Sunday, January 22, 2012


2011 was probably the fastest year of my life.  It mostly revolved around one thing...
Gaining 40 lbs... and loosing 40 lbs... all with in 9 months.

It took four tests before we really believed it.
9 weeks
12 weeks
15 weeks
17 weeks
20 weeks
21 weeks (it's a BOY!)
23 weeks
25 Weeks
28 weeks (after which we have no more pictures because I got HUGE)
34 weeks (3 days before my water broke)
1 hour after my water broke
November 27th, 2011 at 3:58pm
Ashton Jay Beckstrand
6lbs. 7oz., 20" long

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ashton's Story

Everyone tells me I need to write "The Story" down.  It's going to be long, and I think this is purely just for me.  I hardly imagine anyone else is going to be enthralled with all the details that went along with one of the best and scariest days of my life.
Lets start with Monday, November 21st.  I was exactly 34 weeks pregnant.  I had been having some crazy pains the week prior, and was swelling up like crazy.  Researching online I was worried that I might have pre eclampsia or gestational diabetes.  Monday, when I got to work I was in so much pain that I could hardly breathe.  I called my Mom, who said to just call the doctor and go in.  Which I did.  My blood pressure appeared normal to them, when in reality I knew it was high because my blood pressure is abnormally low most of the time.  I had gained about 7 pounds in one week, and they agreed I looked swollen.  I saw Dr. Melendez and he said that the side cramps and back aches I was experiencing was just from the stress on my muscles holding up all the weight and to use a heating pad and that I could take some pain killers.  He decided to do an exam while I was there and found out that my back pain was actually contractions and I was dilated to a three.  He said he wanted to schedule me for an ultra sound the following week so he could see exactly how big that little baby was.  He laughed and said "I may not see you next week though!" and said to just go straight to the hospital if the pains got any worse.  I was in shock, he told me I shouldn't travel for Thanksgiving, which made me mad and sad all at the same time.  I scheduled my appointment for the following week and left.  I called Jason in the parking lot and burst into tears.  This was the first appointment that he wasn't there with me, and to his credit, it wasn't a normal appointment otherwise he would have been there.  I really wish he could have been though, so someone could have thought to ask the questions, like "aren't you concerned about how early the baby will be?" "should I be put on bed rest?".  I went back to work and ran into friends in the parking lot.  I started crying again, the reality hitting me that I could be having a baby at anytime, and that I was not prepared for this.

Everyone I talked to was shocked that the doctor didn't put me on bed rest or show any concern about a preterm baby.  This stressed me out to the point that I called the doctors again on Wednesday, the nurse reassured me that if the doctor wasn't worried I shouldn't be either but that it was probably a good idea to take it easy. I had an event that day, where I awkwardly got to serve lunch around my bulging stomach.  By this point I was so swollen I couldn't even fit into my Ugg boots and embarrassing as this is I was wearing crocks to work, and they hardly fit.  You could squeeze my leg and it would indent about an inch and a half and just stay that way.  Pretty fun entertainment for everyone else.  That night Jason and I went to Walmart to get some stuff we thought we might need just in case we did have a baby.  I was dying at Walmart, and almost had Jason take me to the ER, but chickened out.

Since I couldn't go to Idaho for Thanksgiving my family decided to stay in town as well.  We spent the day with my family and Jason's family.  I was so exhausted that I laid around on the couch most of the time.  Jason was so great and calm through everything.  He packed up a hospital bag for the baby and himself and told me I should do the same thing.  I didn't want to though, I think it just made it seem more real.

However, Friday rolled around and I was feeling much better, I was upset that I didn't go to Idaho since I still hadn't had the baby anyways.  We had a big wedding reception that night, I tried to stay off my feet and in my office most of the time but ended up working a lot more than I probably should have been.  However, I was feeling much better and kept telling myself I was going to be fine.

Saturday I laid on the couch the majority of the day and tried to just take it easy.  I was still having pains but nothing like earlier in the week.  I decided that everyone stressing out about me needing to be on bed rest was crazy and that I was probably going to end up having the baby a week late now or something.  By the end of the day I was going stir crazy just laying around so I decided I would pack up my hospital bag as well.  Even though in my head I felt like I knew nothing was going to happen.

That night we went to bed and I had my heating pad like I normally did.  At about 5:00am I woke up with intense pain.  It was horrible, I took some medicine, turned up the heating pad and Jason held me and calmed me down until I fell back asleep.  About an hour later though I literally heard a pop and realized that my water broke.  This was the strangest sensation/feeling/thing.  I gasped and said to Jason "my water broke!"  He had heard the pop too and was like are you sure, then felt the mattress and said "yep, k lets go!"  He was a little more panicked than I was.  I just started laughing.  I called my mom, and she apparently was in Idaho for her Uncles funeral.  She said to get to the hospital and that she was leaving my Grandmas house now.  I felt really bad making her drive back when she had just gotten there, but I'm so grateful she was willing to come back so quickly for me.  I'm grateful now we had our bags ready to go too.  The thing was though that I wasn't really in any pain, maybe it was just the adrenaline, when Jason realized I wasn't freaking out he calmed down too and we got ready and headed out.  It took us about 20 minutes to get to the hospital and I only had Jason run one red light.  The second I stood up out of the car it felt like my water broke again.  I was soaked.  We had called the hospital on our way in and when we checked in I almost felt like they didn't believe me.  Maybe it was because I was still laughing.  They didn't offer me a wheel chair or anything, but when I got into my room and they had me undress into the gown, my water "broke" again and there was water everywhere.  When the nurse came back in to check on me she saw the water and yelled down the hall "Ya she is staying!" another nurse came in and was like "why is there so much water on the floor I thought her water already broke" they said they had never seen anyone loose so much water before, I told them that was the third time too.  I was definitely carrying around a ton of water.

Jason's parents got there shortly after we did.  Dr. Melendez came in to check on me and I was only dilated to a 4 so he said I could be there for a while still.  I always thought once your water broke, that was it and the baby was going to be popping out any second.  They asked if I wanted an epidural, I told them I wanted to wait a little while since the contractions still weren't that bad and they said that epidurals can slow the process.  The NICU team came in to talk with us and tell us what to expect.  They said that since the baby was not 35 weeks yet, they would need to automatically take him to the NICU to examine him.  They said that they would be in the room with us during the labor so that they could get to him right away.  They said that I probably wouldn't be able to see him until after they were done.  I was so glad Jason's Mom was there, she knew all the questions to ask.  After all the time she has spent with Skyler in the hospital she is kinda a pro at this.  I was having a hard time focusing on everything they were saying though as the contractions had started getting much worse and everything just seemed so surreal to me.  The Doctor came back in and said that he wanted to start me on pitocin since I wasn't really progressing.  I told him I wanted the epidural right away then.  I hate needles and had been terrified of the epidural.  I put on my head phones, and for some reason Matt Pond PA was the music I felt I needed on my iPod.  Jason and his mom both held my hands and she was so great to comfort and cheer me on.  It hurt but wasn't as bad as I had always imagined.  My Mom and Dad made it there soon after.  I think this may have been the quickest drive my Mom has ever done.  She never speeds but there is no way she could have made it back from Idaho and up to Orem that quickly.  I was so grateful to have them there.  I still felt like I had to entertain everyone though so I told Jason to turn on the football game.  My parents and Jason's parents left to go get something to eat and to let me try and rest.  Soon after they left things started beeping and nurses started running in.  They said that the baby's heart rate kept dropping, they put me on oxygen and kept moving me around trying to find a spot that would help the baby stabilize.  This is when I really started getting scared.  I had Jason call my mom and tell them to come back right away.  They stuck some more wires or whatever up inside and started pushing fluids back up since it had been so long since my water had broke.  I had Jason and our Dads give me a blessing, and pretty soon the Dr. came in and said we had better start pushing.

As everyone was leaving I got this panic that I really wanted my Mom to stay.  I got so scared that not everything was going to be okay.  I just really wanted my Mom to be able to see her grandson, so that if things didn't go correctly she would always be able to remember him and tell me about him.  The NICU team was ready, Dr. Melendez and the nurses were good to go, but when they said push, I had no idea what I was doing.  The epidural was wonderful, but I really couldn't feel a thing.  I think I was pushing as hard as I could but it didn't seem to be making a difference and honestly I couldn't tell one way or the other.  The Dr. was getting frustrated, well probably not frustrated but anxious, and kept telling me I had to push harder.  I remember looking at my mom and being so annoyed and saying "I am pushing" I just couldn't feel anything.  The doctor said I had one more try and then we were going in for a c-section.  What?! No this was never in the plans.  I tried so hard, but nothing.  I kept apologizing to everyone.  I was so sorry that Jason wasn't going to get to experience the birth like everyone else does and like I know he wanted to.  I was sorry that I was already failing as a mother.  I couldn't even give birth right. I was just so sorry.  They had to wheel me out and left Jason to change into a gown and get all scrubbed in.  I hated this feeling, him not being with me.  He told me later how scared he was in that moment too.  Jason's Mom grabbed my hand as they wheeled me past, she had tears in her eyes, and all I could do was say I was sorry for letting them down too.

In the operating room, I started freaking out a little.  I'd seen this room on TV.  People die in this room.  Things don't work out in this room.  Jason was back by my side quickly and the Anesthesiologist was on the other side.  I really liked him, happy, and optimistic.  But I couldn't help but notice the stress in everyone else's eyes and the urgency that they were all working in.  I hated that big blue curtain, but at the same time I was so grateful for it.  Jason was holding my hand and then taking pictures with his other.  I just watched him the whole time, and kept asking him what was going on.  He kept telling me what was happening and said that this was the coolest thing ever.  Being pre-med he was pretty excited to watch a surgery.  Even if it was on his wife.  Pretty soon Ashton was here.  He didn't make a whole lot of noise, which terrified me, I yelled out "why isn't he crying" and then there it was.  Ashton hardly ever cries now either.  I was craning my neck back to watch him as they cleaned him all up and then wrapped him and laid him on my chest.  Something I didn't think they would be able to do, but he was doing so well that they said it was okay for a little bit.  I remember making eye contact with him, I couldn't believe he was mine, that we did it, we made it.  I knew right then and there that everything was going to be okay.  I stopped worrying at that moment.  I was so tired I could hardly move my hand to touch his little face.
They had to take him to the NICU, I told Jason I wanted him to go with him and be with him the whole time.  While they were on the way to the NICU they stopped in the hallway to let our parents see him for a quick second.
It was after Jason left and I was alone while they were stitching me back up that I started processing everything that happened.  I had Matt Pond  PA going on my iPod again, and had to force my self to zone out and not think about the hand moving inside me, putting me back together.  It's a bizarre feeling.  You can't feel the pain, just the pressure, it's your mind that makes it the worst if you let your self visualize whats being done.  The doctors and nurses thought I had fallen asleep but I was still there.  They gave me some intense drugs and told me that they might make me forget a lot of the days events, but that it was important for me to stay up on the pain medication.  They were right, the rest of the day is all kind of a blur.  Jason's parents had to leave, as they found out the Skyler had been admitted to the hospital that afternoon too.  I asked that my parents stay to give Ashton a blessing.  They stayed with me until Jason came back to.  I can't remember much of this, just that I kept shivering and shaking.  Even though I didn't feel all of the pain and trauma that my body had gone through over the past 9+ hours, it was still going through a bit of shock as it tried to recover.  After my parents left Jason wheeled me down to the NICU to see Ashton, this is the part I feel most guilty about.  All I can remember is washing my hands.  I remember it was so hard to wash my hands.  I remember looking in Ashton's little space ship, but I cannot remember holding him.  I hate that I can't remember this.  Ashton's nurse that night, was also the same nurse that discharged him on his last night there.  I introduced myself as though we had never met before.  I honestly had no memory of him at all.
That night is all a blur as well.  I know they continued to come back in and check on me.  I know at one point a nurse made me stand up.  I thought "sure okay, no problem" then realized I couldn't even move.  I had 6 layers of stitches in my abdomen and never thought about the part these muscles play into such a simple thing as sitting up, standing up, even lifting one leg off of the ground was so hard for me.  They also woke me up every two hours to pump, not how I ever imagined that first experience either.
I stayed in the hospital until Thursday, when they kicked me out.  I really tried convincing them to let me stay longer but they wouldn't.  I honestly loved the hospital.  I thought the food was fantastic.  I had visitors all the time.  My Mom and Jason's Mom both came back to visit, Dallin, Stephanie, and Kayli came up one night.  Alex, Aislinn, and Annalise all came.  My visiting teacher, Natalie Dalley, and even Emily Stephenson drove all the way up to see me.  While I loved all the visitors I felt so bad that they came to see me but couldn't see any baby.  The Nicu only let us put our Parents on the list for visitors.  I think I also love the hospital so much because that is where my baby was at. Leaving the hospital meant leaving him.
Jason was incredibly amazing through out everything.  He slept on a cot next to my bed every night we were there, and then drove home in the morning to get ready for school and then drove all the way back to Provo for school all day and then came back to us at night.  He set an alarm to wake me up so that I could pump and make sure that I was completely taken care of.  He encouraged me to keep walking down to the NICU, and then would push me in the wheel chair on the way back when I couldn't make it.  He held my hand in the nights and when we had to go home empty handed he held me and let me cry.  I am so grateful to have a man like this in not only my life but in Ashton's life too.  He is a shinning example of what I hope Ashton grows up to be.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Due Date!

We're so glad you're here.
And we are loving having you home with us.  Always and Forever.