Annalee's Birth Story.

Here's all the details to know about our second daughter's birth!

We had hoped to have another baby and the beginning of 2013 revealed that was going to be the year. We told all our family we were pregnant by sweet Valentines cards "do you have enough love?" and in the inside "for another baby (grandchild, etc)!" so the news was out! Eli had no idea what was to come, of course, but we started talking about his sibling right away.

We had the same doctor as with Eli and he was fabulous yet again. I was less nervous this time but still quite scared of losing another baby. We nicknamed the baby "little lovie" as I thought Lovie was a cute name for either gender or if we lost him/her. All went along fine, no hiccups praise be. We found out in May that baby was a GIRL. Deep down I wanted baby to be a girl so, so badly. I am certain that God made her a she partly as a lavish gift to her momma! So many redemptive moments knowing I was carrying another girl. Harder in some regards, as I didn't know the outcome, but sweeter still.

We were settled and comfortable in South Carolina when a job possibility came on the horizons in ND. We found out the 4th of July, at a dear friend's party, that we were moving. And I honestly did not want to go. I was set on having this baby in SC and being there for awhile longer. The move racked my plan and my "takin' it easy 'cause I'm pregnant" mentality. Having to leave our supportive friends and my baby loss mommas mid-pregnancy, made me freak out a bit. Plus I sure did whine about having to leave our doctor!

We arrived in Bismarck, ND August 1st, six-plus months pregnant. After moving our lives of six years in SC, we were starting a new chapter back in ND. We planned to live with Greg's parents until our house sold and baby was born. Praise God for that plan. Eleven days in, I was walking down the steps with laundry, tripped over a toy and broke my left foot. Enter in a big 'ol boot, a roller aid, and more stress. I was told no weight at all on my foot. Yet I also needed to move to keep the blood flowing for baby (and to prevent blood clots). It was a stressful time! I couldn't pick up big bro or do much for myself. Praise God for my in-laws!

Every day we were relieved she was still alive and kicking, closer to being really okay if she need to be born. We had bi-weekly ultrasounds and heartbeat monitoring. I spent a significant amount of time at the clinic. There were long days. We had planned to induce early, stemming mostly from the fact we don't know why Maelee died in utero at 38 weeks. Since Eli was induced at 36 weeks and 6 days, I sort of assumed we'd be doing the same thing. Well things were going fine and there was no need to induce that early with Annalee. So a few weeks out, my doctor said we could make plans to induce Friday, October 4 or Saturday, October 5 so that I wouldn't have to hit 38 weeks on Sunday, October 6. He knew I just really, really didn't want to hit that day. Turns out the hospital said they were too busy so we set the date for that Sunday anyway, and I was totally on board (though admittedly wondering how I'd get through the weekend emotionally, and knowing we couldn't risk driving to Buffalo for Grandma's 80th party just in case...).

I showed up for my bi-weekly Tuesday appointment October 1 and things were still looking fine but the doctor did say we could move the induction up to Friday after all! I was thrilled and we were so excited. I wanted to be able to go into labor naturally, of course, and even prayed to that end. But in the end, it was ideal that I didn't because our dear brother-in-law's mother passed away and her funeral was the day before so we were able to go and celebrate her life.

The night before we were packed and ready. We were to call labor & delivery way early in the morning to make sure we could "get in". Well they were packed and I started to unravel a bit, my expectation was to have a baby that day! But around 9:30am, we got the call we could come in. We drove to the hospital in cold, slushy mess; our little girl was going to be born in the first snowstorm of the year. It was dreary and dark outside, looking like night in the middle of the day.

The drugs started working, getting contractions going. I was in an incredibly good mood. Perhaps getting my boot off a few days before helped (I could barely walk, however!). I had some sweet compression socks on. I was expecting labor like Eli's, but it wasn't. It took longer to get things rolling. And then they went quick. The anesthesiologist was caught up in the ER, so I experienced some rough, hard contractions for about an hour. Every two minutes, like a wave, they came hard. And even though it was painful, I was happy because I finally got to experience labor pains! And I knew they wouldn't last. I held on to Greg, head on his chest. Then I got the epidural and it truly was the best! I could still feel labor, some pain, but without the intense pain. I knew when to push and it made it all so much better (versus Eli when I couldn't feel a darn thing).

The nurse kept popping in checking on me and saying I was entirely too smiley to be in any pain, assuming I wasn't progressing. But I was. So much so, that the nurse stopped the drugs because our doctor was stuck in a c-section. She paged him and we were all waiting... and waiting... then he arrived (with all the barrage of others) and then when everyone was ready, my body sort of stopped (per the drugs). So we had a few awkward minutes of me all exposed with nothing happening. Still I was in an excellent mood. I knew I was going home with a baby so nothing could make me upset.

I was hoping she was going to be born that day, Friday the 4th. I didn't want her birthday on the 5th because April 5th was such a terrible day. Weird, I know. But I'm a dates person. 10-4-13 was better to me so deep down that was my hope. And it happened! After minimal pushing, with Greg by my side, she arrived! 10:25pm, late that night. She was alive!

I said she looked like Eli, I could see her little round face. And so much red hair! She had blisters on her hands from sucking them in utero. And she was very alert right away. Looking at us, checking her new world out. Since it was so late, it was just us enjoying her until the morning. We were so glad to share her with the world, posting a photo with her details so the world could rejoice with her safe arrival. I so badly wanted all the people, in SC especially, who prayed with us through losing Maelee to rejoice with us in Annalee.

One feature to note was Annalee's tongue. It stuck out, just like Maelee's did. It was so sweet, albeit bittersweet, to know they shared that characteristic. We brought Annalee home (well, to our interim home) in the same outfit Eli wore home, the one with Maelee's name embroidered, then Eli's, then hers. Her name was chosen with much thought. The significance about it can be read here.

Nursing issues could take a whole page. She started sucking right away, very hungry but the latch was not correct. It was a little painful but I was just so happy about her arrival I didn't take note. As a result I was raw sore which snowballed the problems of the next days. She had a bit of dehydration, ended up in the NICU for three days, I started pumping and giving her a bottle because that little darling could just NOT latch correctly. I knew it. It sure was hard to have all these nurses and lactation consultants giving me input and suggestions but nothing worked. Months in we decided to have her top lip frenulum cut. If we would have done that earlier, she would have latched right (she did only one time after and it did not hurt!). But by then she was a bottle-only girl, refusing the breast for the immediate milk she got from a bottle. Annalee had reflux and screamed a lot as well. Dear me. It was rough, pumping all the time, feeding this cranky girl... but oh how we loved her still!
first kiss of many from big bro
About three-four months old, she finally grew into her little being and became a bit happier. It was still a rough road for me pumping-wise. I made it about seven months before we transitioned to formula. Her brother was only somewhat interested to meet his sister. But she grew on him and he was gracious in giving her time with mom and dad. Plus he started calling her Annawee, so her first nickname was born.

Annalee was a little firecracker those first months. Her womb journey started in SC and ended in ND so we can't blame her for being a little unique! We have loved watching her grow to be her own person and are overwhelmingly grateful God chose for her to have life on earth with us these days.


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