe” doesn’t drop. It could. It might. But we’re taking sleep, like everything else, one day at a time. Some days are victories, other days we’re zombies. She doesn’t seem to care either way.

She is currently sleeping in our room. She’s still my tiny bits (one of my many nicknames for her) and I’m not ready to send her to the other side of the house quite yet. The first week or so, she would only give us decent sleep if she were lying on my chest. So that’s how we slept, chest to chest. Oh I savored it. She was warm and soft and delightful. However, I knew this wasn’t a long-term solution and that we couldn’t keep it up for long. Plus, my back was boycotting this habit. On the nights we put her in her pack-n-play crib, she screams. Wails. Wants nothing to do with it. So now she spends most of her sleeping hours in her big, round, popason swing. She loves it. She sleeps. We sleep. Yay for the swing!

During the day her naps take place wherever I can peel her off my body without waking her. The crease in the center of the couch cushions. The middle of our bed. In the Boppy. But more and more I’m trying to make those daytime naps take place in her actual crib. She does well in there, and I’m hoping that will make the transition easier. When we decide to do it. When she’s seven.

Can I tell you that watching her sleep will probably start showing up on my resume for favorite activities. It’s the best!!! She wiggles and squirms and chirps and groans and her little tiny feet just kick and flail about because they have no idea what to do with themselves. Even better than that? Picking her up from sleeping. I could eat her. With a spoon. She is warm and just nuzzles into my neck and coos and, well, I could eat her. But I hear that’s frowned upon.

We’re loving every minute in our new roles – defined as daddy man and mommy lady. She’s made every moment of the past six years well worth every ounce of the wait.

Our Birth Story

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 could be summed up in one word – epic. However, we all know I’m incapable of summing things up that easily, so I’ve prepared the longest post in the history of the world. I was going to break it up into a few segments, but decided to share our birth story in one fell swoop. I’m doing this because you’ve all been on this ride with us for years, but I’m also doing this because I want to capture that day so that I can always remember the details of the day I became a mom. The day my Paisley Joon Koskie was born.

We missed our April 26 due date, and given that our little fetus pretty much had a time-stamped conception, our doctor (Dr. W) agreed that the little monster was ready to come out. At our April 26/Week 40 appointment, we were told to arrive at the hospital, St. Joe in Wichita, at 7 a.m. the next day. I was hoping that he’d schedule us the next day, I was so ready. The next day was also Shelton’s 30th birthday, and we both so wanted them to be able to share that day. And it turns out that they would. If there had been a due date pool going, I’d have won the jackpot because I knew in my gut from the get-go that she was going to hold out for the 27th.

I wrote here about the morning of April 27. I actually managed about six hours of sleep and beat the alarm clock that morning. Bundle of nerves doesn’t quite sum up how I felt. As I sat on the sofa in the pre-dawn glow from the windows I just kept repeating to myself that today was the day I’d become a mother, today I’d get a baby, today we’d become a party of three. Shelton finally woke and we set about getting ready. The car had been packed for weeks, so all that was left were final details like laptop chargers, cell phones and our pillows (which ended up never leaving the car). I’d showered (and shaved) the night before because I had no idea when I’d get to enjoy those luxuries again. Shelton’s mom greeted us on our way out the door. As soon as the car rolled out of the driveway the tears began. The happiest of tears mind you, but they were also full of anxiety for what the day would hold. For half the ride we listened to NPR and then finally turned on some Dave Matthews Band. As we took the Harry St. exit off of 135, the tears began again. When we parked, Shelton held my hand, looked me in my tear-soaked eyes, told me how much he loved me, reminded me of how far we’d come, and that sometime that evening we’d be holding our daughter.

We gathered our luggage that resembled a couple on vacation – a pink OU diaper bag, a toiletry bag, a large suitcase on wheels, and Shelton’s backpack. I’d managed to compose myself but as soon as we broke the threshold of the hospital the warm tears started to flow down my cheeks once again. I stood at the admissions desk crying; I have to think I’m not the first. Shelton proceeded to get into an English argument with the admissions clerk regarding the proper definition of the procedure we were being admitted for – inducement or induction.

Shelton was arguing for “inducement” (definition: the act of inducing) while she was adamant that the other clerk write “induction” (definition: the act of inducing) on the form. Both were technically correct, I didn’t care if they wrote “gettin’ baby out”, I just wanted to keep things moving. It was rather amusing though, given the weight of the day, that Shelton took the time to flex his language muscle.

With a stack of paper work and patient bracelets we were sent on our way to the fourth floor – maternity. We walked through the large doors that boldly said “Labor and Delivery.” My stomach lunged into my throat. Were we really there? Had we finally come that far? It seemed so remarkably unbelievable. A nurse escorted us to room 423, where we would spend the next 15 hours and welcome our daughter into the world.

I was given a gown to change into while the nurse started turning on computers and getting the bed ready for me. Shelton set-up shop with all of our luggage, and then hung his signs on the door of the room. He was so proud of these and worked so hard on them; there were more but they didn’t all fit so he chose the most important.

I returned from the bathroom, hoisted myself up on to the bed and we got started. I have to point out that I find it incredibly frustrating that this hospital doesn’t have an EHR (electronic health records) system in place. It is seriously 2010, I have visited that maternity floor for treatment no less than three times, and each time I’ve had to complete the exact same paper, hand-written medical history (sometimes twice for the same visit). So that is what we did. Our nurses for the day, who I cannot say enough good things about, Stephanie and Amanda, began to record my medical history. I have to add that the section of questions related to domestic violence was handled very well. I was asked to silently read three questions to myself and say yes/no answers aloud; a few minutes later Shelton, always captain inappropriate, bursts out with “Oh I know what those questions were about!”. It was awkwardly funny. Then we did vitals, installed the IV, attached the monitors, and got that party started.

Everything seemed to be moving at a fair click. Shelton and I were both in great moods, joking with one another and the nurses and kind of reveling in the magic that the day held. I kept feeling a little guilty for Shelton that this was how he was celebrating his 30th birthday, but then again, can you think of a better way? His mom and I had planned to take him for sushi that afternoon, but he ended up sharing Wendy’s with his mom in the parking lot. Fair trade for a cute new baby I guess!

As we closed in on 8:30 a.m. the residents made their way into the room for my first of several exams of the day. We established that I was still hanging out at the 2.5cm mark that I had been for WEEKS! With a phone call to Dr. W we were given the OK to start the petocin and thus start the inducement… induction!

This is when I posted my first tweet on Twitter, 8:36 a.m. “Started the petocin”. I chronicled the entire day on my personal Twitter account so that close family and friends could keep up with the events. By the end of the day we were blown away to hear from so many people commenting that they were basically glued to their feeds as I live tweeted the birth. I thought it was great when my grandmother, who was unable to hang out at the hospital, was able to follow every detail of the day.

Next the anesthesiologist’s nurse met with us to do another medical history and walk us through the epidural. At that point I was still undecided, with my plan being to ride it out as long as I possibly could and make a decision when we hit that point of no return. Deep down I didn’t want to take it; I wanted to experience this birth for all its good, bad or worse, given that it’s entirely likely this is the only time we are doing this. But I’m also not so naive and caught up in my emotions that turning down pain relief was out of the question. She was very respectful of this choice, and we appreciated the depth at which she walked us through the pros, cons, procedure, effects and more. Jodi was positively one of our favorite people that day.

I seemed to react fairly quickly to the petocin, as the rather mild contractions I’d been feeling for weeks were suddenly surging through my body and labeled anything but mild. They were about 7 minutes apart, and hurt like hell but then quickly passed and I was back to chit-chatting with Shelton, playing Scrabble with friends on my iPhone and following my Twitter feed. You know, perfectly normal things to do while laboring.

Around 9:15 a.m., our nurses came back in to check on the status of things. I saw her push some buttons on my IV/petocin machine and then with a very concerned look on her face make a call. It was literally seconds later than an army of residents and nurses filled our room. I glanced back at the monitor and saw that the baby’s heart had dropped to the 50s (when 130-150 was her norm), and I freaked out. Shelton was even more out of the loop than I was. He stood by my head while I was given an oxygen mask and told to breathe. I could barely do that, I couldn’t speak, and hot tears streamed down my face. What was happening to my baby? The sound in the room, while loud with all the talking going on by our medical team, was so muddy and I couldn’t really hear what anyone was saying. The on-staff OB was in my face with a huge smile trying to calm me and explain what was happening; all I could make out was that they were placing a fetal monitor. Suddenly I felt a rush of warmth between my legs and told that they’d just broken my water; this made me cry even harder. And then, it was done. Everyone stepped back and her heart rate was back up.

We continued to have these heart decelerations throughout the day, and each one made us more uneasy than the previous. That first one it was thought that the baby was reacting to the petocin, so they shut it down for an hour. Then it was decided that she was compressing her cord, because each time she’d drop they’d roll me to one side or the other and her heart would spring right back. I really never panicked, most certainly concerned, but our medical team never panicked so I figured it was safe to follow their lead. Shelton did send screenshots of our heart monitor to his labor & delivery nurse aunt in Portland and she confirmed that we had no reason to panic.

By mid-morning our family was starting to fill the room. It was a double-edged sword having them there – we were so grateful to have so much family in town who were able to be a part in this; on the other hand, I felt like I was on display all day with a half-circle of chairs perched at the end of my bed. For the most part, I was able to tune-out every conversation and every word that was being spoken. I went in to myself, and concentrated on what I needed to do to get through that day. Shelton’s voice was the only one I could hear, the only one I wanted to hear. With each contraction he’d resume his position at the end of the bed, giving me something to push my feet in to with his hands. He rubbed my feet and my back and brushed my hair with his hands and repeatedly told me what a great job I was doing.

Once things had settled a bit our nurse returned and asked me to fill out their birth plan. This is not something we had done ahead of time because our birth plan was quite simple, in fact, it was hanging on the front door of our room. One of the signs Shelton made said:

Birth Plan:

1) Keep mom healthy, happy and alive
2) Get baby out healthy and alive, happy is a bonus

I was handed the same worksheet I’d seen three times before and felt just as overwhelmed and confused by the amount of questions. We’d spoken with our doctor and determined that our plan was to let them do their job and whatever was necessary to deliver our baby healthy and safely. I threw the sheet at Shelton and said “give this back to her or you fill it out”, because I just couldn’t deal with it. I tweeted: “I don’t want to fill out your stupid birth plan. Get baby out alive, that my plan. I dt care if u make eye contact or if I hv piture water.”

The contractions had steadily increased in intensity. I wasn’t yet ready to take the epidural, in fact, I was growing more convinced that I wouldn’t. They were painful, but nothing I couldn’t think and breathe my way through. And that’s exactly what I did. When I was offered the painkiller Nubain though, I quickly accepted. Nothing wrong with taking the edge off a bit, especially if it were available.

I so wanted to celebrate Shelton’s birthday, even if in a small way. So someone brought a package of SpongeBob SquarePants party hats (the only ones they could find) and we all wore won while the nurses took a picture.

Around lunch time, the baby’s heart had continued to drop several times, never less than 70, but always concerning. The nurse advised that if it continued, we could very well find ourselves in a c-section, and for that I’d need to have an epidural or I’d be put under and Shelton wouldn’t be allowed to be there. It was an incredibly tough decision, but one I felt was necessary because there was no way in hell either of us were going to miss the birth of our daughter, and I wasn’t going to put us in a situation that would jeopardize her health. So I told the nurse I’d take the epidural. My God how I cried. I bawled. I felt like I’d let myself down.

The anesthesiologist was captain cool to the max – super fake baked, super white teeth and all of his supplies wheeled in in a red Craftsman toolbox. I’ll also add, super nice guy. Damn I cried. The entire procedure took 30 or 40 minutes and was without a doubt the most painful, brutal and maybe a touch traumatizing part of the entire day. That’s when I went in to my dark place. I was absolutely scared to death. There were so many instructions and voices that the entire room sounded like I was underwater – the sound was muddied and muffled. I laid there crying with the oxygen mask on while Shelton held my hand. I think he could see me fading and literally screamed “Brandi! Look at my eyes!”. A couple of those and I locked on his eyes and he says I didn’t blink once for ten minutes. I just stared at him, crying and hoping that it would end soon. When they finally inserted into the lower part of my spine, I was warned I’d likely feel some sort of shock down one of my legs. And did I ever, I felt like my left leg had been electrocuted and I jumped! I immediately started crying more apologized profusely because I felt like I’d messed up the entire thing. Shelton reassured me that everything was fine and perfect, but confessed later he was lying through his teeth! But all was well, and within a few minutes the lower half of my body felt like dead weight. I couldn’t move my legs at all, I was repositioned in the bed and I tried to calm down.

I was incredibly comfortable, and the only reason I knew I was contracting was because the monitor told me so. It was very bittersweet, I was relaxed and comfortable and if worse came to worse we wouldn’t miss our baby’s birth. However, I was no longer feeling my labor, and I wanted to feel every twinge. Is what it is I guess.

We invited the family back in for about an hour and then asked everyone to leave again so that I could try to take a nap and get some rest before the big show. At this time I was dilated to a four. Shelton turned off the lights in the room, closed the blinds and I rolled over and dozed off. Probably not more than about 45 minutes, but it was so needed and felt so good. The room was cool, quiet, dark and for a moment there wasn’t any chaos. This can absolutely be called the calm before the storm. The morning had been relatively routine, but by the time I woke up from that nap, someone pressed the accelerator and we didn’t slow down until the baby arrived.

I woke up around 3 and baby’s heart rate dropped again. These later drops didn’t require an entire medical team, we’d simply adjust my position and she’d be fine. At 3:20 I was examined and I’d dilated to five, we were slowly but surely progressing.

I was starving, absolutely famished, had been all day. Someone brought me ANOTHER cup full of ice and I said I was pretending they were chicken strips from The Pumphouse.

An hour later, at 4:15, I was examined again and I was at a six. I was examined again 45 minutes later, at 5:00, and I had hit nine. See, I woke up from that nap and things just took off. I laughed when they said I was nine because I didn’t think it was possible to change three centimeters in 45 minutes, but apparently it was. The team started prepping the room for delivery, wheeling in carts and supplies, laying out paperwork and other details. I got another dose of the lidocaine from anesthesia because I was starting to feel a lot of pressure and some cramping with the contractions.

The nurse told me to lie down, try to get in another nap because it would be my last chance to rest before delivery. She walked out of the room and Shelton sat on my bed and we talked about something, I don’t remember what, but it was fairly important/significant. Suddenly I interrupted him and said “I’m going to vomit.” He got me a bowl and I was sick, the nurses and the anesthesiologist rushed back in. I told the nurse I was feeling a lot of pressure. Just ten minutes after the last examine, she checked me again and said I was complete, I’d reached ten. I started crying and sent out my last tweet: “I’m a ten. Talk to you when I’m a mom. (tears)”.

At that point my head was spinning so hard and so fast I couldn’t grasp what was happening. I’d gone from six to a ten in an hour and had no time at all to come to grips with what was about to happen. Then, her heart dropped again. Only this time, position changes weren’t helping. They got Dr. W on the line, called in the delivery team, stopped my petocin and immediately dove in to convert the bed for delivery. There were people rushing everywhere, instructions being tossed out, conversations with our doctor (who was about 20 minutes away), and then the completely spontaneous instruction for me to push on three. WHAT?! I was panicking, absolutely panicking.

Since position changes weren’t helping her heart, they didn’t want to wait for our doctor and felt they needed to start delivering pronto. I heard three, thrust myself up off the bed and started pushing. I was pushing. That “moment” you’ve heard about so many times and seen in countless movies, I was doing it, through tears, but I was doing it. Suddenly, everyone yelled STOP! That one push was enough to shift the baby so that her heart spiked back to the 130s and everyone said we’d be able to wait for Dr. W. I was so relieved, I so wanted it to be him to coach us through this process and deliver our baby. They then realized that the baby’s head had turned face-up, so we also wanted to wait for Dr. W to arrive so that he could rotate her face-down and make for a much easier delivery.

Most of the team left the room, save for our nurses, our anesthesiologist nurse and a couple residents. I was in the stirrups with my lady parts more on display than I thought possible. Then one of the nurses walked over and covered me up, and I was a little relieved. At this point I was convulsing. Head to toe my body was shaking harder than it ever had before and there was nothing I could do to stop it, I felt like I was having a seizure (if that’s what a seizure feels like). The nurses reassured Shelton that it was totally normal, just a side effect of the massive adrenaline rush I’d just had. I shook like this throughout the delivery.

A few minutes before 6:00 p.m. Dr. W walked in the room and I felt my heart drop. This was it, no turning back, with Dr. W here it was officially go-time. I started crying and laid there saying “no no no no”. Shelton walked over to stroke my hair and promised me that in an hour I’d have a baby. It took Dr. W only a few seconds to get prepped. He walked over, flipped the baby, and said it was time to start pushing. OH. MY. GOD! We waited for the first contraction and at exactly 6:00 p.m. I started pushing. We did three sets of 10 for each contraction, with Shelton and our nurse taking turns counting off. I could hear the excitement in Shelton’s voice, as each number one through ten sounded like they were being called out by a varsity cheerleader. Between pushes I would throw myself back on the bed, grab my oxygen mask and literally fall asleep. I was conscious of what was going on in the room, but completely closed my eyes and rested between pushes.

Then, Dr. W would ask if I could feel the next contraction coming on, I’d confirm, and Shelton would use his hands to push my back off the bed, I’d grab the handle bars to allow me to curl myself around my slowly descending belly, and nurses held my legs. At some point the pushes turned in to four sets of 10. Shelton says he was having a hard time “multi-tasking” between holding my back, counting, holding my leg (because our nurse had to take a bathroom break at some point!).

At one point the anesthesiologist nurse asked if she could ask our family to leave the hallway. Apparently they’d all gathered outside our room with ears pressed to the door. So much for the privacy we’d requested! I pulled my mask aside and said “Get rid of them!”.

Dr. W used mineral oil to massage “the area” and make delivery easier. Apparently with the baby’s head half out he was also using it as a styling product to give our baby a mohawk!

Shelton and I had been adamant about not seeing the actual birth. I was able to maintain this, and glad that I did, and I don’t regret not seeing her being born. Shelton didn’t have a choice, everything was there for the world to see, but I think he’s glad that he was able to witness it, and said it wasn’t anywhere near as gory as we’d both dreamed in our heads. As the baby continued to crown and we made more progress, Shelton’s voice grew even more enthusiastic, to the point that he was jumping up and down next to my bed.

And then, that moment. After an hour of pushing, nine months of pregnancy, two months of fertility treatments and six years of trying, hoping and waiting, our little girl was born at 7:05 p.m. on April 27, 2010, a birthday we are thrilled she shares with her daddy! I’m sobbing just recalling it. I was completely exhausted, and I looked down to see the doctor holding this teeny tiny wiggling little body with a head covered in dark curly hair. Shelton was right, if I’d just push for an hour I’d have a baby. I just kept saying “oh my god!” over and over again while I cried looking at her; and Shelton stood next to me with his head buried in mine and cried. The doctor then asked Shelton if he wanted to cut the cord, and with slight hesitation, he grabbed the scissors. In that moment he ended my pregnancy, but he also officially welcomed her into this world. Shelton laughs that he was amazed the cord wasn’t purple and that it looked like calamari. (He let me know later than when she’d delivered they had to remove the cord from around her neck, but she was fine.) They immediately thrust her onto my chest, wrapped in a blanket, and through tear-soaked eyes I held her tiny little hand and said “hello baby” as they wiped her clean. I don’t remember hearing her cry, if she was, but I do remember her great big bright eyes staring intently at me. I wanted to put that moment in a bottle; it was genuinely the single best moment of my life. I was a mother, I had a daughter, and we were a family. In my head I could hear the Dave Matthews Band song “Baby Blue” playing, specifically the line “The first time I saw you was like a punch right through my chest.”

With more work still to be done, they whisked her away to the warmer so they could take her Apgar (9 / 8 / 8), measurements, finish cleaning and more. Meanwhile, I had to deliver my placenta. Shelton was lost and I kept telling him to go be with the baby and take pictures!! He was reluctant, and even insistent in standing by my side but I finally convinced him to go to the baby. Delivering the placenta was painful, as the nurses and doctor were pushing on my abdomen to massage it out; my abdomen was not blocked so I could feel every push and it hurt!

After that, everyone started the clean-up process and I watched from my bed as our daughter, who we named Paisley Joon Koskie, weighed in at 7 pounds 7 ounces and measured 18″ long with a 12″ head. They bundled her up, and brought her to me, and Shelton and I sat together on my bed and marveled at this tiny little person we’d worked so hard to create together. She was ours! The sky outside was a brilliant blue, no clouds, and beneath it the greenest trees, a beautiful view from our room. I asked a very anxious Shelton to go let our family know she had arrived, but to please return without them. I wanted the three of us to enjoy the moment without any interference. So he did, he came back and we sat together, took our first family photo, and Shelton told me that I’d never been more beautiful than I was right then, and that he’d never loved me more. The feeling was absolutely mutual. I looked at him and said “thank you for her.”

With her big bright eyes wide awake, we welcomed our family in to meet her about 15 minutes later and they each took turns holding her. My brother was the hero of the day, offering to go across the street to Wendy’s and bring back some food for me. I ordered a double with fries and a coke and I sucked them down like a ravenous animal. And then I threw it up. But I didn’t care. It tasted so good and it felt amazing to have something, anything in my stomach.

Our family didn’t stay long, recognizing that we’d had a long, exhausting day and that we wanted to spend some time with our daughter. Paisley was then given a bath and then we decided to give breastfeeding a try. Our first attempt lasted seven minutes, and we both did a pretty decent job for not having any experience. It’s on-the-job training that we’ve both become pretty good at doing.

Two hours after her arrival we were taken down to our postpartum room where we would stay for the next two days. At 10:30 p.m. our family doctor, Dr. H, arrived to check her out and gave her a clean bill of health (prayers answered!). And then we settled in for our first of many long nights together.

That day went by so fast, and yet, I feel like pieces of it moved so slowly that I was able to capture them in my memory perfectly.

It must be said that my husband blew me away that day. I didn’t expect any less than what he offered by way of love, support, motivation and encouragement, but what he delivered far exceeded my expectations. There is no doubt that I wouldn’t have done as well that day if it weren’t for him. There is not a single other soul I would have wanted to share that day with, and having our daughter has reaffirmed for me why it is that I love him, why we have an incredible marriage, and why I love calling him my best friend.

We are proof that you should never give up, should always hold out hope, and should always believe that your dreams will come true. We never let our infertility stand in our way of creating the family that we wanted. Paisley is spectacular and this entire experience has far exceeded my wildest expectations of what becoming a parent could be. She’s perfect, she’s beautiful, she’s healthy and she’s ours. As long as I live I will not forget that day.