Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Penny's birth story

At 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning the 25th, my six-week neck surgery recovery was officially over at five days when my Darling Valerie woke me up and told me that she was very sure that her water had broken overnight.
No time to worry about post-op restrictions at this point, so it's time to get the luggage out because Val was only 35 weeks and two days pregnant and we hadn't even gotten around to packing a bag for the hospital. This was No. 456 of Things We Needed To Do Before Penny Was Born But Now Must Finish On The Fly.
I, being a male with no panic mode (stop laughing), took a shower while Val called her parents to get them to come watch Cooper, then her dad drove us to St. Francis Bartlett, just five minutes down Hwy 64 and where Cooper was born 23 months earlier.
It took a while for Nurse Giggles to check us into Labor & Delivery. I call her that because she was a dear and helped us for 12 hours, but bless her heart she had a tendency to giggle at the most inappropriate time. For example, "Sometimes babies just don't like to breathe *Giggle!*"
Once checked in Val was put in a room and told that she'd be there until Penny was born, either in a matter of hours naturally or induced, or days if the docs decided to let her water build back up and let Penny develop inside the womb so long as there were no infections. That debate lasted several hours, with the nurses and docs tracking Val's contractions like a group of guys analyzing their fantasy football teams on a Sunday.
Val would have bad contractions, then they'd subside. Then bad again, then slow down in intensity, all the while the folks in scrubs were looking for a "labor pattern."
To recap: Val spent all morning and afternoon moaning and flopping from side to side in pain, while I sat next to her watching the Titans game and eating McDonald's that her dad brought me.
By 4:30 we decided, "You know what, she's having contractions all the time, those things hurt like the dickens and obviously Penny's coming so let's get on with it, right?" Not to mention, Val hadn't eaten or drunk anything in almost 24 hours by this point, and she wouldn't again until after she gave birth.
The big bonus of this was, Val got to get the epidural and stop the worst of the contraction pains. This was also about the point that the weather guys broke into our NFL games to tell us that Memphis and Bartlett were smack dab in the big scary red box of a tornado warning, and we were on that "4:35 Bartlett" list of scheduled targets.
Of course, this brought forth the idea that Penny could be born in the hallway. Thankfully not. The storm produced some great lightning but no tornadoes. 
I was kicked out for a half-hour during that procedure, so I ran home to grab a few things and get some Arby's for dinner. I did buy an extra sandwich for Val that she enjoyed at midnight.
By 7:30 Val was at least 6 cm dilated, but the nurses weren't satisfied and gave her some oxytocin to speed things along. And oh did it work better than they hoped!
By the time the nurse checked again at 8:40 p.m. Val was at 10 cm and Penny was already sneaking out of Val! Seriously, the nurse had Val hold her legs together like a five-year-old trying not to go wee-wee in the middle of Kroger.
Did I mention that there wasn't a doctor in the hospital at this time? The on-call doc was actually in Germantown delivering two babies, and the backup on-call doctor was in Collierville on the way. So the nurses told Val to push, she did so one time and one time only, and Penny popped out into the nurses' hands.
The backup on-call doctor walked in a few minutes later in his polo shirt and shorts, looked satisfied, scrubbed in to do his business, and was gone in 15 minutes. And I'm sure took all the credit when he got home, put on his smoking jacket and puffed on a stogie while drinking a large glass of wine in his leather-clad study. Or so I imagine that's how doctors act at home. 
Our little Penelope Rose was born at 8:56 p.m., weighing 4 pounds, 14 ounces and 17 3/4" long. Not too shabby in size for being almost five weeks early. But she wasn't fully developed, so the nurses took her to the NICU to double-check everything, and pronounced her fairly healthy. 
Unfortunately she has been a little fuzzy with the whole coming-up-for-air-while-eating thing, so she's going to stay in the hospital until the staff is satisfied that she won't digress. I mean, it's okay when I shovel food in my mouth without breathing, but when you're 24 hours old it apparently is bad.
Val was discharged Tuesday afternoon and since then we've been to the hospital during her feeding times at 12, 3 and 6 p.m. to be by her side while she feeds and we get to hold her. They won't let us hold her when she's asleep, since anytime she's awake she needs to be eating and she might want to play.
We're also still waiting until her big brother can meet Penny. He still has no idea what's going on, although by now he has to be a little suspicious, right? We're looking forward to bringing Penny home and taking pictures as a family and letting Cooper start figuring out how he's going to simultaneously pick on her, hit on her friends and fend off her suitors in the coming years. He'll be a great big brother.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September was only supposed to be a pain in the neck

September turned out to be a month to remember in the Valfrey household. It should have been just another month, but then I ended up with herniated disk in my neck, my paternal grandfather passed, and then Valerie gave birth to our daughter over one month before the due date!
We'll start a week ago Tuesday the 20th as I went to the Semmes-Murphy Center for surgery to repair my neck. In mid-August I woke up one Sunday with what I thought was a crick in my neck and shoulder, though it never went away. A week later I was in more pain than even I could tolerate, went to the doctor several more times before getting diagnosed with a herniated disk, and then finally a neurosurgeon recommended going under the knife.
Val and I reported to the clinic at noon for my 1 p.m. surgery that started at 2 and lasted only an hour to cut into my throat, remove the disk, drill in a titanium plate connecting the vertebrae and sew me back up.
Recovery was quick. After an hour I was full awake and in a chair, chatting with Val and her my father-in-law, even eating some soup and potato from Holiday Ham for dinner.
At 7 they let me go home and rest, though Val and I stayed up watching shows. I slept okay, but wasn't exhausted, then watched some more TV before Val went to get Cooper from her mom's. 
Sometime after that, though, I ended up in a post-surgery haze of soreness, muscle spasms, a sore throat and trouble swallowing. It wasn't so apparent until Saturday when we went to a baby shower for Val held by her Jackson pals at Heather and Geoff's home in Southaven, and I can't say that I was completely there. I was tired, and probably still feeling the effects of the drugs. I was exhausted, and wanted to sleep, sleep, sleep.
Ha ha! Or not.
Saturday night I didn't sleep that great, turning over a lot to get comfortable. I only looked forward to Val waking up with Cooper and watching him while I slept more. Not that she was doing well, however. She'd been having contractions all week, and her doctor told her Friday that it was normal Braxton-Hicks pains. But Val's a trooper, and she was trying to help me recover so she'd been watching Cooper in the mornings while I slept in.
In my next post, it's Surprise Baby Time!
(I don't mean "surprise" like "giving birth in the toilet" kind, just "early bird.")

Monday, September 26, 2011

Penelope Rose!

Penelope Rose Rushing joined us a little earlier than expected! She arrived at 8:56 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, weighing in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces and 17 3/4 long.

Penny was taken to the NICU where she remains, but she is healthy and doesn't need oxygen or a feeding tube, so hopefully she'll be home soon!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cooper at Uncle Rob and Mary's

We went over to Somerville to hang out with Uncle Rob and Mary last weekend, and Cooper found plenty of stuff to play with, starting with the tractor sprinkler ...

He enjoyed throwing the balls around, when he wasn't pushing the pink baby doll stroller around ...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cooper at Nana's

He really likes the tractor that Nana got for him!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cooper's nearly nekkid TV habit

My boy likes to dress down ...

When he has clothes on, Cooper has gotten to enjoy some nice weather with his scooter around the cove ...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cooper's Labor Day

We spent Labor Day with Val's family, enjoying some good food and cake to celebrate the birthdays of Katie and Cooper's Mammaw ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011