One year ago today... a Christmas in July tale

*She was sort of a miracle baby to us.  When Azriella was 18 months old we got pregnant, and we were so ecstatic!!  But after few weeks, and a trip to the Emergency room to get a Rhogham shot later, we lost the baby.  Fast forward to June 2010, after a several attempts to get pregnant we finally got a positive reading!!!  I was so happy, and couldn't wait for my 12week ultrasound!!  But as I watched the screen my happiness washed away as they told me that the baby was dead, that it died a few weeks back, and that it was a missed miscarriage.  I just had to basically "wait" until baby passed.  One day while we were at Ikea, I told Jon we needed to get home NOW.  I was in a lot of pain and knew the inevitable was about to happen.  I'll be damned if I let that happen in an Ikea bathroom stall!!!!!!!  So we got home and he circled our block to find parking, and by the time Jon came through the door, I was already in tears.  The placenta had passed and you could see the tiny little lifeless baby inside... god, I'm crying now just remembering that.  We buried the baby with the other one in a blueberry plant that we kept in our small garden.  I felt so numb.  The doctors told me there wasn't any real reason for those miscarriages so I never knew what I could have done to make it different.  I was so careful and so cautious.  And I grew resentful of all pregnant women and, equally as irrational, parents with two or more little children.

I don't care if you think I was wrong for those thoughts, and if you judge me harshly and you haven't been through a miscarriage then you will never understand the feelings you get after you lose your baby.   

One month later, I got another positive reading, but at this point I just don't let myself get excited.  Isn't that sad?!  Well, good thing I didn't because when I was at the OBGYN to get an official testing, I got my period, although I did still give them a faint positive reading.  This time was a chemical pregnancy, where my body thinks it's pregnant, but there isn't any actual baby.  The doctor recommended that I wait three whole months before trying again.  What!?  Really, I get it and all, but if I were to do that then I would be giving birth to a baby right at the same time as Azriella whose birthday already falls six days before my own!!  Well that wasn't going to work.  I compromised, and duped Jon into thinking I wasn't ovulating and we got pregnant a month and a half later.  This time I waited till I was at least 6 weeks before going to get a confirmation.  

I cannot not express my elation when I saw that little dot flash on the ultrasound screen.

And at the twelve week ultrasound visit, while I cringed to look at the screen again, I saw a little baby, striving and growing even a little ahead of schedule!!  Now, I could finally allow myself to let go and be happy!  I reveled in looking at those ultrasound pics!  

A couple of months later we learned that baby was another girl!  Yeay!  More dresses to make!!  

It took us forever for us to agree on a name.  After several months of nada, I turned to a book that I found inspirational for names when I came up with Azriella's name: A Dictionary of Angels,but the names in that book are amazing and it's 352 pages long!!  Azriella came from Azriel.  Long before she was even thought of, I knew I was going to name my child if she was a girl Azriella.  But sheesh!  It took months and millions of names to finally agree on Sephira.  I was looking at that book and I came across Sephiroth and it said to learn more about the name to look at Sefira.  But being the video game dorks that we are,  I recognized the name Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series.  Angel name, who knew?! So I flipped to Sefira and found this:

Pretty amazing stuff right?!  I let Jon make the decision on whether or not to spell it with a "ph" or an "f"."  And it passed all of my criteria:  must be easy to read and pronounce, must be pretty damn original, and it must sound princess-y.  And "Sephira" and it's meaning passed all of those.  It was an epic trip to Starbucks that day!

Everything went swimmingly with this pregnancy which was totally different from my previous ones: This one was delightfully and blissfully "boring," with a heaping helping of morning sickness! 

One year ago today, we went out for lunch at my favorite Pho restaurant in Philly.

I had just worked my last shift at Tria two days before and was officially on my maternity leave.  I never expected to go into labor on my due date (I mean, who does, lol), so I felt no reason to stop working.  I figured it would be a real ho hum day just like Azriella’s due date which came and went.

We got home and Jon was playing Resident Evil and my mom was on the phone upstairs. I had some mild pain so I kept note of it, but went on playing with Azriella. 

“Could you please stop playing that?”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t know if I’m going into labor but if I am I don’t want my last thoughts to be of you shooting zombies.”

“(laughing) That’s fair.  Azriella- you want to go play in the pool?”

Famous last words.  Rapidly increasing, I mean fast, I go to call for help but no one is around.  I waddle over to the back door and mumble that I think it might be time to go to the hospital. 

Okay! 

[insert racing music]

get preggers to the hospital!

Cue the you know what in a fancy car that decides he doesn’t like my husband riding his ass.  He thinks it would be a good idea to pace us.

“MY WIFE IS IN LABOR!  !***?!@*!!! GO!

Even though I swore I wouldn’t be a hero again after an induced

and natural birth for Azriella, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  Nope. 

“Make sure I get an epidural, baby.”

“Alright, okay.”

I’ll leave out all the writhing and agony and just unbelievably painful.  Suffice it to say it was the epitome of bad.  No news there!

Azriella was happy with my mom watching Pokemon over and over.

Epidural sure makes things better!  Especially if you are good at sitting perfectly still when you are in gut wrenching gut-wrenchingness.  I am not.  But I managed to pull through this time!  Pushing was a little more effort but ehh, she was a bigger baby! And sooo much hair!!  You never know what you’re cooking in there and it’s the ultimate surprise, right?!

Sephira Zen was born at 10:17pm EST and weighed 7.9lbs. 

She had some complications though, so to my unbelievable dismay, they were going to have to take her straight to the NICN.  They did allow me to nurse her, which she did!! Immediately!!  Ohhhh, how I didn’t want to let her go!  I cried so badly when they did.

 Jon stayed with me and Azriella went home with my mom.  My first dinner request?  Double meat double cheese hoagie from the Wawa across the street.  I had been craving hoagies since I was 2 months pregnant and now I could finally have one!  Yeay!!

I woke up uncontrollably bawling at 3 in the morning.

I hadn’t slept by my lonesome since before Azriella. Since she was 3 months old, we've been a sleep-sharin' family.  I adore sleep sharing.  It doesn't get much better than curling up to sleep next to your little one(s).

With Jon in the pull out couch next to me and my new baby on a totally different floor (and sadly not my room), I laid in that bed feeling completely, alone.  It was such an incredible feeling of emptiness and I was immediately overwhelmed.  Jon woke to the sound of my wails and said to buzz the nurse.  She wheeled me down to my sweet bundle and it was Christmas again.  *sigh*

I love that she looks like a baby ninja in this photo. An awesome ninja, born yesterday!

I fought so damn hard to keep them from giving her any formula.  I sat every minute waiting for the moments I was able to go to her to nurse her (try to nurse.  She was so not into eating We each took turns (Jon, Jacq (Jon's sister), my mom and myself) yelling telling this one nurse in particular that there will be no reason to give her formula- I had an over supply with Azriella and that I would be able to produce.  You should've seen the amount of colostrum I was literally pumping out!!  Lots!  A fellow pumper said she never saw milk that color and so much of it! More than they needed by far.  I was bound and determine to show them (especially that one nurse who said I wouldn't be able to produce enough) up!!

My poor little baby had a spinal tap which would eventually come back inconclusive, but not until after week or so. 

There was one night where I was discharged but Sephira was still in the NICN.  Jon was by my side as I stayed with her as long as absolutely possible that night.  That was emotionally the longest, saddest walk to the car (or subway. I can't remember.) ever.  I was a real piece of work that night. 

I took the subway first thing in the morning to go to be by her side.  I'd sit in that waiting room staring at my phone for either a call from the nurse that baby was hungry or that enough time had elapsed that I could go back and try and nurse her.

Later that same day actually, a doctor asked me if I would want to be in a special Pediatric suite with her for the duration until she would be ready to go home.  It would be at least a week more till she would be considered to be dismissed. 

Room in with her!?!  You better BELIEVE I would!!!!

Later, Jon and I were shown to the room.  It was like a little hospital hotel room!  We had access to a shared kitchen area and baby swings and bouncers that we could have in the room as well if we so chose.  And from that air conditioned wonderland, we even had an incredible view of the blazing city, bustling below.  And I'd later come to enjoy the fact that the nurses were the best I had ever encountered in that hospital (of which I had frequented more than I ever would have liked)!

see her tiny little cast? :-(

 You know how people call that time right after having the baby the "babymoon?"  Well this was definitely the babymoon suite!  We rushed home and gathered my computer and chargers and clothes and more hoagies lol and rushed back to the hospital.  I set up camp and then in they wheeled my perfect little baby and everything was right with the world... sorta.  She had to be constantly hooked up to monitors and that baby IV with the big ol towel bandaged over it to keep it in place was pretty sad looking, like a baby cast.  And Jon and everyone who visited had to be gone by 8pm.  But spending that first hellish baby week, albeit alone, was much easier being in a hospital room with nurses nearby and my meals all planned out!

And I had my baby with me at all times and that made it Christmas all over again!!

One thing that was rough was not seeing my little Azriella.  I missed her so much!!  I'd cry sometimes missing her and sometimes when she visited she would get bored and would want to leave early and that would make me cry (obviously I didn't let them ever leave before 8, lol)!  Damn hormones!!!

I always counted the minutes till Jon would be done work to he could rush to be with us!

My mom and Azriella.  She was getting really good at drawing sillly faces!

My favorite hospital pic.  Like the sunggli I made?!  You can see she's still "plugged in" though lol.

Me and my two girls, first pic!

Some nights were good, some nights were hell.  I still have all of my documentations of her bm, pee, and nursing logs!  Even in this ward she always had to be hooked up to monitors.  With so many cords and only reaching so far, I used to joke that I couldn't wait to take her home where she could be finally be "cordless!"

One night (after having been sorta destroyed from various clothes changes) she had to have her IV moved to her other hand.  They wheeled her way down the hall to do the procedure and I went to the bathroom and put my hands on my ears to drown out her screaming.  That poor baby was poked and prodded enough for ten babies I felt.  But she's a trooper.  And I was so proud of how good she was overall about the whole ordeal.  She slept. A lot.  For as much as 7 hours in one sitting one day!  It may have been rough being away from Jon and Azriella, but I had my baby and I was so very grateful.

So tiny in that carseat!!  And me in front of our old house in Philly on the day we brought her home.  I made my shirt there.

 Finally, after being in the hospital for 8 days, I could bring my baby home for the first time!

Love from family!

and from little cousins and aunts and great grandmas too!

Made a froggie sleep sack from my little froggie.

Shortly after her birth, I found a house that we wanted out in Portland, Or.  It was perfect for us.  We got the bid and Jon moved out here 9 days before us to start his new job.  Azriella, Sephira (only 8 weeks old at the time) and I flew six hours to be reunited with Jon.  I proclaimed that we should never part for that long again, and that I am never moving a newborn and a 4 year old by myself ever again as well!

After a grueling, "worse time in my life" to date month of hell and devil moving companies and motel hopping, the house finally closed and we could start our lives anew in our first home with our happy little chibi family.

{hotel life. the month long saga}

probably my favorite onesie:  a decapitated bambi with green dots

30th birthday hike sporting a shirt, baby carrier with waterproof sleeping hood and matching attachable diaper bag all made by moi!  Oh, and a sleeping Sephira!

happy to finally be in our home!

First time in a cart. Note all the pillows and towels ;-)

remember this from her ninja pic?  Now it fits, lol.  Whatever.  I'm still super proud of how it turned out!

The Eeyore progression.  from tiny baby till it barely fits.  I friggin love this thing!!  It's got Eeyores on the feet and a tail too!

Camera flashes can make awesome baby expressions

homemade christmas jammies

at the nickel arcade

One of my favorite photos.  Seriously, the one on the left is my phone's lock screen!  At the grocery store in the car cart.  guess it looked delicious!

7month doctor visit

all you can eat sushi!  my kids can totally hold their own!

awe.  they love each other... sometimes ;-)

second breakfast anyone?  I love my little hobbit.

Easter!!  With grandma visiting!!!!

9 month doctors visit

i will have a more amazing back and Princess Mononoke and Moro will be forever emblazoned, with Sephira's name in the trees.

That little girl completely enchants me.  From time to time, I will look at/embrace/think of my children and me literally moved to tears with joy.  Motherhood is more rewarding than I had ever imagined and my girls are without a doubt the most felicific, serendipitously amazing people I could ever meet (and certainly ever create!)

With all of my being soul,I love you Sephira

Happy 1st birthday!

Love,

Mom

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