Emma’s Story (Part 2 – Birth)

On Sunday, January 20th, two days before I was scheduled to be induced, I got up and went to church and then we ran over to the Sparrow Lab because I had to have some tests done 48 hours before being induced. We decided to make a quick stop off at Target on our way home to pick up a few last minute things for the baby. As we were getting in the car to head home I was suddenly overtaken by an excruciating headache. I frequently get migraines, and they are nothing in comparison to what I had that day. Within minutes I was extremely nauseous and shaking. We rushed home and checked my blood pressure and it was 175/115 (or something like that). Not good at all! I decided I would lay down for an hour and then check it again. After the hour passed, it had gone down a little but was still way above a normal range. I called the hospital to see what I should do and they suggested very strongly that I should go in to get checked out. We rushed out the door, remembering at the last minute to bring our bags… just in case.

We arrived back at Sparrow and they had me fill out some paperwork real quick and then sent me back to triage to check me out. They took my blood pressure, and then pulled up the results of the blood/urine tests from earlier. They immediately informed me that I was being sent back to labor and delivery right away.

Much of what happened over the next 24 hours is a bit of a blur to me. I know the major events, but the timing and the order in which they occurred may be slightly off, so just bear with me!

They got me settled into the labor and delivery room, hooked me up to some monitors, and then began the process of preparing my body for bring this baby into the world. At this point I believe it was around 6 pm. The first step was Cervidil, which is an insert used for cervical ripening (I’m trying not to be too graphic, so if you want to know more about that, google it!). I was informed that the Cervidil would remain in for 12 hours before I would actually be induced and so I should just settle in for the night and not expect much action. But to my surprise, within about half an hour the contractions started and soon after that my water broke. A nurse checked to see if I was dilating, and found that I was 3 cm. I was at 0 cm when we arrived so things were progressing rather quickly. They continued to monitor me for a short time and then decided that it was time to remove the Cervidil and begin the Pitocin. Due to the high blood pressure/pre-eclampsia they also had to give me Magnesium-Sulfate, which is used to keep me from having seizures. The unfortunate thing about Magnesium-Sulfate (or at least one of many) is that it is often used on women who have pre-term labor to stop their contractions. So I was receiving Pitocin for the purpose of starting my labor, and Magnesium-Sulfate which will stop contractions… hmmm, not a good combination! The results were actually contractions that continued to progress in their strength, but a complete halt in my dilation.

At some point we discussed the topic of Epidurals. I was not at all opposed to getting one, but also did not want to take it too early or unnecessarily. They explained that unfortunately pain and stress/strain can cause elevated blood pressure so I would absolutely need to get an epidural and would be receiving it much earlier than I had intended. I was definitely nervous about the Epidural (not particularly thrilled about being poked in the spine) so I was pleasantly surprised when they did it. It was not nearly as awful as I imagined, which was a really good thing, I would soon learn. Almost immediately, I was completely numb from the chest down. I remember saying to the nurse and to my husband that it was the most wonderful thing ever, that I couldn’t believe that anyone would ever refuse one, and that I could deliver 10 babies and wouldn’t feel a thing.  And then 30 minutes later I started to feel the contractions again. I pushed the button that would release another small dose of the medication, but got no relief. After 10 minutes passed I was able to push the button again, but still nothing! I talked to the nurse and she said that as the labor progressed my contractions would continue to get stronger so that was starting to feel them a little. That made sense, so I laid back, pushed the little button, and just waited. Another 30 minutes passed and I suddenly realized that I was wiggling my toes, and I could feel it. I poked myself in the leg, and I could feel it. I called the nurse and explained, and she called in the anesthesiologist who had inserted the Epidural. She checked it out to make sure that it had not been dislodged, and said it still looked good. She changed the settings on the machine allowing me to push the button every 7 minutes instead of 10. She left and we waited some more. Still no results, so she came back and upped the dosage of the medication and changed the timing to every 5 minutes. Still nothing. They then called in a second anesthesiologist to consult and the two of them decided that they should take the Epidural out and try again. I’m not thrilled, but what am I going to do? They inserted another one, and I received pretty much the same results. About 30 minutes of total numbness, and then nothing. The head of the anesthesiology department came to check on me this time. They wanted to try it for a third time. I explained that I really had not intended to have a natural delivery, but rather than continue to to stab me in the spine, I was definitely willing to consider the option. They once again reminded me that I needed it, due to my blood pressure, and that there was the possibility of my needing a Cesarean Section and that they would need me to be numb for that. All in all, I ended up with 4 Epidurals over the span of the early morning, into the early afternoon hours.

After 24 hours of labor, I was still only dilated to 3 cm, so they decided it was time to start talking about a Cesarean. I was adamantly opposed to the idea, but ultimately I did not really have a choice. My sister, who Noob had been keeping informed via text, arrived to help encourage me and calm me down. Come to find out later, I had gotten an infection, my temperature was rising, and the baby was beginning to struggle. I think they were just trying to keep me calm and keep the blood pressure down, so they kept some of the details from me (or maybe I just don’t remember it). The doctor was quickly called in, not my OB but another doctor who was on call whom I had never met. At 4 pm I was wheeled into the operating room (mentally kicking and screaming all the way), they moved me to an operating table and then inserted a Spinal Catheter. For those of you who are counting, yes, that is poke number 5 in my spine. Fortunately, the Spinal Catheter did it’s job and I went completely numb, and all they needed was about an hour of numbness to get the baby out and my belly stitched back up.

Throughout the process, I experiences no pain, but at the same time I could feel EVERYTHING! I could feel the pressure on my belly as it was sliced open, I could feel hands moving around inside of me as they pulled they baby out, and I could feel tugging as they stitched me back up again. It was actually quite fascinating!

Emma Grace Kenney arrived at 4:27 pm. They cleaned, weighed and measured her while the doctors stitched everything back into place. She was 6 lb and 11 oz, 19 inches long. My dear husband, who had been by my side this entire time went back and forth between the baby and I giving me little bits of information. They finally brought her over and laid her on my chest. My arms were still strapped down from the surgery, so I was unable to hold her, so Noob held her up against my chest. After a few short minutes of awkwardly gazing down my chin at her, they whisked her away to the nursery to insert an I.V. to give her an antibiotic to fight the infection.

I was soon wheeled to a recovery room where I was able to see my sister again, and my parents who had just arrived home early from their vacation at almost the exact moment that she was born. The rest of that evening and night was mostly a blur, as I was quite heavily sedated at that point. Sometime during the night a nurse came to visit me from the nursery to give me an update on Emma. They informed me that she needed to remain in the nursery for as long as the I.V. was inserted, and I would not be allowed to leave my bed for at least 24 hours. I did not see Emma again until the next day.

To Be Continued…



Emma’s Story (Part 1 – Pregnancy)

Emma’s story begins well before January, 21st, 2013, the day she first graced us with her sweet face. Technically it started about 9 months before that, but I won’t give you all the gory details of exactly how it all began. I will just say that we were uncertain whether we would ever be able to have a baby due to my advanced age, as well as some health issues on my part, so we were quite surprised by how quickly and easily she came into being!

We found out that I was pregnant on June 9th, 2012 just hours before our friend Bryan’s birthday party. We were both pretty shocked (we were trying, we just weren’t expecting such quick results), and it was so incredibly hard to act normally in front of a big group of people including some of our closest friends!

The “morning” sickness actually began before I even knew I was pregnant (and I was only 3 weeks along when I found out). And for those of you who have been pregnant before, you know that “morning” is far from an accurate description. For me it was morning, noon, and nights filled with nausea, vomiting, and the inability to eat, or keep anything down for months on end. After suffering in silence for several months, I finally complained to my doctor midway through my second trimester, and she explained that what I was experiencing was not normal and so she convinced me that for my own health and that of my growing child I needed to take anti-nausea medication. That eliminated the vomiting and allowed me to eat, but I still experienced varying levels of nausea all the way until her delivery.

On September 24th I had an ultrasound and learned that we were having a baby girl! We also learned that there were potentially some developmental concerns with the baby (more on this in another post). Due to these concerns, coupled with my “advanced maternal age”, we began having monthly ultrasounds with a doctor who specializes in at risk pregnancies.

At the end of November, I had developed high blood pressure, and began to have severe swelling in my lower limbs. I had several tests done and found out that it wasn’t in the danger level yet but my doctor “suggested” that I seriously limit my sodium intake, and cut back on my work hours a bit. I went down to working three days a week, and started spending as much time as possible with my poor puffy feet/legs propped up.

By early January my blood pressure had continued to rise, and after more tests were done I was put on bed rest. I can’t say that I followed that completely, but I did cut back to working very minimally, and spent the rest of my time sitting/laying with my feet up. (In hind sight, I have learned my lesson and for any future pregnancy will follow my doctors instructions to a T!)

On January 15th I saw the at risk doctor and it was decided that we would wait until I was 37 weeks (the following week) and I would be induced. An induction was scheduled for Tuesday, January 22nd, but it seems that my body and my baby had other plans!

To Be Continued…

“Where Have You Been?”

So it seems that I’ve desperately neglected the blog over the last year or so. I guess I kind of have an excuse because I’ve been a little busy. Here’s a quick recap of what has been going on in our lives.

  • December 2011 – We bought a foreclosed home, moved in, and began a complete renovation of the house with lots of help from our family and friends.
  • March 2012 – We got a puppy! Hank is a fun, sweet boy, but was lots of work for a while there. I guess that’s puppies for ya!
  • April 2012 – I left Changes Hair Design and finally fulfilled my dream of opening Salon Juleen in our new home.
  • June 2012 – We found out we were expecting a baby!!! I got my first official bout of “morning” sickness just hours after the positive pregnancy test, and it lasted well into my third trimester.
  • January 2013 – Beautiful Baby Emma Grace was born at 37 weeks via Emergency Cesarean Section, due to complications from Pre-eclampsia. I spent 5 days in the hospital and Emma stayed in the NICU for 10 days.
  • April 2013 (Today) – Emma is 14 weeks old, and is keeping us extremely busy, and very entertained! I’ve grown to love motherhood more and more every day, and in ways I never could have imagined!

So since we’ve had a few small life changes, I’m going to attempt to get caught up and elaborate on a few of these significant events over the next few weeks/months.


This last year has been quite an adventure for us. We started the year with Noob going to school and starting a whole new career. Thankfully, he loves it, because it was my idea! We also went into business with my siblings, and opened The Wireless Zone of Lansing back in July. That has really made some big changes in our family relationships, all for the good! We’ve spent almost the entirety of 2011 on a hunt for our first house. We finally closed on our new home on December 9th and have been working on fixing it up since then. It will definitely take at least the first couple of months of 2012 for us to complete our projects (with lots of help from our family and friends). And after that we look forward to starting some other adventures, like puppies and babies, not necessarily in that order (NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT!!!). We are definitely eager to see what 2012 has in store for us!

Top 10 Signs You’re Dating The Wrong Guy

I just read 10 Signs To Know You’re Dating The Wrong Guy by Kandee Johnson (one of my favorite beauty bloggers) and decided it would be fun to write my own version.

Top 10 Signs You’re Dating The Wrong Guy:

10. He can’t stop talking about his ex, who he’s clearly still in love with, even though he states the opposite.

9. He is laid off from his job and spends all of his unemployment check on baseball cards, while you buy his groceries, put gas in his car, and take him out for dinner.

8. He decides to quit his job and travel for three months, leaving you behind.

7. He goes on vacation with YOUR friends, and spends the entire trip hanging out with some girl he met on the beach, while you had to stay home because your couldn’t afford the trip or the time off of work.

6. He promises to break up with the girl he’s dating if you’ll go out with him, or asks you out while he knows you’re seeing another guy.

5. He has sex with another girl while he’s dating you, after promising you he’s willing to save sex for marriage.

4. He is only available to see you after 10 pm, and never out in public.

3. He has two different phone numbers, and you’re only allowed to call his “work number”.

2. He has an ex-wife he never told you about, who may not officially even be an ex yet.

1. He constantly pressures you to do things you are not comfortable with or are morally opposed to, even after your explain the reasons why you will not do them.

I had quite a dramatic dating life prior to marrying my dear husband (although he admittedly gave me a bit of drama as well, before deciding it was time to grow up and settle down, I would like to make it very clear that NONE OF THESE ARE BASED ON HIM).

Some of these are about guys I was in long-term relationships with, some I dated casually, some are guys I was just interested in, and some are based on more than one guy!

The point is, now years later, I can laugh about all the crazy heartbreak I went through.  I know some of these are really no laughing matter, but I’m able to look back and see my own naivety and the terrible choices I made when it came to the guys I dated. At the time, I thought that there was something wrong with me (other than my bad taste in men) but now I’m smart enough to know that nothing on my part (or anyones part) warrants being cheated on, being unknowingly made the cheater, being lied to, being taken advantage of, or taken for granted, or just plain being treated like crap!

If you’re dating someone who doesn’t treat you like you’re the best thing since sliced bread, who doesn’t speak honorably of you to others when you’re not around, who doesn’t respect your morals and the boundaries you set in the relationship, then they don’t love you!  They love themselves and want only what they can get from you and your relationship!

RESPECT YOURSELF, and LOVE YOURSELF enough to wait for the person who is going to honor you, and value you like you deserve!

(MOM, if you’re reading this… THIS is why I never wanted to talk about it after a breakup!!!  Ha ha!)

Intentional Living

Some time ago, I began reading a blog called Makeunder My Life (MML).  It’s about designing and living a life with intention.  Learning to minimize the “clutter” in your life, whether that be material possessions, unfocused dreams and goals, negative attitudes, and sometimes even people.  Anything that keeps you from being the best possible version of yourself.

The following is a quote from Jess Constable of MML that explains what led her to seek a life of intentional living:

My purpose (currently in the form of this site) became clear when I was a college junior in 2006. At that time I was extremely dissatisfied with myself. I sought out happiness and perfection through each bag, shirt, candy bar, and guy in my life. As you can imagine, none of these ill-conceived and largely unconscious methods worked.

Then one day I heard a quote about Michelangelo regarding the David statue. He was asked how he designed such a phenomenal statue out of a piece of stone. Michelangelo said it was easy to carve the statue because he saw the potential within the stone and he simply needed to remove the layers hiding the beauty. Hearing that, my life clicked instantly.

The best Jess I was searching for wasn’t found pretending to be someone else or by buying something new, it was underneath all the layers of “stuff” in my life. I now define “stuff” to be clutter, unloved/unused/unneeded possessions, bad relationships, negative thoughts, you name it – whatever isn’t serving a positive purpose in our lives is hiding our best selves.


Last week Jess wrote about having a life intention statement, or a mission statement.  She included a link to the Franklin Covey Mission Statement Builder, which is a tool that in twelve short questions can help you to hone in on what your ultimate goals (mission/intentions) are.

The following statements were created from my responses to the twelve questions.  I will eventually take these concepts and turn them into a more concise and focused mission statement.

1.  I am at my best when I have made a plan, and everything has it’s time and place.

2.  I will try to prevent times when I am disorganized.

3.  I enjoy my work when I can use my creativity and skills to help my clients feel beautiful, and encourage them to see their inner beauty.

4.  I will find enjoyment in my personal life through being creative.

5.  I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as arts & crafts, music, organization.

6.  I can do anything I set my mind to. I would like to begin sewing and crafting again and eventually begin selling my crafty wares on Etsy.

7.  My life’s journey is to bring glory to God in everything I do, and to show His love to those around me.

8.  I want to be a person who my husband, my (future) children, my extended family, and my friends will remember as a loyal friend, a loving wife and mother, and a contagiously joyful person.

9.  My most important future contribution to others will be sharing my faith in Jesus Christ with those around me.

10. I will stop procrastinating and start working on:

  • Minimizing my personal possessions, so I will have less distractions, and more time to enjoy the things that are truly meaningful to me.

  • More clearly differentiating between personal time, family time, and work time so that I can more effectively focus on what I need to and be present in the moment.

  • Begin cooking at home more often in order to save money and become more healthy.

11. I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:

  • Growing as a Godly wife

  • Increasing my Biblical knowledge

  • Becoming more creatively inspired and putting it into action

12. I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:

  • Physical: Continue working out regularly, and gradually increase my workout. Get back on track with weight loss!

  • Spiritual: Start going through a daily devotional book with my husband again, spend more time in my personal bible study.

  • Mental: Begin making lists, setting reminders, doing whatever it takes to clear my head and have less things to just remember.

  • Social: Be more aggressive in my friendships, do not always wait for invitations. Do not settle for being alone, even when it is preferred. Remember that the true friendship is worth the effort.