Nick's sister Monica took this video of our little niece Keely. Apparently, I'm "big Caroline". As the story goes, she has a friend named Caroline and she needed something to differentiate. I would have picked "beautiful" vs. "cute" or something like that, but that's ok :).
It's hard to believe that it's been over 2 weeks since Nick's back surgery. He had two full days at home for his recovery, and then - bam! - Ellie arrived on the scene. In the last 11 days, he's kind of been on the back burner as we've welcomed our daughter and adjusted to her arrival. Although he still has "tremors" of the old pain and occasional numbness in his leg, he is pretty much pain-free and we are so grateful for this surgery and for how the timing worked out just right. He might not be able to bend or lift or twist or put on his pants (hee hee), but a huge burden has been lifted - for both of us.
Today, he got his freaky-looking stitches out and had a good report from the doctor. In 4-6 more weeks, he'll be able to start physical therapy and start moving and lifting a bit more...
Through all of this, we learned a lot. Here are just a few of the many things we learned and continue to learn:
1) Prayer - We noticed that our prayers were more earnest and more sincere during this time. It seems that we pray more often and more fervently when we're suffering or going through a hard time than when things feel ok. In January and February, we read Psalm 13's "How long, O Lord?" and truly cried out for mercy. But, we need to pray like this in both good and hard times, because we are always in need of great mercy, and we are always in need of God.
2) Marriage - "In sickness and in health"... this part of our marriage vows came back to me over and over again as I cared for Nick when I was feeling huge and pregnant, and I'm sure it has been on Nick's mind as he has served me over the last 10 days.
3) Selfishness - In the past few months, we both "deserved" to be selfish in a way, as we dealt with physical changes. But we couldn't think about it that way, and we had to consider the other before we considered ourselves. We will definitely continue to learn this lesson as we now have to consider Ellie's needs, often before or above our own. I am encouraged and motivated by the verse in Galations, which refers to Christ as someone who "loved us and gave himself up for us."
Hey all! Sorry for the absence here on the old blog, but I can explain...
Yep, our daughter Eleanor ("Ellie") was born on March 6, 2010! I've been taking a short break from music while we've been busy getting adjusted. But I'm sure Ellie will give me lots of things to sing about in the future! She already has....
This morning, I woke up with Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" in my head... "On my knees in the night sayin' prayers in the street light." That definitely made me laugh out loud. :)
But, that's not what this post is about...
My sister Haley has a family blog that makes me laugh out loud all of the time. She says she has "good material" with her hilarious three kids. Maybe I'm biased because I know Charly, Ridge, and Cobb personally and I'm their aunt, but I don't think so. :)
For example, I totally laughed out loud at this Kisses post.
We came home from the hospital on Monday, and the time since has been so many things - joyful, overwhelming, fun, tiring, exciting, hormonal (Nick, not Caroline... um, just kidding)... Slowly but surely we are adjusting, and - even with the overwhelming, emotional moments - we are so grateful for Ellie, this amazing gift from God.
Going home... hook 'em (of course).
A few first pics...
A few of our visitors...
With the fam... Thanks Mimi and Papeaux for all your awesome help!!!
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
Woah. I can't believe that's the title of this post!
I called the on-call nurse this morning because I thought I might be leaking some amniotic fluid (i.e. we thought my water might have broken). Nick actually made me do it, because I'm super scared of being that high maintenance pregnant girl that calls about everything. Nick reminded me that this is kind of a big deal. Oh yeah. :)
Still, we were pretty sure it was nothing. But, they wanted us to come into the hospital to get things checked out anyway. It turns out that my water did, in fact, break! Aaah! I actually think it started leaking last night around 8 pm. They said that usually, babies come within 12-24 hours of that first leak. Still, I'm only about 2 cm and 50% effaced, with just irregular contractions, so I'm not quite in active labor yet. They said I was welcome to stay and wait it out, or we could go home and see how things progressed from here. If the contractions aren't 5 min apart by 6 pm, they want me to go ahead and come back in... to stay. They say she'll be born tomorrow. Woah.
So, what did we do? Eat! At the Black Cow. I've been craving the clam chowdah. And now we're here at home waiting things out and timing these contractions. Hopefully our next post will be to introduce our daughter!
My sister called me this morning to wish me a "happy due date" and I just cracked up laughing. It's like my birthday or something! Woo hoo!
Yes, today is the big 4-0. Weeks, that is. The day we've been anticipating. The day when nothing akin to labor will happen? Most likely. :)
Quick update...We saw the doctor yesterday, and I'm now 1 cm dilated. She also [earmuffs, guys] "stripped my membranes." Feeling crampy, but I've been feeling like this for a week and a half already. She said if she were to put a "Vegas bet" on it, Itty Bitty would come on Monday. We like the sound of that, actually! A few more days to recover from surgery, but not too many! Plus, Auntie Flare will be home from her wedding, and my mom and dad bought a flight for the 9th. We have an ultrasound on Monday, and another doctor's appointment for next Thursday. They said if I go past next Sunday (10 days), they'll think about induction.
In other news, Nick is less greasy because he got to take a shower today. Happy Shower Day to you, Nick! He is taking it very easy and is pretty limited in his motion, but the sciatic pain is still keeping its distance. There have been some spasms in his left leg (something that used to happen when the nerve was pinched), which is kind of scary, but we're hoping it's a normal nervous system reaction and not an indication that the surgery didn't work. We're still very optimistic, and so thankful that we got to have the surgery! We took some pics of the stitches, but I decided it was a little gross for the blog. If you like looking at that sort of thing, I am happy to e-mail them your way. :)
I've been working a little bit, we've been eating some food and hanging out, but we've mostly been doing a whole lot of this to pass the time...
Yes, that's Annie you see there at the top. And the Sound of Music. I told Nick he needs some classic movie education and I'm making it happen because he's a captive audience. I mean, how has he not seen Annie, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, etc?! For every 3 or so cool/indie/foreign/award-winning type of films, we're gonna watch something classic!
Well, Itty Bitty Smitty decided it would be a good idea to hang out for another night and not come, which Nick and I both appreciated. She is very obedient already. I had some friends "on call" to take me to the hospital just in case something crazy happened, but I'm really glad we didn't have to go there! Thanks for waiting, small one!
Today, Nick worked with a PT to get in and out of bed, sit in a chair, walk, and climb some stairs. He got a little queasy walking up the stairs, but otherwise did GREAT! He is standing straight again (which he hasn't been able to do for months), and there is no pain down his leg - all of the pain is centralized where the incision is. He's now on the same amount of pain meds (percocet) as he was before we came in for surgery. They said we could stay another night if we wanted to, but he would rather be home so they are discharging us this afternoon after he gets a good lunch and they can make sure he is still handling the pain meds/leftover anesthesia alright.
We had a lot of questions for the PT... like what Nick can and can't do, especially with the baby coming. We had gotten the sense that the recovery would be a little tougher and more restrictive than we originally thought, but now we know it for sure. He'll really need to lay low, walking only 10 minutes at a time at first. He won't be able to lift things more than 7 lbs (about a gallon of milk) for about 6-8 weeks. In real terms, this means he won't be able to get the baby in and out of the crib or put her down/lift her off the changing table. We were grateful to hear that he'll be able to hold her though... someone will just need to bring her to him. This is hard to grapple with, especially when imagining our parents no longer being around to help after a couple of weeks.
BUT, with the pain he was feeling before, he really wasn't able to do much of this stuff anyway! We are so glad that he will be able to be emotionally engaged and (hopefully) pain-free when our daughter comes. We are so glad to hear that he can hold her, even if he can't pick her up. We have a really good community around us, and we are finally getting to the point where we can humbly ask for help too :).
We have learned much in this process about trusting God, suffering, and marriage. I'll probably blog a few of our lessons learned in the near future. But for now, suffice it to say that He remains our "ever present help in trouble."
Thank you to so many of you for praying for Nick's surgery today... and also for all of your e-mails, phone calls, and texts. We arrived at the hospital around noon, Nick went into pre-op around 1:15, his surgery lasted from 3 to 5, and he was in recovery until about 7. I didn't get to see him until after he came out of recovery, so I was just chilling in the waiting room for about 5 hours. It was a really strange feeling - kind of scary - when I knew that Nick was actually in the surgery. I hadn't been worried until that moment, knowing that it was all completely out of my control.
Pre-surgery "johnny" hotness:
The doctor came down and talked to me after the surgery, and said that Nick had a "large disc protrusion" that was pressing against the nerve, and that he was able to remove it. He also said he was doing fine. I had to wait a few hours while they closed out the surgery and Nick was in recovery (I wish I had gotten to see him when he was loopy/in recovery, because that would have made for some funny moments, but alas, I did not).
I finally got to come up to see Nick around 7, and was honestly kind of shocked by all the tubes and at how serious things looked. He has tubes for oxygen and tubes for the pain meds and things on his legs that help with circulation and let off a "hiss hiss" sound every few minutes. We're not sure if everything "worked" in terms of the sciatic nerve because he's still on pain meds, but we're very hopeful. Our biggest fear is that it doesn't work - simply because we won't know what to do about the pain if it doesn't.
Post-surgery "tubey" hotness
I just learned that I won't get to spend the night at the hospital with Nick after all, which is a really big bummer. So, I'll probably head up to my apt. around 9:30 or so and come back tomorrow morning. The nurse (who is very nice!) said that he would be here until sometime in the afternoon.
Please do keep praying for Nick's recovery. Seeing him makes me worried that it might be rougher than we thought, but then again he's just out of surgery. And pray for little girl Smith to arrive at just the right time (which is hopefully not tonight! yikes!). God is good, He is in control, and we trust in Him.