Sunday, February 13, 2011

Update on Shan

Shan Update February 13, 2010
I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated everyone on our family, but specifically Shan. Shan was diagnosed with his schwannoma on 12/10/2010. He had his surgery to have it removed on 1/13/2011 and came home on 1/17/11. So we have officially finished Shan's 4th week of recovery. What I've witnessed is physical healing: his scars look great and are pretty much healed at this point. His pain is remarkably better and he's on about 1/3 of the pain meds he started on when he came home. He says that he's constantly in pain but that it has lessened, the sharpness has dulled and the twinges have lessened. I'm seeing a lot more function as he could barely move his right arm let alone lift anything. Now he has more range of motion, can lift and hold our baby and can do his daily activities with minimal help. His appetite is improving as is his outlook re: recovery and getting back to work. His hope is to be back to work by the end of February or early March. We are thinking he'll return to work part time to get his endurance up at first and then ease into full time, as his job requires him to be on his feet for the entire shift and for his to have quite a bit of energy.
Reagan is growing like crazy and will be 7 weeks on Tuesday. She's turning her head toward her mom or dad when she hears our voice, she's more alert and interested in light, sound etc. We're working on "baby wise" and we're seeing a new baby who's more calm during the day and sleeping up to 7 hours at night. We are loving getting to know her and this special time together as a family.
I feel like I'm physically recovered from the birth and enjoying learning how to be a mommy. I'm loving having Shan here, I'm loving my time with Reagan and am looking forward to what's to come in 2011. We have been overwhelmed by people's generosity in gifts, money, meals and time. We are blessed to have friends and family around us that have loved on us during this time. Though it has been difficult and jam packed for the last 7 weeks, we wouldn't change a thing. We believe none of this was a surprise to God, we believe he holds everything together, including us, and that he will get the glory through this piece of the Applin Adventure. Thank you for your prayers and for checking in on us. I'm happy to report that we're doing just fine. Please pray for Shan's ongoing recovery and return to work.

Shan, Shauna and Reagan Applin

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reagan's Birth Story

Reagan's Birth Story

9 mos of waiting and she's here. It still feels quite odd that we have a baby girl, that I'm not pregnant and somehow we're now parents. I would say I was ready to be done around 37 weeks. The midwives started checking my cervix at 36 weeks and I was:
1cm at 36 weeks
2cm at 37 weeks
3cm at 38 weeks
4 cm at 39 and 40 weeks

Because of this dilation and it being my first pregnancy, I really convinced myself that I'd have this baby before my due date. Somehow I decided I wouldn't be like most other first time moms and I'd go early rather than late. Hah, turns out I'm just like everybody else. I had runs of contractions on 3 different occasions that were persistent, about every 3-5 minutes and all lasted more than one hour (one was about 4 hours). But they all died off and were never really that painful.

I saw the midwife on 12/21 at 39 3/7 and she said I would have the baby before my next appointment (which was on 12/28). I rarely make promises in the land of OB because who really knows, but you better believe her comment gave me hope. We picked up my mom and Oma that night from the airport and continued to pray that we'd have this baby before they returned to Texas on 1/1/2011. We enjoyed our time together, we had a lovely low-key Christmas at our house yet we were all anxious to meet Reagan and all praying on our own and together that she'd come before the New Year.

People tell me they had a burst of energy just before labor, did a bunch of nesting etc, I didn't really have that. On 12/27 my mom's friend from college came for an afternoon visit around 2pm. Around 4pm, I noticed the start of contractions. Like with every other run of contractions, I prayed, "God please let this be it." They stayed and were about every 3-5 minutes but weren't very painful. But then they started to get more painful to the point where I didn't want to sit any more. Then the point where walking didn't make them feel any better. Then to the point where being on the ball or on my hands and knees were the only comfortable positions. Then to the point where I decided to check my cervix and found I was 5 cm with a bulgy bag of fluid. Then I asked Shan to run the bath because I was huffing and puffing through each contraction. I guess I spent about 3 hours in the tub at home (like I had any concept of time) and was getting really miserable. Turns out after filling our tub only once, we had no more hot water, so my mom was on stove duty and brought multiple hot water refills that helped oh so very much. I rechecked my cervix and it was 6-7 cm and we decided to call the midwife and head to the hospital. Oma stayed home but mom and Shan piled in the car and we headed to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, Shan called his mom and she planned to join us at the hospital. God's grace for me was lighter contractions while in the car or I would have died during that 20 min drive to the hospital. I was quite nauseated and just as we exited the highway, I puked 3 times (quite lovely). We had a bucket though so only the street saw the mess...

We went in through the ER and they were quick to get me to the admissions lady. Her perfume was overbearing and it took everything in me to not make a comment about the offense to someone in labor...crazy me. Of course in my state, I was required to sign paperwork saying I'd pay for anything not covered and then in between I was wandering the halls with my contractions. It felt like we waited hours for someone from labor and delivery to come get me, but Shan said it was about 5 minutes. They wheeled me up to the 14th floor of St. Joseph Hospital and had a room waiting for me. My midwife, Susan was there and one of my very favorite labor and delivery nurses, Jessica. She ran a strip of the baby's heartbeat which looked good and Susan asked what I wanted. I told her, "check my cervix, break my bag of water and let me get in the tub." So that we did. There was light meconium and I was 7cm. So in the tub I went around midnight on 12/28. I labored there until I was fully dilated.

How do I describe the experience of labor? I laid in bed the other night thinking about the two types of pain I experienced: contraction pain and pushing pain. Contraction pain felt like waves in the ocean. Some were intense but bearable, and others felt so intense that I would die before they ended. It was a squeezing like an intertube around my entire abdomen and back and when they peaked the pain and pressure was almost more than I could handle. Touch from Shan didn't help (both holding my hand and pressure on my back), moving from side to side, to my hands and knees, upright or lying in the tub did nothing except frustrate me because there was no relief. Then the contraction would subside and just as I caught my breath, another would start and the process would begin again. We refilled the water time and again and it was so hot that in between contractions Shan would drape ice cold rags on my face and neck and feed my ice. Shan and I tried to do the breathing techniques with labor but for me the grunting/vocalizing with contractions somehow helped me cope better than careful breathing. I caught myself on multiple occasions feeling so overwhelmed by the pain that I thought I couldn't breathe or go on. At one point I called out to Susan and told her that I needed medication. She of course, didn't give me any but sat with me and talked me through the contractions. She offered to check my cervix and said I had a small rim of cervix left and to try some pushes in the tub if I wanted to. This was exciting and extremely scary all at once as that meant the next phase of pain was about to begin...pushing.

So I tried to push in the tub and felt very inept. It felt good to be doing something but it hurt to push so I didn't want to. I did little pushes and grunts that probably didn't accomplish much other than give me a little confidence that I could do this. I was done in the tub after pushing for a bit but I was SOOO afraid of getting into bed. So we moved to the toilet and I started more aggressive pushing there. It felt like a bowling ball pushing down my vagina and my rectum, not pleasant. I did find, though, that with pushing it felt like my contractions weren't as long or overwhelming. After pushing on the toilet for about 30 minutes, we moved to the bed but I was so afraid to be on my back that I pushed on hands and knees. Now at this point, I'm tired, I know I need to push better and yet the burning pain was so intense I didn't want to push. At one point while pushing, I was convinced her head was right there and I was almost done. The midwife tried to encourage me but saying how much head she could see. It was about the size of an egg and you better believe I was discouraged rather than encouraged. So then a corner was turned. My pushing gained strength even though it felt like I would push my entire colon out onto the bed. And though it burned and hurt worse than anything I've ever experienced, it did shorten the pain of the contractions and made me feel like we were getting closer to being done. It felt like I pushed for 17 days, but I pushed for a little more than an hour. The pushing and the pain was so intense, I screamed after pushing a few times. I embarassed myself feeling like everyone in the hospital could hear, but it was the only relief I could give myself after the intensity of pushing was over.

Because of the meconium, the newborn team had to be in the room (neonatal nurse practitioner and 2 nursery nurses). Because of my experience as a midwife, I knew two things that would let me know I really was almost done: the newborn team would be in the room and ready AND the midwife would have the birthing table uncovered and her gloves on. It seemed like forever before those two pieces were in place, but then they were in place and Susan said a couple more pushes and she'd be here. I can't begin to explain the feeling of that head crowning. It was an intense pressure and burning and yet it didn't feel remarkably different from the pressure and pain I had felt before the head emerged. I think there was a rush of adrenaline or relief or both as she crowned because it just happened and I heard Susan say, "OK stop pushing she's here," while she suctioned her nose and mouth before delivering the shoulders. I pushed again to get the rest of her body out (much easier than the head, by the way) and there she was with a strong cry.

I sat there on my knees for a moment to catch my breath and realized, "I'm done. She's here!" The midwife handed me my daughter through my legs and I turned over onto my back holding my slimy, hairy, gorgeous daughter. Nothing could prepare me for that moment as Shan and I beheld this treasure that we'd waited so long to see and touch. She screamed her head off while we examined her earlobes, fingers and toes making sure everything was there. She came out a little crooked so had a goose-egg on the top left of her head. The midwife waited for the cord to stop pulsating and then Shan cut the cord. The newborn team wasn't needed since she cried after delivery, so they left and we were left to love on our baby.

I had a small tear on my left labia that Susan repaired but I had an intact perineum (impossible from my perspective) as I'd convinced myself that my colon lay on the table along with the baby...The placenta delivered a little later and was surprisingly more painful than I expected (seeing as it had no bony parts to present) but Susan said you'll feel the relief after it comes out and indeed I did. They had to mash on my tummy multiple times to ensure my uterus was contracting and the bleeding was stopping, extremely painful I might add. But I didn't mind. I was too distracted cooing over Reagan with Shan. And then, like 9 mos of waiting hadn't happened and like hours of pain hadn't happened I sat in bed holding my baby, finished with my first pregnancy, labor and birth. It didn't feel real and Shan and I just looked at each other like, "OK here goes..."

She was an Applin through and through: She had her dad's hair and nose and cheeks. She was covered in hair on her back and shoulders an even ears. She really was breathtaking. I admitted to Shan that I hadn't spent much time wondering what she'd look like or who's features she'd have. I was just excited to see her! After months of waiting and weeks of angst re: would she come while my mom was here, she was here and we celebrated the birth of Reagan Mary Applin at 0451 on 12/28/10. She weighed 8lbs even, was 20 inches long with apgars of 9 and 10. They never assign an apgar of 10, so I felt very special and told the nursery nurse this. We attempted breastfeeding and she latched right on, so another Applin characteristic was observed: a love for eating! We stayed in the room for an hour or so and then moved downstairs to the postpartum room.

Looking back at labor, here are some things that amazed me:
1. It really does just start from nothing and you have no control over it.
2. There is no way to prepare for the pain or to predict how you'll be in labor
3. There is no pain like the pain of labor and pushing. Thank God he made us to forget the pain. Even sitting here now, I'm having a hard time recalling truly how miserable I was.
4. There is no greater joy than holding a slimy miracle and feeling the sense of accomplishment after the marathon experience of labor and birth.
5. God created women's bodies to do this, to handle the pain and to produce offspring. This still blows me away!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maternity Pictures

Just wanted to post some fun maternity pics we had taken.
Had contractions every 5 mins for about 1 hour on Saturday, so was a little nervous. But then I hydrated and rested and they spaced out to every 10 mins for another hour and then tapered off! Thank God because I am only 35 weeks. Cook a little longer little one, but not too much!

I had my work baby shower this week and it was lovely. They did a potluck breakfast, played a few games and gave me tons of nice gifts! I've officially divided up the clothes. I have tons of newborn-3 mos clothes, so will need to look at 6 mos and beyond from now on. Have a few more things on my registry but have tons of Target gift cards, so will go on a shopping spree at sometime thanks to all my generous friends and family.

It snowed this evening and stuck and left everything silent and white. My very favorite thing in all the world is snow, so it's been fun enjoying!

more to come,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

33 weeks

What a busy few weeks it has been!
I'm officially 34 weeks, so 6 weeks to go! I'm feeling overall well, but this bump in the front continues to grow and take over. I actually tried squeezing through a tight space, not thinking about the large bump in front of me. Hurt myself, I admit...Oh well.
Saturday was my baby shower at HyunJu Low's house from church, put on by my sister and by my good friend Tiffany Bone. It was lovely. Had lots of friends, good food, laughter, prayer and LOTS O' GIFTS! I felt very celebrated and special. You'll see the "loot couch" picture attached.
Last weekend, we took professional maternity pictures, I've attached a picture of shan capturing the moment. The offical pics aren't back yet but once they are, I'll post a few as well.
Shan and I layed together the other night and he played a game with the baby. She was so active and so responsive, so he pushed on her foot and she pushed back. He pushed on one side of the belly and she pushed back. Then he switched sides and she found him and responded again. It really was surreal and special!
I have a couple more baby showers coming at work and just feel overwhelmed by people's generosity! This baby should be well-taken-care-of!
I must say it's a gift to have her coming near Christmas! It's making it feel more fun to anticipate and prepare for the holidays knowing I'm also looking forward to her arrival! That was a nice gift, Lord, thank you for this timing!
Mom and Oma arrive on 12/21 and my sister Aubry arrives after the new year, so even more goodness to be looking forward to!
Shan is busy with home projects. He's putting in a kitty door at the bottom of the stairs so we can move the cat box to the garage. HE's still working on the baby room with me. I think we're going to just do Christmas lights in the windows this year so he doesn't have to crawl on the roof for me!
I have an OB appt on Tuesday, then one more in 2 weeks, then we're on every week visits. That helps me know her debut is any time! I really can't wait.
Thanks to all who celebrated us with the shower gifts!

love, shan and shauna (and baby applet)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

31 weeks

Here we are, two weeks bigger, two weeks closer to meeting our little girl!
My body continues to adapt and amaze me. My belly continues to grow and my walk is now more of a wobble! I feel her moving all the time and love the surprise kicks, rolls and hiccups. I marvel at a life growing inside of me, despite me. I marvel that most of this is totally out of my control and I have to trust that God's hand is on me and this growing baby!
I got word yesterday that a baby shower is in the works for Saturday, November 13, so I'm REALLY excited about this. Only wish my mom and sister (ok and friends and family out of state too) could be a part of it. We have belly pictures set up for Nov 6 and then the photographer comes 1-2 weeks after the baby's born to finish the photos with newborn shots. I'm looking forward to these!
I had a surreal moment last week when I delivered a stillborn baby girl who was about 2 weeks behind where my baby girl is. I held that lifeless baby, who looked perfect in every way, and thought what a strange privilege to be able to see in real life what my baby must look like inside of me right now. I cried with her mom who couldn't understand why and carefully inspected the perfect ears, fingers and toes while trying to keep from fearing for the life of my baby. It was another reminder of how much is really out of my control.
We have a few friends right now who are struggling with sick babies and it's reminding me of how blessed Shan and I are to have a "normal" pregnancy and a "normal" baby.
I have an OB appt on Tuesday and next posting will be November already, time is sure flying by. We've picked our baby's name and I'm excited to declare it when she makes her debut. Sorry no hints before then!

Well, signing out for now!
love, shauna

Sunday, October 10, 2010

29 weeks and growing!

Well 2 weeks have gone by and I feel like this has been the biggest belly growth to date! I'm noticing more shortness of breath and having a hard time reaching my feet to tie my shoes...Shan says welcome to his world! Other than that, I'm still enjoying this ride!

I had my OB appt and my glucola was 114, so no signs of gestational diabetes! My weight gain is within normal for pregnancy, sure feels weird to be the weight I was before I lost all my weight on weight watchers years ago, though. Good thing I have a wiggly reason for this weight gain! Am still exercising 5 days/week to balance things out.

We found the stroller we wanted from Babies R Us on Craig's List for 1/2 the price! It's inr really good condition and came with two car seat bases, one for each car. We feel so blessed to continue to find ways to save money with all these purchases. Thank you God!

Looks like plans are under way for a baby shower, that should be fun! Will try to include friends and family out of state as well, so stay tuned!
We've decided on a name for our baby but are keeping it a secret until she makes her debut...this is harder than we thought it'd be.

That's about it for now, here are some updated photos!
love, shauna

Sunday, September 26, 2010

27 weeks

Time flies when you're having fun! I swear I just updated this blog, but 3 weeks have gone by...sigh.
All is well in the Applin house and the baby cooking factory. My stomach continues to stretch and amaze me that my body has this capability. My only complaint is my pelvis and the pain I feel in my tailbone and frequent sciatic pain on the right side. Otherwise I am loving this! Can't say I'm having any weird cravings, but have had one dream about the birth. All I remember is she was born in November (so 4-6 weeks early) but don't remember any details of the process.
We've set up the nursery, almost!
We've set up our cloth diaper service. If you don't have this in your area, let me tell you about it, because it's awesome. For a fee, they deliver clean diapers, a diaper bag and a diaper bin on a weekly basis. You set the amount of diapers you want (they have a guide, because like I know!). Then every Tuesday they come and take all the soiled diapers in the bag (yes I don't have to clean them) and replace with new ones. You're actually asked to NOT do anything with them as they use a special washing system and me washing the diapers messes with that. So I'm excited to do the cloth diaper thing but not have to launder...maybe I'll be more brave for baby #2!
There are a few big baby/maternity consignment events coming up this fall, so am excited to go to those. Our only large purchases left are the stroller and a breast pump and we've been watching for used ones on craig's list. If not, we'll spring for full price but would rather not.
We're working on getting our finances in order for when my income drops. We are in the process of refinancing our house and at first were thinking about trading in our jeep for a cheaper car, but think if we put money down, we can refinance the jeep as well, keeping the car we love AND having a lower payment. Who knew so much change would come with a wee one?
This fall will be busy as usual, but maybe that means it will feel faster as I wait these last 3 mos!
The baby is moving a whole lot more. This last week was the first time where the baby moved and I watched my belly move with her kicks. So cool! She moves some throughout the day but especially when I'm sitting or laying in the evenings/night, do I feel so much movement. She feels like she's laying vertically now instead of horizontally but I can't tell as easily on me as I can on my patients. She also responds to pressure. SO if I sit with my arms crossed on my belly, she kicks and asks me to move. Or last night, Shan had his legs over my belly and she continuously kicked right where one leg was to get him out of her space. Hmm, has she already inherited a feisty trait?
I have an OB appt on Tuesday and I'll do my glucola test. This is the test where they screen for diabetes of pregnancy. Hope I'm negativo. Haven't gained much weight but am eating more foods that I usually skip in non-prego Shauna life (including dessert).
That's about it. Next time you hear from me, my 2nd trimester will be complete and 3rd trimester here we come!

Shauna and baby Applet