Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.


Category : Pregnancy Blog

Pregnancy Blog: The birth

While it’s still fresh in my mind (and while the little one is sleeping), I thought I’d share the story of Iris’ birth. My last pregnancy blog post was all about how I was just two days shy of my due date and still no signs of labor. We had another appointment on October 13th (one day after Iris’ October 12th deadline) and still – nothing. I hadn’t dilated or progressed any since one week earlier. Since I was over my due date, the doc hooked me up to a machine to monitor the baby’s movement and heart rate. Only problem was, she didn’t like what she heard. She had us go upstairs to Labor and Delivery to be looked at a little more closely, but not before she explained that unless the baby started to move around more – they would have to deliver that day.

Even though I had wanted nothing more than to deliver that baby, this was not the way I wanted it to happen. I started crying, mostly at the thought that something could be wrong. However, as soon as I was hooked up to the fancy machine upstairs, Iris started dancing around like usual. We passed the test within 10 minutes. Apparently Iris had just been sleeping before. Phew!

We left the hospital feeling a little jolted, but with a choice to make. We could induce labor on Monday, October 17th or Thursday, October 20th. Even though the doctor “preferred” the earlier date, we thought long and hard and decided on the later option in hopes that my body would be more prepared for a natural delivery. If I could avoid a c-section, I would be happy (or so I thought).

The next morning was a Friday, so I called my doctor and made it official before the weekend – “October 20th, please!” It felt really bizarre to make that phone call. It was like placing a reservation for dinner, rather than a baby. Friday was a big day for another reason too. I was still working full time, despite being past my due date, and decided that it would be my last day at the office before I started maternity leave. I was feeling every day of being pregnant by that point, but little did I know I was also feeling the beginnings of labor too…

Despite how I was feeling, I didn’t rest after work that evening. I still wanted to do whatever I could to get my body progressed for labor. Todd and I met up with friends to eat hot wings (I stepped it up and got the spicy level of “Acid Rain”) and then made the long hike to Bud Walton Arena to watch the Razorback basketball team.

Apparently hot sauce and Mike Anderson were the winning combination.

At 5 o’clock the next morning I awoke to a strong abdominal pain, which I quickly realized wasn’t just a stomach ache. Wondering if this was what a contraction felt like, I moved from our bed to the couch as to not wake Todd. Timing the waves of pain with an iPhone app, I realized that these were indeed contractions and that they were instantly five minutes apart, lasting a full minute each. We had been told not to head to Labor and Delivery until the contractions were 5 to 8 minutes apart for at least two hours, so I laid there timing them until about 7:30 am. At that point I woke up Todd and told him we should probably head to the hospital. He had his doubts. I think my mistake was not waking him in the first place, so he had no idea how intense or frequent my pain had been. I had my doubts too. “Surely this is just the beginning of labor and we’ll be sent home, right?” I thought. I grabbed my bags just in case.

Thankfully we live about five minutes away from the hospital, but as soon as we walked through the doors of Labor & Delivery, I burst into tears. They immediately got me situated so that they could check to see how far I had progressed. The doctor on call informed me I was already dilated to a SIX and fully effaced! That’s a major jump for just two hours of contractions. In a way I felt relieved because the entire time I was thinking, if these are just the beginning contractions, I don’t want to know what the real deal feels like. “Well, you’re having a baby today,” the doctor said. Cue tears again. Then cue the freak out after I asked if I would have time for an epidural. Maybe, the nurse said. MAYBE?!

I had progressed so fast that they guessed we would have the baby by noon (and it was almost 9:00 am at that point). I had to get into a room and receive an IV before I could have an epidural. Thankfully the sweet angel nurses hurried me into my own suite and got me situated right away. About an hour later I met my new best friend, the anesthesiologist. I hadn’t thought much about it leading up to delivery and I’m not scared of needles, so getting the epidural was actually no big deal. The hardest part was staying still through contractions, but other than that it didn’t really hurt and I immediately felt the benefits. “How do you feel?” asked the nurse. Pretty good, I responded. “Okay, great because you just had a huge contraction.” I had no idea. I instantly felt better about what was ahead.

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

As great as I felt, the epidural ended up being one of the best and worst things for me. One of the issues was that it slowed down my labor, so they had to start me on Pitocin to increase the contractions. It still took a while. Noon came and went, but finally at around 5 o’clock I was fully dilated to a ten and ready to start pushing. Unfortunately, that’s where another issue with the epidural came into play. My fear was that maybe it wouldn’t work and I would still feel pain, but I had the opposite problem – it worked too well. I pushed for two full hours with little progression. I couldn’t feel a thing, which hindered me in being able to tell what was working and what wasn’t. After two long, very hard hours, they decided to let me rest for a while. During the entire labor my face had been burning up and my entire body wouldn’t stop shaking. I was told that both of these were completely normal, but still – none of it was pleasant. Waiting an hour, chewing on ice chips (I hadn’t eaten anything since the hot wings the night before) was dreadful, but I needed the rest. Because my face was so hot and red, they checked my temperature and I had a very slight fever, so they treated me with antibiotics and Tylenol. At the time, I didn’t realize the implications this would hold.

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Finally, about an hour later the doctor came in and we started pushing again. I have a sneaking suspicion that they turned down my epidural without telling me because this time I could feel pressure, but thankfully still no pain. The difference was immediate. The doctor sat with me for the next 45 minutes as I worked the baby further down. I’m pretty sure I was just a few pushes away from them suggesting a c-section, but the doctor didn’t give up on me and at 9:12 pm Iris Adella Gill was born.

Iris Adella - The Birth

She came out crying and giving a high five, as the doctor called it. Her hand was up by her head, which was probably another reason I had so much trouble. And speaking of her head, everyone immediately started talking about all of the hair she had. I couldn’t believe it either (for all of you who have heard that lots of hair leads to lots of heartburn during pregnancy, I never had any). They immediately put her on my chest and I said hello to my sweet baby girl. I think I asked a million times if she was healthy. My mom and Todd had been in the room for the delivery and reassured me that she was as perfect as she could be.

Iris Adella - The Birth

They were right. All nine pounds and fourteen ounces of her. When the nurse read the weight out loud, I was shocked. I always thought she would be big, but I didn’t anticipate her being just shy of ten pounds and 21 1/4inches long. Once they got us both all cleaned up, I nursed her for the first time before the guests from the waiting room came in to meet her.

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

It wasn’t long before the nurses were back in the room, needing to take Iris to the nursery to get poked and prodded. Todd and I probably should have used that time to rest, but it was impossible. As exhausted as we were, the excitement that we actually had our very own little baby was just too much. They brought her back in, wrapped up tight like a burrito and we maybe got about half an hour of sleep that night. I kept checking on her, making sure she was breathing (I’ve been assured that this is a new mom thing and completely normal).

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

Iris Adella - The Birth

The morning came quick, as did the pediatrician to go over everything with us. Expecting to hear all good things (she was perfectly healthy after all), I was not prepared for what the doctor had to say. Because I had been treated for a fever during labor, they wanted to treat Iris too – for SIX days. They already started giving her antibiotics with an IV attached to her tiny little hand. Saddest thing ever. When I realized that I would most likely be discharged withOUT my baby, I lost it. There was no way I was leaving that hospital without her. I would camp out in the lobby if I had to.

Thankfully, it never came to that. Iris was able to see two other pediatricians who both agreed that there was no reason to treat her any further. Apparently if you have a fever during labor, it could be caused by a uterine infection, which could potentially be transmitted to the baby. I never had an infection and just barely had a fever. Three hours of pushing and a 10 pound baby will do that to ya. Turns out, the first pediatrician was brand new and known for being overly cautious. By the time Iris was cleared, she had to stay one extra night. I still had to check out of my room, but they let Todd and I stay in a parent-child room right next to the nursery. As grateful as we were to not have to sleep in the lobby, the room was a serious downgrade from my earlier suite. We’re pretty sure they cleaned out the nurses’ secret nap room for us. It was tiny, with one twin bed and only one small window, which looked into the nursery (where the lights are always on). They told us not to take Iris on one side of the room because it was too close to the exit and an alarm might sound. Too bad that was the side of the room with the BED. The bathroom was dirty, the lights didn’t work, and the television was unwatchable. But we got to be with our baby, so it was all worth it.

I have never wanted to go home so bad in my life and after three nights, we were finally able to do so. Since I had already been discharged, I didn’t get the traditional wheel chair ride to the car, which as silly as it was, I was a little bummed about. The ride home still seems like a very bumpy blur, as were the next few days. The recovery for me was a lot worse than the labor and delivery, but I had a beautiful, healthy baby that made any amount of discomfort seem like an afterthought.

Everything in our lives shifted. There’s life before Iris, and life as it is now. Sleep deprived, yes. But it’s true what they say – I never knew a love like this existed. It’s a love that, despite being so big already, continues to grow with each smile and each fart (we receive plenty of both). I literally just stare at her and wonder how I can love something so much.

Iris Adella, you may be tiny, but you are my world.

Iris Adella - The Birth

Giveaway: What to Expect book series

Update: December 6, 2012
Contest Closed. Congrats to Kim and Danielle for being the winners selected from random.org!

* * * * *

As soon as I found out I was having a baby, I rushed to the bookstore and purchased what I’ve always heard is “the only pregnancy book you’ll need.” I picked up my copy of What to Expect When Expecting on my lunch hour and read the first chapter sitting in my car in the bookstore parking lot… all while inhaling Chick-fil-a (I was pregnant after all).

Throughout my pregnancy I not only read the book, but was addicted to the What to Expect iPhone app (okay, I was addicted to that and milkshakes). I tracked my pregnancy daily and the forums were – and still are – great for connecting with other new moms. Thanks to What to Expect, I actually feel like I know what I’m doing every once in a while and now I’m happy to be able to pass that along to two of my readers.

The nice folks at What To Expect have teamed up with me to host a giveaway featuring their must-have books for any momma or momma to be. They make excellent gifts too, so even if you’ve got no plans to wipe poo off butts any time soon, feel free to enter for a friend.

Two lucky winners will receive the following three books:

What to Expect When Expecting
What to Expect the First Year
What to Expect the Second Year

How to enter:
Leave a comment telling me what part of pregnancy you have heard about or experienced that you did you not expect OR which book you are most excited about. Please make sure you include your email in the comment form.

Extra chances to win:
Mention the giveaway on Twitter up to three times per day (be sure to include @sarahfortune in your Tweet).

*Giveaway ends at 9:00 pm Central on Monday, December 5, 2011 and winners will be selected by Random.org*

I’ll leave you with this photo Todd snuck of me right after we found out the good news…

What to Expect

Baby Blog: She’s here!

Iris Adella Gill

was born
at 9:12 pm Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Iris Adella Gill

9 pounds, 14 ounces
20 3/4 inches long
and an absurd amount of beautiful hair

My motherly instinct was right – she’s a biggie!
And we are so in love with every tiny chunk of her.

More pictures and details of the birth will come,
but for now we’re resting happy and healthy at home.

Thank you for following our journey…
It’s just begun.

Pregnancy Blog: 39 weeks

Pregnancy Blog: 39 weeks

Well, here I am.
Two days shy of my estimated due date of October 12.
And no signs of labor.

I’ve tried it all.
Yesterday I ate an entire pineapple for breakfast. About half a bottle of hot sauce on a burrito for lunch. And have been walking every day even though it hurts just to stand. But let’s back up a bit…

The 39th week started with my birthday, as well as my weekly appointment. I was more excited to find out what my doctor had to say than I was about any birthday celebration. The good news is that I have actually started to dilate, but only to one cm. The bad news is that I wasn’t nearly as effaced as she estimated the previous week (she guessed it to be maybe 20%, but noted that she didn’t even like to put a number on it when it was that low).

While the doctor did say that anything could happen and that I could go into labor over the weekend, she also made plans to see me in another week. She still gave us the option to induce labor at any time. In fact, we could have left there with an official date set. But with the way my body is progressing, there’s a good chance it would be a long, hard labor if we force it. So as tempting as it is to meet Iris soon, we have decided to wait till the next appointment to set an induction (with fingers crossed that she’ll come on her own anyway).

This Thursday is our next visit and, depending on how things have changed, we could very well end up with our original induction date of October 14. But except for the usual Braxton Hicks contractions and the occasional cramps, I don’t feel like too much is changing. Even if that’s the case, the latest my doctor will let me go is 41 weeks, which means that October 20th is the absolute latest that we would schedule anything.

As mentally and physically done I am with being pregnant, I just try to keep in mind that labor can happen at any moment and that a lot of times all of these checks of progress mean absolutely nothing. I’m trying to enjoy the last few days of No Baby Land, but it is hard when it’s all I think about and all I feel.

I did have a lovely birthday thanks to my friends & family. It started with a near two hour prenatal massage by a midwife. I was hoping that the pressure points might trigger labor, but no such luck. At least it made me feel a million times better! Another amazing gift was that my mom surprised me by cleaning our house from top to bottom while I was at work. Vacuuming is the last thing I feel like doing these days, so it was much appreciated.

Well, it looks like we could have a 40 week pregnancy blog (or at this rate a 67 week post), but only time will tell…

For now though, all you get is a silly photo of our other baby.

Pregnancy Blog: 39 weeks

Pregnancy Blog: 38 weeks

Pregnancy Blog: 38 weeks

Waiting. Wondering. Walking.

That’s what week 38 has been full of. I’m trying to wait patiently and savor these last few days before everything I’ve ever known completely changes. It’s tough though, because I spend most of my time wondering how things will go and what little Iris will be like. I’ve been trying to ‘get things going’ by walking whenever I can muster up some energy. Just putting on my sneakers is a task at this point. I’m hoping that I’ll get good news from the doctor this Thursday about how I’m progressing, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if things are exactly the same.

Last year during this time I was doing a different kind of counting down.
Counting down to my 30th birthday.

This year, instead of sitting in a bar

30th Birthday!

or sitting in a… cow?

30th Birthday!

I could very well be sitting a hospital.
My oh my how things can change in a year!


Here’s how I’ve spent the rest of week 38 (in pictures).
Crossing off the last days of September.

See ya, September! October is (finally) almost here.

Snuggling with my Sadie Pup.

Sadie Pup recovering from her bath.

Freezing bunches of burritos for easy meals when baby is here.

Frozen Burritos for when baby is here

Watching the Razorbacks win.


Enjoying the fall weather.
(I can officially see my due date on the 10 day forecast.
And it looks right nice.)

I can officially see my due date on the 10 day weather forecast. And it looks right nice.


With my next appointment in a few days, I’ll try to keep this thing updated but of course it depends on how everything plays out. Like mentioned in last week’s post, Twitter is probably the best way to keep up with me as I’m sure updating my blog won’t be my top priority if anything actually does ‘get goin.’

Till then…

Pregnancy Blog: 38 weeks