Friday, February 29, 2008

So Worth It...

It has been 10 days since we met our little man and I can definitely say he was so worth it. I am already beginning to forget the long arduous road that I took to get to this point. Everyday Jordan and I just sit and look at him and are so amazed by him...we never want to put him down. Tonight is our first night alone with him. We have been blessed to have help from both grandmas since we have been home from the hospital (see previous post for Vivi's visit). It has been nice to be spoiled and have all of our meals prepared, laundry done, and house picked up these past few days. After last weekend with his Vivi, Hunter got to spend these last few days with his Nana. Jordan and I especially appreciated Hunter's "Nana time" which lucky for us started at 6:30 a.m. when Nana woke up for the day...and mommy and daddy got to sleep in a few more hours while Nana was on shift. It has been such a blessing to have both grandma's spend time with us these last few days and help us get settled into parenthood.

Hunter had his 10 day checkup with his Pediatrician yesterday and he has already gained back his birth weight plus 1 ounce! She was very pleased at his progress and his eating habits. She did advise us to keep him away from the crowded public places (where people like to be "hands on") and keep him away from other kids until mid April (after his 2 month checkup and vaccinations) since it's Flu season and RSV season, and he is especially susceptible being premature...so it looks like he won't make his public debut for a while.

These past 10 days of parenthood, I must say, have definitely been awesome. Jordan and I are crazy head over heals in love with this boy. I can't tell you how awesome of a dad Jordan is. As if he didn't blow me away enough throughout my pregnancy...taking care of me while on bedrest...he is an even more amazing father and is just completely wrapped around Hunter's little finger.

Hunter usually sleeps most of the day but the last 2 days his awake time has increased in length just a little. We have had fun watching his facial expressions while he sleeps, often wondering what on earth he could be dreaming about that is causing him to make the expressions he makes...I mean what life experiences does he have to pull on for dreams? It is so funny to watch him smile, frown, and even almost start to cry in his sleep while he is dreaming...here are a few pics that we were able to snap...some awake...some asleep...but all priceless!!

"mmm.....milk"



Hunter's shirt says "What happens at grandma's stays at grandma's"
Hunter gettin some "Nana time"

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We're Home!

Hunter and I were released from the hospital on Thursday afternoon after Hunter was given a clean bill of health! His bilirubin levels were only slighltly elevated upon discharge so we had to follow up with his Pediatrician on Saturday to have him checked. The appointment went great, the Doctor was very pleased with his skin color and growth ever since discharge. He has already grown an inch and half in just two days! He is eating like a champ...are we surprised? Everyday it just gets better and better. We are so blessed to have some help this first week at home while we adjust to new life. The grandmas "Vivi" and "Nana" have decided to take some time off work to help us out. The past few days Vivi, Papa and Aunt Rebekah have been here in Houston hanging out with Hunter and taking care of things around the house so that I can get some much needed rest and recovery. My mom "Nana" flies in tonight to take over for the rest of the week as the Blacks head back to Dallas. Thank you all so much for your prayers...we feel so blessed to be home and healthy!!

Here are some pics of the past few days...

The rare shot of Hunter awake
This is what we usually see...asleep all day
Jordan recovering from delivery (in my bed) Chillin with Aunt Rebekah
Proud grandparents Vivi and Papa

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

He's here!

Hunter Mason Black was born this morning February 19th at 1:20a.m. He came almost 5 weeks early (35w2d), but still weighed in at 6 pounds 8.2 ounces and was 19 inches long!! My water officially broke around 1:30am on Monday the 18th after having labor pains all weekend....since my L&D visit on Valentines Day (see previous post). I labored at home until around noon when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. We headed to L&D...where they looked me up and down and said they didn't believe that I was "in labor"...I guess I was too poised for them. They finally checked me and realized I was!!! After 24 hours of active labor and only 20 minutes of pushing we got the best present in the world!! He initially was taken away to be evaluated in NICU for 6 hours because he was showing signs of lung immaturity, but around 7a.m. they brought him to us and said it appeared to be all cleared up! Despite all of his increased risks he appears to be perfectly healthy! They did an ultrasound on his kidneys this afternoon just to double check, and we are still waiting for results on that, but they aren't too worried because he has already had several wet diapers. If things continue to go well we should be discharged home on Thursday! We are so happy and can't thank you all for your prayers and support these past few months...we made it!!




Friday, February 15, 2008

Back to Bedrest...

After 14 weeks of bedrest, terbutaline and niphedipine meds I was released on Tuedsday and told I could resume normal activities, but I had to stay on the niphedipne till 36 weeks. Well, after 36 hours of freedoom (and only one "outing" to Babies R Us...why couldn't it have been a mani pedi or something).....I ended up in L&D with horrible "back labor" contractions 3 minutes apart. This was totally unlike the pre-term labor contractions I have expeienced the last 15 weeks because of the excruciating back pain and pelvic pressure that came with each contraction. I tried every trick I new at home, bath, tylenol, eating, guzzling water, resting on my left side, I even took an extra dose of my niphedipine (which was not scheduled)......and 3 baths cycles later I gave up and said ok thats it this is not normal, I can't walk, I can't talk and I'm having to do my "breathing" through these contractions. I can't be in this much pain and not be in "Labor"!! So we called the OB and went to L&D. I get there and they of course hook me up immediately and see that I am contracting now every 2 minutes and still in horrible pain, they check my cervix it's still 3cm dialated 70% effaced (same as Tuesday) so OB decides since I am only 34w5d she will try to stop the labor first......even though if I was 35 weeks (which I will be Saturday) she wouldn't stop it. So 3 shots of terbutaline later......and no results....contractions still strong, painful, every 2 min....they admit me for "expectant delivery". I lay there from 9:00pm to 7:00a.m....in bad pain, hooked up to IV, and monitors, with the nurses checking my "progress" every 45 minutes.....and by 7:00a.m there was still no progress (meaning I was still 3cm dialated 70% effaced). My OB finally says well it seems your stalled out. If this were 10 days from now I would give you pitocin and get things moving but I can't since your only 34w5d......but I also can't do anything else to stop these contractions for you. So, my advice is to go back to bedrest until February 28th (my next OB appointment where I will be 36w3d) and see if that will take care of the contractions since the meds aren't.....I wanted to scream!!! I was in so much pain and I could hear little Valentine's babies being born all night and I just layed there with no progress and no pain reiief!!!! So, anyway, I am back home in bed, still contracting every 2 min, and still in pain. I mean I don't want him to come this early but I don't want these horrible back labor pains for the next 2 weeks either, I need sleep!!!! Anyway, if I make it to my next appointment, she will do some "procedures" (I'll spare you the details) to move things along. Until then...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Graduation Day!!

After 14 loooong weeks of bedest with home health monitoring, I have officially been released and can return to "normal" activities...(normal life). Wow, I am in shock! We had two great OB appointments yesterday. This is the first time since finding out at 20 weeks about the two-vessel cord and the pre-term labor that we have gone to the Doctor and heard only good news!!! It seemed that the odds where stacked against us, but after tons of prayers we have made it to 34.5 weeks!

At our first appointment, with the perinatologist, we found out that my fluid levels had returned to normal, despite the premature aging of the placenta. We also learned that Hunter already weighs 6 pounds even, despite the two-vessel cord!! His body is measuring about a week ahead but his head is already measuring 40weeks....or full term!!!! OUCH! His head circumfernce was already 9.8cm and my pelvis is only 10cm, so if his head gets any bigger they are going to have to do a c-section. The hope is that he will grow into his head over the next month and his head will stay right where it is.

At my second appointment yesterday, with my regular OB, she officially removed the bedrest restricitions and the home health monitoring (which means no more sticking my self with needles 3 times a week, no more wearing a contraction monitor 2-6 hours a day and no more fanny pack 24/7 for my terbutaline pump!!!). I still have to take some oral pills (nifedipine) to help slow my contractions...so that hopefully we can make it to 36weeks before delivering, but she wants me to use the next week and a half to try to regain some stamina in order to birth my "very large headed child!"

I cannot express to you how truly blessed we feel to have reached this point. We have shocked both doctors and all my home health nurses and beat the odds!! Ah, the POWER OF PRAYER!!

After leaving the appointments yesterday, I got to go on my first outing in 14 weeks to Babies R Us. Let me just say we were there maybe 15 minutes and I was already hurting, sore and exhausted all over...this is going to be a long road of recovery to regain my stamina but I am thrilled to be at this point.

Jordan is still in shock after learning I am no longer on bedrest he seems to be walking around unsure of what to do or what his role is now. We are now a "normal pregnancy" no longer counting contractions daily and on the phone with nurses and doctors daily wanting to know my progress. He is not used to seeing me on my feet able to get my own things. He doesn't want to let me out of his sight for fear I will "go" at any moment now that I am on my feet. (I can't say that I blame him...I feel the same way.) I cannot say enough about how incredible he has been for me these last few months. Without him I could not have made it to 34.5 weeks. He has been my rock, my emotional and physical support and my caretaker...he has just completely blown me away!

Thank you for all of your prayers!!

I am posting some ultrasound pictures from a few weeks back. We are so excited to meet Hunter in person in the next few weeks!!!


Yep its a boy! (they cutoff the head in this picture, but trust me he has a head!)
3D/4D ultrasound at 25weeks (he is waving to us at the bottom right)

3D/4D ultrasound at 25weeks (his chin is resting on his forarm)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

You know Jordan's bored when...

Offseason is typically a fun time for Jordan and I to do things together that we can't do during the busy football season. It is such a blessing! We usually spend our time hanging out together, bowling, seeing movies, hanging out with friends, TRAVELING everywhere and Jordan usually goes Hunting or out to the land daily to putz around. Well...since moving to Houston, and being put on bedrest, the circumstances have changed. There is no land for him to putz around on, there has been no bowling, no seeing movies, no traveling, no hunting and very little hanging out with friends. Jordan has spent all his time right by my side taking care of me... as he is nervous to leave the house for extended periods of time for fear that I will go into labor or have to get out of bed to get something for myself. So...you could say this has been a pretty boring and uneventful time for us both but especially for Jordan considering this is usually his "fun" time. So in order to keep himself occupied he has created "projects" for himself around the house. He is very "hobby" oriented, unlike me, and everyday is a new adventure or new "project". Most of you know that Jordan is very creative by nature and also has a very good but interesting sense of humor. Below are some highlights of his "projects" this offseason.

You know Jordan's bored when...

He plants one rose bush in the backyard in THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY and "checks" its progress daily...

He fertilizes the yard... even though we PAY a yard crew to come out weekly to do lawn maintenance (which includes fertilization)

He draws very strange pictures ALL day and emails or mails them to various friends with no return address or explanation. (look closely or you will miss the humor)

There's more...

Yes. There is a person inside the sandwhich "Hammer Toe"...this one needs no explanation if you've seen Jordan's feet

I'm not sure where the inspiration for this one came from...And of course the awesome toy chest for Hunter that he has spent weeks making, although this "project" is too cute!

Quick story about the toy chest...so in the process of making this chest Jordan has used numerous power tools along with all kinds of woods and stains to make it the masterpiece that it is. One day after working hours out in the garage he came in the bedroom and said... "Ash...'hypothetically speaking' would it be bad if I accidently shot a nail (with my nail gun) through the bone of my finger?" I said "hypothetically??" and he said "well...sort of" and he proceeded to show me his finger where he had "hypothetically" shot a nail THROUGH his finger!! I couldn't help but notice how proud he seemed that he had shot himself with a nail gun THROUGH is finger. I asked him if he was ok and he said "yeah, I feel like a MAN now, I just pulled a nail out of my bone". For the rest of the day he walked with his head a little higher and I kept "catching" him eyeing his prized finger.

Later that night, as he began drawing more pictures, I looked over to see that this was his latest drawing...a re-enactment of the day's earlier events, now recorded for all time.Even on bedrest...there's never a dull moment I tell you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Baby Shower

Our baby shower was originally planned to be in Kansas City in December, but, after being put on bed rest in November it had to be cancelled…or so I thought. Our friends decided to bring it to us, in HOUSTON, since we couldn’t come to them. They all flew down the first weekend in January (8 ½ of them to be exact) with gifts from people who couldn’t make the trip. We had such an awesome weekend. They planned, shopped, decorated, cooked and threw us an awesome baby shower!! I spent the weekend on the couch while they did everything. My mom and Jordan’s mom were able to come too, and they cooked meals for all of us for the weekend.

We had such a fun time being together, hanging out, playing games and playing with little Landon (the ½). We had a great turnout at the shower too. Our friends in KC got to meet our friends in Houston. After the shower, they did my “nesting” for me and washed all of Hunter’s clothes and blankets and organized them into his armoire. They set up our pack-n-play, stroller and installed the car seat (all of which we got at the shower!) Because of them we are fully prepared and ready to bring him home any time now! It was such a wonderful weekend, that we will never forget. Jordan and I are so blessed to have such wonderful friends! We miss them daily and look forward to making a trip back to KC with Hunter in the spring.

Hanging out after the shower

Girls shopping trip to Babies R Us before the shower Look at all the stuff they bought!! Jordan and I with the moms
Yes...unfortunately I was having too many contractions that day and had to wear the monitor (the thing strapped to my belly) and talk with the nurse during the shower...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Friends

One who supports, sympathizes with and trusts. Friends truly are gifts from God.

Over the past few months, Jordan and I have been overwhelmed at the response of our friends and family during this time of our lives. Most of you now that at our 20 week level 2 ultrasound we found out that Hunter and I share a two-vessel cord or (Single umbilical artery). A normal umbilical cord has 2 arterys and 1 vein for a total of 3 vessels. Two-vessel cord occurs in 1% of pregnancies, and is associated with all sorts of birth defects and still birth. It is especially associated with heart problems, kidney problems and growth problems, due to insufficient blood flow between mom and baby. Upon hearing this devastating news I cried for days, fearing the worst. Immediately we called our family and friends to ask for prayers. It did not seem possible at the time that we could get through the next 20 weeks without crying and worrying every day. Jordan and I both were extremely worried, despite the overwhelming evidence, from our ultrasound, that Hunter did not appear to have any of these developmental problems (other than the umbilical cord anomaly). We have since then had a fetal echocardiogram to check his heart development and function, which came out perfectly, and once a month level 2 ultrasounds to monitor his growth, which so far he is 3 weeks ahead!!

Only days following this bad news, did I begin to experience pre-term labor symptoms, which I am confident was jump started as a result of the stress we had been under the last few days. From there it was bed rest and medication for the rest of the pregnancy. We then began to worry that we wouldn’t even make it to “viability” (24 weeks) before him being born, and that became the new focus or worry. Prayers began all over the country that we would make it to at least 32 weeks and that Hunter would be perfectly healthy despite the increased risk due to his umbilical cord. Immediately my best friend from Kansas City flew down to be with me over the weekend, after hearing the news. And I haven’t been alone since! My family and friends have all traded off taking care of me while on bed rest over the last few months, while Jordan continued to work. Of course now that football is over he is my caretaker 24/7. We have been absolutely bombarded with emails, letters, phone calls and prayers from friends all over the country…literally. People we have never even met have emailed us and written us to let us know they are praying for us. After a few days of “mourning” I immediately felt a sense of calm come over me, like I knew everything was going to be ok, even though the concrete evidence had not changed. The prayers of friends and family all over were being answered, and since then we have been at peace about the situation and look forward to the birth of a healthy baby boy. I am now 33 weeks and still pregnant. Praise God!

Ski Trip January 2007 with KC friends

Patricia, Amber and Me in Houston September 2007

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Nesting, Cravings and Sympathy Weight Oh My!

So, this pregnancy has really done a number on Jordan. Ever since the beginning he has had more “cravings” than I have, gained more weight than I have… (although I just passed him up at the beginning of the third trimester), and his “nesting” instinct has been stronger than mine. For those of you who don’t know what Couvade Syndrome is, it is described as “sympathy pregnancy.” Some fathers get it and some don’t. Some common symptoms are mood swings, increased appetite or cravings, morning sickness and sympathy weight. Generally, Couvade Syndrome begins in the end of the first trimester and increases in severity until the third trimester. The only known cure for Couvade is -- birth.

Those of you who know Jordan know that he can put away a lot of food if he wants to. So, it comes as no surprise that he has continued that skill throughout my pregnancy. What has surprised me is that for the first time ever he actually gained weight during football season. He usually really struggles to “make weight” (meaning he is underweight) every Friday at weigh-in during football season. It is because he burns so many calories during the season and is only able to eat breakfast and dinner because of practice being so close to lunch. I mean for the past 5 years he has gone to some pretty extreme measures to ensure that he would weigh enough come Friday weigh-in. So, it was quite surprising to hear that he gained 15 pounds in the first 15 weeks of my pregnancy (I had not gained a pound!). He actually was told to lose weight for the first time in his football career…that is until he told the weigh-in guy that “his wife was pregnant”. After that they had sort of an “understanding” and he was never bothered about it again.

Despite him leveling off in the weight gain department his cravings, however, are just as strong as ever. The old joke about the husband having to leave in the middle of the night to go get his pregnant wife pickles and ice cream, or whatever she may be craving, is better suited for him! He has gone on more “outings” for his own cravings then for any of my cravings. You would think he is the pregnant one!!

Nesting is something that is generally done, by the mother, right before birth. It’s a sudden surge in energy and an urge to get things ready for the little one to come home. I have experienced said urge but have been unable to follow through due to my bed rest restrictions. That has not stopped Jordan though…are we surprised!! Among some other “projects” he has taken on recently, which I will fill you in on in future postings, he has decided Hunter needs a toy chest! He has been out in the garage for the past 2 weeks building this chest, at ALL hours of the night. In fact I just woke up at 3 a.m. (for one of my many potty breaks) only to find, Jordan is nowhere to be found!! I looked everywhere for him until I saw the light on in the garage. He was out there putting some finishing touches on Hunter’s toy chest, before he arrives, because you know he’s really going to be using that chest in the first few months!

This pregnancy has been such a blessing and a gift from God, and I am just glad I could share some of my wonderful “pregnancy symptoms” with Jordan. It is believed that the stronger the “Couvade Syndrome” the stronger the bond between daddy and baby when the baby is born. If that’s true then those two will be inseparable!



Hunter's Toy Chest (in progress)
Jordan working on Hunter's Toy ChestJordan cooking dinner

Saturday, February 2, 2008

We're Here!!

It's official we have entered the "blog" world. I figure since we live away from most of our family and friends this is the easiest way to keep everyone updated! I will do my best to keep this current, as this is very new to me. I will do a few "catch up" posts so you can see what's been happening lately.


To start...football season is officially over for Jordan and he is enjoying his much awaited time off right now. As most of you know we are pregnant and expecting our son, really anytime now, although he isn't due until March 22. This has been a very eventful pregnancy, which has landed me on bedrest for the majority of it which means Jordan's "time off" has more or less been him taking care of me...to which I am very grateful. I am 33 weeks pregnant and on week 12.5 of bedrest due to pre-term labor and I only have 3 more weeks of bedrest to go!!! We are very excited for the arrival of Hunter but we hope he waits a few more weeks, so he can have more time to develop.



For those of you that we haven't seen in a while here are some pictures to catch you up!


17 weeks


24 weeks


29 weeks


29 weeks (at my baby shower)


29 weeks (with Patricia at my baby shower)




We would like to thank you all for all of your prayers and support these last few months. We are looking forward to celebrating the birth of a healthy baby boy...whenever he decides to make his entrance!