Friday, May 29, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We have finally made it home, and it feels so nice! I apologize in advance for this short post, but as you can understand I am sure, I am mentally and physically exhausted but wanted to share some pics of our big trip home with our precious baby. Also, please forgive my lack of make up in these coming home pics. I am just proud of myself for getting a shower last night, so at least I finally have clean hair! The kitties are taking in all this baby stuff and are still checking out Helen Grace. Rebel has been in her cradle at least three times (she was not in there for any of these adventures), but he quickly jumped out when his mom and dad went beserk and started shrieking. More to come in the next few days...

Loving on her Spif
Please notice that Helen Grace's sweet daddy bought a pink shirt just for this occasion- make sure you tell him how much you like it!
Some lovin' from Daddy
Getting HG "sprung" from the hospital as they cut off her ankle bracelet.
The poor guy in the elevator asked us, "First baby, huh?" as we paused for pics at every turn.
Now this was the real fun- getting her into the car seat. And we thought the hard part was going to be getting the car seat properly put into the car. Whew!
Holding Mama's hand on the drive home
Bright sunshine but finally at home!
Ahhh, to finally be at HOME!
Introducing her to the kitties for the first time
At the end of a very long afternoon
This is how I now spend my Friday nights...breastfeeding an infant in my lap and watching a kitty sleep peacefully in the boppy pillow next to me. Love it!
Her first time in the boppy chair...she was kind of freaked out by the vibrating mode, so we are just going with the non-moving mode for right now. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Surprise, She's HERE!

Helen Grace Toohig
May 25, 2009, 9:21 p.m.
5 pounds, 3 ounces, 18.25 inches long
As many of you know, I have been going crazy with heartburn over the last few days, and it was only getting worse and worse. Over the holiday weekend, I pretty much didn't do anything but move from the bed to the recliner to the couch, groaning and searching for a comfortable spot. Pepcid and Prilosec didn't help very much, and with the back pain getting out of control, I was contemplating going to the hospital. After the puking started Monday afternoon, I quickly made my decision- we were going in and staying until something gave!

When we got to Labor & Delivery Monday around 5:00 p.m. and explained all my symptoms to the nurses, I felt a little stupid- heartburn, high back ache, nausea, nose bleeds, slight swelling of the feet...all the typical stuff- but then I noticed that all kinds of nurses and doctors kept hovering around us. And then the anesthesiologist appeared..."just to ask a few questions." I looked at John with a mixture of terror (as in 'is this really going to happen today?') and excitement (as in 'is this pain is going to stop soon and we'll get to meet our baby girl?'). Doing my blood work for a second time proved that I had HELLP Syndrome which translates to extremely high liver enzymes, very low platelets, less blood clotting, etc. And the only treatment of HELLP Syndrome...immediate delivery. At 36 weeks and 4 days, the doctors and nurses weren't very worried about my delivering, but without much notice, I was a little nervous! They couldn't do an epidural because they couldn't risk blood getting into my spinal column and not clotting, so I had to go completely under and John couldn't come with me. Within 30 minutes, I was in the Operating Room getting platelets and having a C-section, and John was soon introducing Helen Grace to our friends and family in the waiting room! She is absolutely beautiful, if I can say so myself, and she has a head full of tufts of strawberry blonde hair. She is pretty easy going and must know that her mama and daddy need all the help they can get in this situation!

I was in the ICU overnight Monday and for most of Tuesday getting a blood transfusion, and they wanted to watch my levels improve. Unfortunately, this wasn't a quck process. John got a room with Helen Grace on the L&D floor, and he could bring her in to see me every now and then but I was basically getting through the hours with an IV of fluids and magnesium (which made me crazy), a lovely catheter, a morphine pump, pressure boots on my legs to keep blood clots from forming, and an arm pressure band on my arm to check every so many minutes.

Around dinnertime on Tuesday, I was able to "graduate" from ICU and into a room on the L&D floor but had to wait a few more hours until I was able to join HG and John on the 4th floor. I passed all my tests about midnight. Of course, I couldn't get moved up to the room where John had been camped out, but for some reason, I was moved to a room on another wing. So John had to move all of our stuff to a new room at midnight while he was half asleep. The poor guy deserves a gold star!!!

We were able to grab a few hours of sleep in between nurses coming in to check everything on God's green earth, and we have enjoyed our first day of being a family- all in one room at last! I am now unplugged from everything and am finally walking to the bathroom on my own- huge progress! Looks like my doctor still wants to watch my levels for one more day, and we think we will be cleared to leave on Friday morning. Keep your fingers crossed. We have been hugely blessed by so many friends and family members- thank you so much for loving us and our new baby girl! Pics to come as soon as we get some sleep!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


My mind seems to be going a million miles a minute in all different directions these days, so this post will be evidence of my scatterbrained-ness (if that can be a word for the sake of this blog).

Lots of exciting things have been happening in our lives lately!
  • The Lady Quistors and their parents absolutely blew me off my feet with a surprise baby shower complete with a diaper cake, corsage, delicious cake, and tons of sweet gifts- of course, including a soccer ball piggy bank, soccer ball rattles, and tons of bows and headbands! Coach rolled his eyes often throughout the gift opening.
Surprise! Two of the seniors got me there under the guise of a dinner date...

Oh, he just LOVES the bows!!! Wink, wink!
John's learned lots of new words through this process...such as Bumbo, romper, bloomers, and onesie.
  • We got our car situation worked out. We traded in my car this weekend (good riddance!), I took John's MDX, and we got John a TL. We are loving having that behind us and getting used to our new heights- I've never driven a SUV, and it's been years since John's driven a car. Fun!
  • My 35-week appointment last week was uneventful. I go back in two weeks when she'll do the Strep B test and check me for any progress. I have developed TERRIBLE heartburn over the weekend, so I've been talking to the nurse on a daily basis as I try to figure out what to eat or not eat, how to sleep, and what medicine I can take. (Can you overdose on Gaviscon?) Pepcid doesn't seem to last long enough- it'll help me get to sleep but I wake up in severe pain by midnight. The doctor called in some prescription stuff this afternoon, but I soon got a call from Walgreens that my insurance wouldn't cover it without a 'prior approval' or something from my another day without it. Arg! I slept in the recliner in the den last night (with two cuddly kitties), and one night of that was enough to put me over the edge. I wasn't really ready for Helen Grace to come, but now I'm DYING for her to come early! :)
  • Our washing machine died last week, and after several whirlwind shopping trips and research by John, we now have a brand new washer. After we tested it a few times, I did our first load of baby clothes, which was really weird! The clothes are so little! John's been after me to start packing a bag for the hospital, so I'm finally making strides toward that project.
  • Here are some pictures from the shower in Olive Branch two weeks ago...such a fun day!

The fam...cousin Cam, Aunt Glo, Moma, Daddy, Bubba, and John's godmother Peggy. (My dad came at the beginning and end for logistical support- heehee!)
Rachel's adorable diaper cake, complete with a Rebel cheerleader ducky!
The sign-in table with a copy of Guess How Much I Love You for all guests to sign. The Gateway to Storyland was given by my GG (Granny Grace) to my mom when she was born, and then my GG gave me Mother Goose Rhymes when I was born. The Snowy Day was my favorite book as a child.
My sweet hostesses...Rachel, Gina, Brandy, and Christy.
Instead of a corsage, they gave me a rose bush-Helen Grace's birth month flower is a rose!
Larry and Carmella sent an amazing diaper cake from HOUSTON!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Me? A Mother? Really?

What a fun weekend! My fabulous friends threw Helen Grace and me a shower on Saturday morning, and I just had an absolute ball getting to catch up with friends and family. Everyone made me feel so special, and I am very lucky to be surrounded by such thoughtful people. Two of my favorite things that the hostesses did for us...first, they asked the guests to write a note to Helen Grace in a Guess How Much I Love You anniversary edition book, which will be a very, very special book to us to read together for years and years to come. Also, they researched Helen Grace's birth flower, and June's flower is a rose. Instead of a corsage, they bought a beautiful rose bush that Brandy has promised to help me plant in our yard. We'll be reminded of this special day with every bloom! Pics from the shower to come in the next few days...

Saturday night, we celebrated Mother's Day with our parents by taking Jeanne and Peg for their first trip to the Hollywood Cafe in Tunica. You know the Marc Cohn song, "Walking In Memphis" where he talks about Muriel playing the piano down at the Hollywood? This is the place. I think that Peg had her mouth open for most of the drive down there and the first few minutes inside, but soon we all fell in love with the ambiance that Moma and Daddy have been telling us about. They have been obsessed with this place since they rediscovered it several months ago. The steak was to die for- so tender you could cut it with a fork, we loved the guy singing and playing his guitar (even though he didn't look a thing like James Taylor), and we were big fans of the pregnant kitty cat, Pickles. Did you know the Hollywood is the home of the original fried pickles? I consider John to be the connoisseur of fried pickles, and he says they rank right up there with Ajax's so you know they're good!

Today, I went to church with Bubba in Byhalia, and the preacher called me out for not taking a Mother's Day flower! I just don't feel like I can raise my hand and say I'm a mother when I haven't been through the pains of labor yet- give me another month or two, and I won't be so shy to stand up and get my flower! :) Then we met Moma and Daddy for lunch while John went to see a movie with Jeanne and Peg. When I took Bubba back home, William stopped in for a quick visit, and both he and Bubba got to feel Helen Grace move at last!! Whew, what a relief- she has been playing hard to get lately! I've spent the afternoon relaxing with the kitties and trying to find the energy to put together a swing or a pack-n-play...but this couch is so much more comfortable!

Our 35-week appointment is coming up this week, and we'll see if I've started progressing and be tested for Strep B. Whew, the countdown is beginning- it's a little scary!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women in my life...none of us would be the people we are today without our mamas and their unconditional love and support!! You give me a lot to live up to!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Stroller Has Arrived!

Helen Grace has a stroller! My parents gave us her travel system for my Mother's Day gift- thanks, Moma & Daddy!!! While it still feels really weird that I'm technically a mother now by my mom's definition ("Sha, she's kicking you hard enough to hurt- you're a mom!"), I was really excited to get my hands on the stroller at last. The whole travel system thing has mystified me. When Brandy was helping me register at Babies R Us, I just stood there, no clue what button did what, while Brandy and the sales clerk flipped, squeezed, and clicked all kinds of levers and buttons to make all sorts of magic things happen. Where to begin?! Of course, I only made it about an hour before I insisted that we try to put it together, and I know my dad will be jealous that it really required very little assembly. We had to attach the wheels, trays, and such, but it wasn't too bad. We did laugh at ourselves as we had to stop and think about what part of the stroller the pictures in the instruction manual depicted- we haven't really hung around a lot of strollers before! It seems a little easier now that we've played with it, but I'm sure it'll be a whole different game when we have a sleeping newborn in the carrier that we are terrified to wake! The kitties have loved playing in the basket underneath, but they are more entertained by batting around all the little pieces that came off it!

33 Weeks

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Quest for Sleep

Is this God's way of preparing me for the days ahead of having a newborn and no sleep? I have absolutely nothing on my agenda today. I have no one to tend to. My house is as quiet as a mouse. The rain is pouring down. I could have slept until noon. But what time did I wake up? 8:15. Really?! So I thought I would get a bowl of cereal and feed the cats, and then I'd surely fall back to sleep. Nope! I've been wide awake all day!

My 33-week appointment this week was good. My doctor was pleased with my low blood sugar readings, so she said if they stay stable for one more week, I can reduce my testings to twice a day instead of four times a day- yippee!! Also, Helen Grace is still growing right on track, and her heart rate was 148. In the last few weeks, I have felt what I thought was her balling up, and I can just rub my tummy and she relaxes. But I learned from my doctor that what I have been feeling is actually Braxton Hicks contractions. It blows my mind that I'm far enough along for these- wow! I go back in two weeks for my 35-week appointment, and depending on if I'm beginning to dilate (SCARY!), I might start my weekly visits then.

My mind is racing with things that I need to be getting together. Two main questions are running around in my head, and I'd love your help with them.

1. I'm meeting with a potential pediatrician this week. What do I need to ask him?

2. I'm starting to think about packing a bag for the hospital for Helen Grace and me. What are the must-have's for the hospital that you wish you would have had with you?

I'd love any help you might be able to offer!