Saturday, May 28, 2011

Arrivederci Italia

Another Basketball season has come and gone. This year in Italy has included a lot of new experiences! We started in Treviso then moved to Montegranaro. We tried (I'm not nearly as good as Ryan) to learn Italian. But the best part of this year is the new addition to our family. Asher has already changed our lives so much and definitely for the better. We are loving being parents! I can't help but just sit and stare him every chance I get. One of my favorite things to do is sit and watch Ryan talk to him and hold him. Another great thing about having Asher is enjoying all of the visitors! We have had an amazing time with all of the family who has come to see us. Right now my parents along with Kim and Tyler are here visiting. We started off here in Montegranaro then traveled to Assisi, Siena, Florence, Genoa, Portofino, Cinque Terra and now we're off to Venice! We'll be coming home in the next couple of days and could not be more excited to introduce Asher to all of our friends and family back in the States. I don't have many pictures and they aren't that great. My brother in law was the trip photographer. Better pictures to come!
Lunch in Montegranaro
Then off to Assisi

In Assisi this random guy cleaning at the Basilica stopped us when he saw Asher. He said that he wanted to give Asher a gift. He said that babies remind him of the Restoration and so he wanted to give Asher a coat hook that he had restored out of incredibly old wood. It was very random but also very sweet.
Lion King anyone?
Then we moved on to Siena
The boys hanging out in Centro of Siena. Beautiful!
Hanging out and reading about the area
We kept track of how many gelato's we ate on the trip. I won't mention how many it was!

Then we moved on to Florence
Asher turned 3 weeks in Florence! He's getting so old!
Playing cards outside our hotel
The view from our hotel room in Florence
Gammie and Bumpa hanging out with Asher
Hanging out on the Ponte Vecchio

Then off to Cinque Terra...BEAUTIFUL!
Just a couple adorable pictures of our little buddy on the trip. He was absolutely perfect. He made it easy to travel all around with a 3 week old newborn. Love him!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Catch Up

The days are passing quickly and to be honest it is making me sad! I already have a two week old baby and he is growing and changing so much. We have been lucky to have a baby who loves to sleep and eat. He lets me get at least 5 hours of straight sleep at night and then wants to eat but goes right back to sleep. I'm definitely not complaining!
Asher at ONE WEEK OLD! May 8th, 2011. Mother's Day!
Celebrating my very first Mother's Day! Ryan made my mom and me German Pancakes in the morning. Delicious! Then we relaxed all day- Heaven! At night we went to Casa de Campo, our favorite restaurant. It was perfect!
Asher's first sponge bath. He loved every second!
Asher and daddy laying out to get rid of Asher's jaundice. It worked! It's gone!
Our little bundle of joy!
They love snuggle time!
Asher's first Basketball game! Wearing his perfect gift from John and Mckell. A onesie with "Toolson" and "22." It was so cute and everyone loved Asher. He was the star of the game!

TWO WEEKS OLD! My goodness. My little newborn has already changed. He is awake more throughout the day, his eyes wander more and when he tries to focus on something he goes cross-eyed. It's hilarious! We love Asher to pieces and we are enjoying every second of him being in our lives!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THE Labor Story

Here I am going to tell my labor story! Before you read, know that I consider this blog as my personal journal. A lot of people have been asking about the story so here it is! I am going to tell the whole story with no "sugar coating" and I will spare no details. Read at your own risk! It is a novel.

My due date was April 27th, 2011. That day came and passed without any contractions or any signs of labor. It was actually great because my mom had just barely arrived the 26th and so this gave us a couple days just to spend time with one another. Then the next two days passed. I was starting to feel frustrated. We were walking hours a day, doing acupressure, drinking raspberry tea, eating spicy foods and still there were no signs of labor. I went in for a monitoring appointment on the 28th and they told me that everything was looking fine and that I just needed to hang in there. After one week and a day I would be induced. I didn't even want to think of being pregnant that much longer. I couldn’t wait any longer to meet our little guy! They scheduled me for another monitoring appointment to take place Saturday April 30th.

April 29th at exactly 10:04pm contractions began. I wasn't sure if these were just Braxton Hicks or if they were going to be something consistent. Ryan and my mom immediately began recording the time between the contractions and we were already getting very excited. I was walking around the couch in circles to keep me moving and doing different things to see if the contractions stayed consistent. They began 20 minutes apart and quickly went down to 10 minutes apart.

The hospital that I chose to deliver at is in a city called Ancona. It is a 40-minute drive from my house. I chose this hospital for two reasons. First, it is one of the best Children's Hospitals in all of Italy. It is only for children and labor/delivery. Second, they do epidurals! I have been planning most of my pregnancy to do this delivery natural because that is how they do it over here. In Treviso an epidural was not even an option whatsoever and in this area Ancona is the only hospital to offer them. They are never used though! The women are incredible. I had been told by my doctor to come to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart for 1 hour or if my water broke. When my contractions went down to 8 minutes apart we started skyping family telling them the time was coming and that we would most likely have the baby very soon! I took a shower and yelled out to Ryan every time I had a contraction so that he could record my timing. After my shower the contractions went back to 10 minutes apart. I decided to try and get some sleep. We went to bed but could barely sleep due to excitement and pain that I thought was bad at the time. How little did I know about pain! At 3am my contractions began to be 5 minutes apart. We waited one hour and woke my mom up so we could head out the door. We made the drive and arrived at the hospital at about 5:15.

The second I stepped out of the car I had a surprise. "Uh Ryan? I am peeing my pants and it doesn't stop even when I squeeze my legs together!" It was a very fast and strong flow! Well, my water broke! Wahoo! This is going to be easy and fast! I have contractions 5 minutes apart AND my water broke. Bring it on.

We walked into the hospital. It was a complete ghost town. There wasn't even a person at the "Pronto Soccorso" desk, which is the emergency desk. We decided to walk upstairs to the Maternity ward. We walked the hallways to not find a single nurse, doctor, cleaner or anyone! All of the rooms were full of sleeping women with their babies. My contractions were getting stronger and my pants were completely soaked from my water breaking.

We're standing in the hallway and I'm almost in tears when finally a nurse comes walking towards us. She was lucky because Ryan was about to start a scene. She told us that every delivery room is full and every nurse and doctor is in on a delivery. We must wait until someone is finished! She let us in a room where I have done appointments so that I could have a seat. About 30 minutes later a doctor finally came to see us. I was excited because for sure I was going to be dilated to a 3 or 4. She gave me the news. Dilated to a....ONE! Bummer. We filled out some paperwork and then she sent us up to the floor above in order to fill out MORE paperwork and be done checking in.

We were finally put into a room with one other girl. We were exhausted. I immediately changed into my nightgown and my mom helped me get situated. Here in Italy, you bring everything you and the baby will need. Everything. Even your own toilet paper. I was only allowed to have one person in the room with me at a time so my mom and Ryan took turns in the room with me and the other person would try to get some rest on a chair in the hallway. My contractions were still a consistent 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. My mom or Ryan would help me count through the minute and try to breathe in order to stay calm. It was now about 8am. 10 hours into labor. No I.V. No pain medicine. Nothing.Different nurses were coming in and out doing monitoring and every hour they would check me for dilation. Still nothing.

Later, my doctor finally came in my room to visit me. He told me that when there was a room available downstairs in the pre-delivery room he would have me moved. That was the only time I saw my doctor the entire 4 days. He told me that when I was dilated to 3cm I would get my epidural. I still have not been given any sort of pain medication whatsoever. At home in the States I most likely would have been given morphine or something to cope with the pain of the contractions. Here...nothing. Incredibly strong contractions, 5 minutes apart, ranging on the scale from 10-12 in strength. A 12 is the highest.

2pm something amazing happened. John and Mckell arrived! The second they walked into the room my mom and I burst into tears. It was so refreshing to see them. It is so stressful being in a rough situation and not understanding anything that is going on around you. They were a breath of fresh air! Ryan was trying his very best to speak Italian to every nurse and doctor that came my way. He was trying to see if there was something they could do for the pain but the answer was always no. Mckell had the best idea. Ryan needed to give me a blessing. It was exactly what I needed. It gave me some more energy and helped me to realize again the reason I was going through this pain. It was an amazing experience to have both Ryan and John there and worthy to give me a Priesthood blessing. The Spirit was strong and we all knew that I was being watched over. John and Mckell stayed with us for a few hours. They were so supportive. Breathing with me through my contractions and helping to pass the time by playing cards in between the 5 minutes. Later they left to go get some sleep and be ready to come back the next day.

A few hours passed and there were still no signs of progress. Still not dilated but now my contractions were even more painful (consistent 12) with a lot of back labor and 3 minutes apart. I was now feeling awful. The pain was becoming unbearable. At about 6pm they moved me downstairs to a different pre-delivery room. There were four beds all filled with other women. I was put back in a corner with dividers in between the beds and luckily both my mom and Ryan could stay with me. Neither of them had eaten a single thing all day and had maybe gotten an hour of sleep. They were still there with me being 100% supportive and helping me the best that they could.

This is now when the real fun began. I was screaming every 3 minutes for the next 4 hours. I was gripping everything around me telling Ryan I truly didn't think I could do this. I had been in labor for about 20 hours. I even consider myself to be a tough girl and I am willing to do anything for my sweet baby but honestly I was feeling like this would never end. Girls were coming into the room and leaving within a couple hours to go have their babies. I was feeling like my turn would never come. I was exhausted, fatigued, traumatized and was pleading with Heavenly Father to give me more strength. I had done hypnobirthing and some other natural birth preparation before I found out I would be able to get an epidural. None of that was working. I couldn't even clear my mind for the 2 minutes in between because my body was still aching from the previous contraction and I was now vomiting from the pain. Again, like I said before, I did not have a single ounce of medicine in me. Not even a Tylenol. At one point during a contraction I even yelled, “Will someone please help me!!” This had gone on way too long. Did I mention I was still dilated at a one?

My mom told me to get up. We had to go walking. This was going on way too long and now we had to try something new. We walked the hallways for 15 minutes stopping every 2 minutes for me to have a contraction. I walked so slow it was ridiculous. Pretty sure I scared every single person in the hallway. It would heave me over onto my mom and tears would stream down my face. We're now at 22 hours of labor with about 6 hours of contractions every 3 minutes. My mom would make me take drinks of water because I was becoming dehydrated from vomiting so often. We would get back to the room and Ryan would help me count through the contractions for the next 45 minutes. Then Ryan would get me out walking. Same thing happened 4 times.

At about 10:30pm I was checked again for dilation BUT a new doctor was on shift. Did I mention that even though they offer epidurals not all of the doctors like them? Some don't mind but others really don't like the interfering. I had one of the doctors that didn't like them on shift this night. She now said that I had to be dilated more towards a 4 than a 3. I almost punched her. It had now been 24 hours. The nurse that had been on duty had been trying her very best to help me. She was feeling horrible for me. I had been through 3 shifts of nurses by this time and had watched about 10 other girls from my room come and go. She would rub my face and let me squeeze her hand when she was in the room. She told the doctor I was dilated to a 3 and the doctor said that I had to wait until I was a 4. The nurse helped me more then she will ever know. She told the doctor I was a few contractions away from a 4. I wasn't. I was finally able to get my epidural after 25 hours of completely natural labor.

The anesthesiologist arrived. I literally started crying. My body was shaking and trembling along with having horrible chills. The anesthesiologist said that my body was in shock from all of the pain. He worked quickly to get me the epidural and he was even angry that he hadn't been notified that I had been going through this for so long. He told me that in 20 minutes I would finally be able to get some rest and that I needed to do my best to get some sleep. He explained to me that in America we do epidurals to numb the entire body to the point of no feeling. He wouldn't do this to me. He said he wanted me to have some feeling left in order to be able to push when the time came. I was fine with this. Anything to help even a little bit. The epidural kicked in and I felt like a new person. I was beginning to think clearly again instead of in major survival mode. I was able to relax my body instead of having constant charlie horses in my calves and shoulders from having my entire body clench so tight.

A new nurse came on to shift. All four beds were now empty. My mom and Ryan were emotionally exhausted. They had both been through a lot just having to watch me and support me for the last 26 hours. The nurse let them each take a bed and we were all able to sleep for about 4 hours. This nurse was amazing. She would come and check me for dilation about every half hour. I was still at a 3 for another 6 hours. The doctor and anesthesiologist came in to ask me how I was doing. I had begun to feel my contractions all again. The doctor told me I needed to deal with the pain because she didn't want him to give me more medication. The epidurals are run differently here. It's not on a constant drip. You have to be injected and then it lasts for a few hours before it needs to be replenished. The anesthesiologist watched for the doctor to leave and he hurried and gave me more medicine. He was an Angel. I was able to sleep until 6am. I was checked for dilation and the time had come. I was at an 8!

A new shift of nurses had come on and the anesthesiologist was dismissed. The doctor came in and told the nurses to remove my epidural. Stop the medicine. She told me I would deliver within the hour and that I would stay numb. I didn't even know how to argue with her. The nurses did as they were told. The epidural was stopped.

A midwife came in and began to work with me once I was dilated to a 10. I started pushing at about 8am. I was constantly being monitored to watch the baby’s heart rate and also to watch how strong my contractions were. They had been above a 12 to get me dilated before I could get my epidural and now they were back to a 12 when I was starting my pushing. The epidural was wearing off and it was happening quickly. By 9:30am my feeling was back and I was going to have this baby naturally. At this point I just wanted this to be over with. I went to another place mentally and pushed and pushed for the next hour until they moved me into where I would deliver. At first they had me standing up and I loved this. Gravity was on my side. Then when the time came I was put on the table and I pushed and screamed at the top of my lungs. Ryan encouraged me and tried to comfort me the best that he could. There is no way I would have made it through the delivery without him. My poor mom had to stand right outside the door and all she could do was hear me screaming. Then after a lot of extremely hard pushing and an unbelievable amount of pain the most amazing experience occurred. They put a bunch of sheets on me and then laid my two-second-old baby right on me. Umbilical cord still attached and all! They cut it while he was laying on me. This was the most surreal experience. I was so exhausted and in so much pain but at that moment nothing else mattered. Ryan and I were able to look at our son and one another and just cry. What a miracle. It was over. He was here. He was healthy. I survived and all of the previous chaos was forgotten about the second we saw him. Our lives were changed forever and we couldn’t have been happier. I was now a mommy! Ryan was now a daddy!

It was so great having Ryan able to follow Asher through the whole process of his first bath, being weighed, measured, poked (sad) and all of that kind of stuff. Ryan would walk back and forth telling me the results. I had thought that once I was done delivering the pain would be done. I was wrong! I was stitched up for the next 45 minutes without being numbed completely. It was very long and painful but it had to be done. I had popped a blood vessel from all of the pushing so that had to be stitched up along with then having to use a catheter for the next day to avoid any sort of infection.

Delivering in a different country was quite the experience. It really turned out to be something we will never forget and we are so grateful for a healthy baby. There were a lot of things that I wish would have gone better but truly it turned out fine. The doctors, nurses and staff were so amazing and sweet (minus the ONE grumpy doctor.) They took such great care of me and I couldn’t have asked for more nurturing nurses to work with Asher. They would snuggle him and give him kisses constantly. The midwife that delivered him was so kind and calming to both him and me. I never once felt like I was in the hands of people that didn't know what they were doing. They cared for us and did everything they do here in Italy to make me comfortable. I got lucky and had a room to myself for the next 48 hours even though there was another bed and I should have had a “roomie.” THAT was lucky. Ryan was able to spend one night with me and my mom spent the next. Did I tell you there were no showers? It actually ended up not being a big deal. My sweet mom washed my hair in the sink!

There was a lot of stress and pain involved but I would go through it a million times over to get this little angel of ours. We are so blessed to have him in our lives and we know that our lives have now been changed forever. We’re so grateful for all of the people that were praying for us back at home during this whole process. Everyone has always told me that when you have a newborn it will be one of the most amazing days ever. Well, it was the longest 37 hours of my life but that moment that we first met Asher changed my life forever. It was the best moment of my life. We love you Asher! Thanks for choosing us as your family!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Asher Michael Toolson

Our sweet baby boy has arrived!
Asher Michael Toolson
8 lbs. 10 oz.
20.5 inches
May 1st, 2011 at 11:07am (Italian time)
Ancona, Italy

He is a perfect baby! We are so thrilled to have him here with us. What a blessing he already is to our lives. The labor story and way more pictures to come!
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