Thursday, November 20, 2014

Birth Story of Carter Bradley Marsh

This story may seem wordy to some and include too much information, but that's kind of the way I tell stories, it was fun to read over everything I had written almost 8 months ago and what I had already forgotten!

Courtney has been having her appointments on Thursdays for the last month of pregnancy, so we were expecting to hear from her sometime before the end of Thursday, March 27th. So when I got a phone call from an UNKNOWN number at 5:11 I kind of started panicking. I knew it was probably Courtney, but didn't know what to expect. After we chatted for a bit, she gave us her latest update. We learned that she had gone in the night before because she was having contractions. She was still only dilated to a two and it was decided that she was still in PRE labor. Then at her appointment Thursday they stretched her membranes and she was almost measuring at a three. The doctor told her that he wouldn't be surprised if baby boy made his debut within the next 24 hours. So she told us to make sure we have our bags packed and loaded into the car. She also said if baby boy doesn't come, they had an induction scheduled for Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. Needless to say, I started freaking out at that point realizing that the latest baby boy would be coming was Monday. My heart instantly started racing and I started sweating bullets. Courtney and I continued to talk and we shared our excitement and agreed that Courtney would keep us posted on EVERYTHING!
After I got off the phone I instantly started jumping up and down screaming - almost in disbelief at how real everything was becoming. I called Brad right away (he was on his way home from work) and told him the latest.
We were both instantly perma-grin as we called our families to let them know the latest and told them we would keep them all posted. I spent the rest of the evening getting the house pulled together in tip top shape and finishing a few final things on my to-do list. Shaun had just left, after visiting with Megan for the afternoon and Zac and Karlie came up shortly after to visit with her. We spent the evening enjoying each others' company and anxiously anticipating every update we got from Courtney's mom.
After everyone left, I focused on getting our bags packed and loaded into the car, just in case. The house was pulled together, nursery ready, and had everything in the car - ready to go. Brad decided he was going to bed. Meanwhile I was trying to find things to do because there was no way I was going to be able to sleep at all. Courtney's mom continued to keep us updated. Just before 11:00 they were at the hospital and keeping her to be monitored for an hour to see if she made any progress - she was at a 3 and 80% effaced. At that point she told us to try to get a little bit of sleep, in case we had to drive through the night. I got in my pajamas and laid in bed, watching my phone for any new updates - not a wink of sleep.
An hour later, she was making progress and decided they would check her again at around 1:00. At 1:00 she sent us a text letting us know that they were keeping her and had called in the anesthesiologist. She was getting close enough to get her epidural! I tried to wake up Brad and tell him it was time to go. He woke up and said he needed another 30 minutes of sleep if he was going to make it through the drive. I agreed, set the timer on my phone and watched every second go by for the next 30 minutes. I woke him up right after the 30 minutes was up and we were on the road by 1:45.
on the road!
At that point she had just gotten her epidural. An hour later she was at a 5. The drive to the hospital was 3 hours - the longest 3 hours of our lives. I watched Frozen on our iPad, trying to help the time pass. At around 3:00 her water broke! That made us a little nervous, because you never know how fast things will go at that point. We tried to focus on the road and distract each other to help time pass faster. At 4:10 her mom sent us a text asking where we ere because she was at a 9! We were 15 minutes away, we told her to cross her legs and that we would be there soon!
Once we got there, we booked it into the hospital, took a quick trip to the bathroom and headed to Labor and Delivery. They let us in at 4:37 and we gave Courtney hugs and caught up a tiny bit. Brad left the room, to call our families with the latest updates. At that point, they called the doctor from home and told him to put his running shoes on because she was ready! The doctor was there and ready by 4:55. We were blessed to be a very special part of the delivery. I was able to be right there, standing next to her, helping her push, during the delivery. Brad was also in the room, but behind a curtain :)
courtney - ready to push! 
peeking around the curtain, checking up on Brad
After pushing through 2 contractions, little Carter was born at 5:09 a.m. 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 inches long - a healthy baby boy. After she delivered him, they covered her up a bit and Brad came from around the curtain and got to cut the umbilical cord. Courtney was so sweet to ask us to be such an special part of the delivery - it made everything so, very special. Birth is truly a miraculous thing. First of all, it is NOTHING like the movies. The room was so quiet and peaceful and there was a sacred spirit in the room - in indescribable feeling. After they took Carter to get cleaned up, I leaned over and hugged Courtney, as we sobbed together - with feelings I've never felt before - a feeling of unconditional love, peace, joy, connection, heartbreak... all in one.
While they finished cleaning up and taking care of Courtney, Brad and I walked over to Carter with the nurses where they checked his vitals and measurements. After he was all cleaned up and wrapped up tight, the doctor handed him over to Courtney. While we were capturing it on video, she said, "Does mommy want to hold him? Come over here and hold your boy mommy." I instantly started shaking and crying as she called me "mommy" and called him "your boy". Holding him for the first time was such a sweet moment - not monumental as some people my say it was for them - but for me, sweet, and peaceful. After I held him for a minute, I passed him to Brad and just like that, we were holding our little guy - a moment we had waited a long time for.

fresh out of the oven


coolest dr ever 
sweet courtney jo and little carter

obviously a little emotion 

kindred spirits

our first family picture

more love than we could ever describe

first time daddy

daddy feeding him his first bottle
After everyone had a chance to hold and kiss him a little bit they took Courtney into a recovery room to get some sleep and some time to herself. Brad found a couch-bed to sleep on for a little bit and I followed Carter and the nurses into the nursery - sending text messages to family and friends that had been anxiously awaiting an update.
Brad, out on the couch-bed
I sat in the nursery and watched the nurses run all their tests and give him his first bath

he has loved bath time from the beginning

and LOVES having his hands in his mouth
Courtney had a lot of visitors throughout the day - both family and friends. It was so wonderful to see all of the love and support that she had in her life. It was great to get to know more of the important people in her life and share such a special day with them. Here's a load of snapshots from that morning and afternoon
Baby Carter Bradley 
helping him with his first bottle

his poor little eye was swollen - we called him one-eyed jack for a bit 

it took him all day to drink that one bottle

my FAVORITE way to hold little babies - it is the best thing!

this is when Brad discovered baby Carter has a cleft chin... "Hey Em, he has a chin like mine!" 
a closeup of the chin :)

proud daddy 

my 5 minute nap. Courtney got out of the bed and forced me to try to take a nap - only lasted a couple minutes 

pampering this sweet girl
In the afternoon, there was a little bit of time where it was just the four of us: Courtney, Carter, Brad and I. This time was perfect. It was relaxed and comfortable and it was nice to spend some quiet time together and ooooh and awwww over little Carter. It also gave me the chance to pamper miss Courtney a little bit while she relaxed and worked on a Sudoku. 
After that, we decided Courtney needed some more sleep and we needed to try and get some sleep too. So we headed back to our hotel for a couple hours and we all tried to catch up on some sleep. Naturally, I didn't get any - I couldn't sleep. I used that time to record the birth story and write down some of my thoughts and feelings about everything. After Brad woke up from his nap, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the hospital.
Courtney was moved into a nice, big room that helped accommodate all of her wonderful visitors. We also brought in a bag of clothes for Carter and a few other things. After all of the visitors had left for the night we set out a bunch of the clothes and had Courtney pick out what she wanted him to wear the next day. Afterwards we talked for a while and snuggled Carter for a little while longer. We left the hospital about 10:30 and went straight to bed.
This truly was such a wonderful day. I didn't know it was possible to experience so many different emotions in one day. We feel so honored to be a part of this special journey and could not have hand-picked better people to share it with us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our lives are forever changed - March 28, 2014

I am still slowly, but surely working on getting our blog caught up and revamped. It's taking lots of little steps - I'm still enjoying being caught up in the moments of motherhood and soaking up every minute of it. Thank you for your patience and continued support throughout our journey :)
I was just reading through my journal and wanted to share this little bit I wrote the same day Carter was born. His birth story is almost done, so here's something to entertain you for now...

I am laying in bed at a hotel room, trying to take a nap. Brad is sound asleep at my side, and Carter and Courtney are at the hospital, catching up on their own sleep. I have slept a grand total of 30 minutes in the last 36 hours and I can't seem to shut myself down long enough to really sleep. This has been the very best day of my life. I think it's fair to say, it has also been the very best day of Brad's life.
Today, we can unofficially call ourselves mom and dad. This is the most surreal thing I have ever experienced and honestly don't think it has fully hit me yet. I'm a mom, Brad's a dad, and Carter is our little boy. Most importantly, none of this would have happened if we didn't have our sweet angel, Courtney, in our lives. It is thanks to her that we are now parents, that my parents are now grandparents and my siblings are now aunts and uncles. It's also Brad's family's first nephew and grandson. My heart is so full I can't even explain it. I have never had such a hard time expressing my emotions before. We have had an overwhelming number of people visit, call, text, and leave messages through social media sharing their excitement and support for us and Courtney. We are so grateful for that - there are so many that I want to get back to - yet all I REALLY want to do is sit here, with Brad, baby Carter, and Courtney and soak in the spirit of this experience.
I have never felt closer to my Savior in my entire life. I can literally feel him joining us in the hospital room as we visit and pass baby Carter around, ooing and awing about how adorable he is. He has Courtney's beautiful almond shaped eyes and her adorable nose. He also has an adorable little cleft chin - ironically, just like Brad. I honestly love those three features most about our little guy. There are wonderful things in his face that will always remind us of the angel that brought Carter into our lives and he even has a little touch of his daddy - truly divine intervention. Oh my goodness! I can't even contain myself. I love him so very much! I love my little family! I am so grateful and humbled by the opportunity that we have to be the parents of this sweet baby boy. We feel so honored to be the parents that Courtney has chosen and will always be grateful for her and her selfless love.
I CANNOT wait to get back to our little guy so I can kiss his little face to pieces!