Monday, June 27, 2016

A Whole lotta Coco

Help! Help! I have a nice camera and I DO NOT know how to use it. I've seriously had it for two years now and I've played around with it, I've taken classes, I've watched youtube tutorials and read books and I still can't quite figure it out. It's like a different language...and I don't know how to speak it...and I speak Chinese for heaven sake so I know how to learn languages but this camera business has me feeling like I should just give up. But I won't! Mostly because I tell myself a million times a day that Wigginton's don't give up. But I need help! If you have any tips or places to turn (or shoot, if you want to get together and help a sister out), please let me know. 

For now, here are some phone pictures of my little angel Cora:

The first of many times she'll find herself lounging her nap time away on her brother's towel at the splash pad!

She rarely cries, but put her in the car seat for a walk or a car trip and boy, it's a whole new (angry) side of her!

She also doesn't like to be put down to get her picture taken! She's such a snuggle-bunny.

We love you so much baby Cora! You've made our family, our home and our hearts burst with joy. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Coco's 1st week (& Super Mema to the Rescue!!!)

My mom was with us for two weeks total--about a week before Cora was born (so that she could see the boy's play baseball, attend their end-of-year activities, and help me make last-minute preparations) and then a week after Cora was born (so that she could love and care for my babies, feed us all, and be the fun one that we all crave). It's never long enough but this time was DEFINITELY not long enough. No matter that she left my dad at home and stayed with us for half a month. No matter that she returned to Sacramento only to re-pack her suitcase and head straight up to girl's camp. No matter that we will see her again in a couple of weeks at her house and she promised to come back to LA if I need her. Nope, none of that matters because it turns out Mema is just the funnest, kindest, most selfless, perfect person I have ever known and even if she moved onto my pull-out couch full time (which you can, you know! Invitation always open!) I am convinced I could never get enough of her and still want more. I lucked out in the mom department and those four little chickens of mine SERIOUSLY lucked out with her as a Mema. 

A few things about this first week home with Cora. 

1) I had forgotten how scary it is to come home after having a c-section, especially when one of your babies is crazy Quinny! Kids just don't understand that you've literally just been cut in half and they're bouncing around like bunnies and all the pillows in the world can't quite calm the fear that someone is going to land on you and it's going to hurt really, really bad! We had a few close calls and a couple of little owie's but luckily I was mostly safe. 

2) People have been SO kind and generous with their time and talents and means. A friend from T's school offered to bounce Cora in the midnight hours so I could get some sleep, a friend from church brought me Shake Shack because she knows it's my favorite, another friend from church sat by James during Sacrament meeting to help with the bigger three while I was home with the baby, and that is just the start of the offers/help. We've had meals, treats, presents and calls pouring in to my pad. My mom said she couldn't go anywhere without someone expressing how much they loved me and offering to help...and I feel the love! I appreciated the help this first week with all my heart, and we're now a couple of weeks out and the help is still coming. I have a feeling when James goes back to work I'll be clinging to it even more! As if Cora hasn't brought enough joy into our home by her mere existence, she has also invited us to see bucketloads of goodness in our community. 

3) I bawled for the few days leading up to my mom leaving, and the day she left I couldn't even look at her without breaking down. I really hope my kids love me as much as I love her.

4) I only got dressed in day-time clothes one time the whole first week of Coco's life...and that was on the day my mom left and only because I wanted a picture with her where I didn't look like death. I immediately returned home and put my sweats back on, and have proceeded to wear them every day since. Keepin' it real.

5) Cora is my last baby. I'll get into this deeper in another post when my heart and brain are on the same page about the matter but it's official, she is it! She is so sweet and cuddly and patient that she makes me want to have a million more (or at least a couple), but instead I am breathing in her goodness and hoping never to forget how beautiful it feels to be wanted and needed by someone so perfect. This newborn phase is exhausting, but it's over way too soon. 

Coco's first walk! I was really pushing the wub-a-nub binkie and I thought I might be victorious, but it seems she prefers the Nuk and that's if she's in a binkie mood at all. 

This girl is the champ of all champs. I was so nervous to see how she was going to transition to sharing so much attention with another little person but it's brought out qualities in her that I didn't know she had. Like, who would have guessed that my busy, ball and plane loving Quinny was also extremely maternal? You should see her ooh and ahh over every face that Coco makes, bring her a binkie and blanket whenever she is sad, and yell "Coco! Coco!" from bed as soon as she wakes up in the morning. It is adorable and I just know that they're going to be the best sisters around.

Super Mema does it all, but she was especially helpful with Quinn because 20 month olds still need lots of attention, cuddles, diaper changes and babas! 

Quinny counting Coco's toes.

I just love seeing these two snuggle together. I was especially grateful for their 3 am snuggles so I could get some extra sleep!

I don't know, I guess when you're stuck inside and up all night you make crazy purchases on Google Express--like a new bubble machine and a trillion ounce vat of bubbles! My babies didn't seem to mind!

Yep, Everett went to the park with Mema dressed like this. I can't even with this kid!

Best baby award goes to ^^^.

I love this Mom of mine and I love this picture of the three of us! Such a special time, having a baby and a mom who is willing/able to come coach you through it. 

You wonder how we all felt about Mema leaving? Well, let's let this picture of Grumpy Cat do the talking! Thank you Mom! Love you Mom! Miss you Mom!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Our hospital stay

Cora and I spent three days in the hospital recovering from surgery and birth. The nurses at UCLA were fabulous and we were both extremely well cared for. The food was pretty good, the cran-apple juice was bottomless and it only took a few try's before I was on my feet with a clear head. As for Coco, she had an echo, blood work and many check-ups from the doctors and they came to the conclusion that she is perfectly healthy!!! Greater words were never said. Here are a few pictures from our hospital staycation:

Talmage wrote this note to Cora on the day she was born and delivered it to us at the hospital. If that's not the cutest thing ever than I don't know what is. Mom tears, for sure.

Home again, home again with all SIX of us!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What's In a Name?

Naming children can be a little tricky sometimes, especially when said child is your fourth and you have set a precedent of giving your first three children two family/meaningful names each (both first and middle name). We knew this little girl deserved a special name and it took us nearly the whole pregnancy to agree on the perfect one...luckily we found it!

I never thought I'd have another little girl if I'm being honest because who can be lucky enough to have two little boys and then two little girls? That seemed like a dream I felt guilty to even wish for, which made it all the sweeter when I found out that I was having a girl and Quinn was getting a sister! My sister is my very best friend and the thought that my Quinn would now be getting a sister BFF of her own had me in mega tears. It became immediately clear to me that this little sister should be named after my little sister and hopefully would be every bit the kind, wonderful, funny and thoughtful person that Ashleigh Nicole has always been. I cried like a baby when I told Ash that this baby would be named after her. I said it then and I still mean it now, if baby Cora Nicole is half the sister, woman and friend that my Ashleigh Nicole is than I'll be forever grateful...and so will Quinn! 

We dove deep into genealogy charts in the hope that a name or story would touch us and we could pass it on to our baby girl for her first name. About halfway through my pregnancy we learned about Cora Alice Wigginton, James' great aunt who not only owned her own business (intelligent, hard working, dedicated) but also took in and raised her brother's children when he was unable to do it (loving, nurturing, selfless).  These were all qualities I wanted our baby girl to have and this name moved to the top of our list.

We're never ones to name a baby before we meet them, but it didn't take long in the hospital before we knew for sure that she was our Cora Nicole. A name rooted in so much goodness but is also hers to grow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cora Nicole--A birth story

Cora Nicole Wigginton
June 8, 2016 * 9:14 AM
9 lbs 4 oz * 21 1/2 inches long
Absolutely, positively, miraculously perfect in every possible way.

And now for the looonnngggg version (not that I'm ever long-winded!)

Let's get one thing perfectly clear before I start--Cora is the sweetest, most angelic and softest Wigginton soul who ever graced this wonderful earth. While she was still swimming in my stomach I could sense her calm and kind disposition and I just knew I was carrying goodness. I want to preface Cora's birth story with that little sentiment because this birth story, which was difficult and traumatic, seems so disconnected from the lovely human being I delivered. It's actually been so difficult for me to sit down and write it because it's not what either of us deserved nor what I imagined after spending 9 months carrying this sweet babe. BUT, I'm also well aware that this story is gorgeous in it's own way: Cora is here. Cora is healthy. Cora is just as amazing as I felt she'd be and as for me? Well, I'm slowly but surely recovering and so grateful to have made it out of my fourth, and final, c-section. It was my hardest and I feel like a warrior. I'll tell the ugly details, but then let's focus on the perfection that came from them--my Cora Nicole. 

James and I ubered our way to the hospital in the early morning hours of June 8th excited and anxious about the day before us. To say I was nervous was an understatement because c-sections are the pits. I slept for a total of two hours the whole night and was up multiple times getting sick. Eww! I remember once in England when someone learned about my c-section with T they said, "Oh, so you're too posh to push?" and I was all, "'ve clearly never had a c-section because there is NOTHING posh about it!" Four sections later and I feel the same way. Then again, my experience with Quinn was so positive that I was hopeful this time would be the same.

My pre-op experience was top notch and my nurse even got in my IV on her first stick. I was starting to feel more calm and James and I even took a couple of pictures. Then it was off to the OR for me and time to don the space suit for James. Usually the anesthesia takes just a few minutes and then James is by my side again in the OR, but he said after 20 minutes he started to get worried and ask for updates from the nursing staff. The anesthesia process ended up taking 45 minutes, and he said he knew something was wrong. What he didn't know was I spent those full 45 minutes being poked in my spine countless times by a young resident and a young attending who couldn't seem to get it right. It was painful to the point of tears and it felt like an eternity of torture. There is a big window in the OR and I remember looking out at the beautiful rolling mountains while my body was cold, shaking and being poked on the table and my OB and his resident were casually talking about LA traffic at the end of the bed and I just couldn't help but think that this was allll wrong, and yet I was utterly helpless. This had the potential to be such a spiritual moment where I welcomed my baby to this earth, but it was nothing but clinical. After two failed epidurals (and all of their associated pokes) the anesthesia team agreed to do a straight spinal. I have very low blood pressure and I learned from Everett's birth that spinals make it drop even lower causing me to faint and vomit, so with Quinn my anesthesiologist gave me a blood pressure regulator so that it wouldn't drop. It was amazing! Unfortunately this team didn't take my words and requests seriously and it wasn't long before I was blacking out on the operating table. At this point they were having to play catch up, giving me meds to raise my pressures whenever I started to dip, and that was often. They also had ample ammonia-covered cotton swabs to wake me up. The curtain went up, the doctors started the surgery, I was blacking out and James was still outside wondering what was going on. I started screaming, "Where's James? I need my husband! Where is he?" and finally someone brought him to my side. He looked at me, not knowing what had happened but knowing something surely had and said, "That was hard, wasn't it. I'm here." Those words, although simple, were so deep and full of love. He got me, he cared about me, and I finally had someone in that room who I knew was in my corner. I was crying and sick and just shook my head affirmatively, whispering, "I'm never doing this again."

From there it was fast and a blur. The cut was made too small by the resident for Coco's large Wiggy noggin and the decision was made to proceed and try to force her out anyway. I was expecting the intense pressure that comes along with a c-section but now I felt something I had never felt before: pain! Pain that was so intense and so blinding that I found myself screaming and crying. The anesthesiologist quickly said, "We're going to give you something for the pain but it's going to make you a little loopy" and then, before I knew it, I was in and out of awareness, hallucinating (yes! really! rubbing the doctor's face asking her about her four eyes, seeing rainbows and flashes of color, asking another doctor if this is what it felt like to do drugs, the works!) and totally unaware that a few minutes later a baby girl was vacuumed out of my uterus and delivered to a room full to the brim with commotion. There was blood all over the floor, screaming about who was going to catch the baby, and from what I understand when James finally got a picture of our little girl and came over to show me my eyes were rolling around in my head and I clearly had no idea what was going on. I don't remember any of it.

The next thing I knew I was sewn up, James was gone, my doctors were gone and a nurse was handing me a swaddled baby to carry to recovery. My first thought was, "Whose baby is that? Is this my baby? I had a baby?" and then my next thought was, "I don't think giving me a baby is a very good idea right now." I knew I was still gone, heck I couldn't even open my eyes, but I held that little burrito up to my cheek and willed myself to not let go. This picture is beautiful and tragic to me in ways that words can't describe.

In the recovery room I started to really wake up. I realized that this baby was, in fact, mine, and I started nursing her while asking James questions about what had happened. It had been so scary and I remember feeling grateful that I was alive, that Cora was alive, that we were all in the recovery room together. It took me the rest of the day to mentally feel back to myself, and it took some time before I really connected with Coco. It's amazing how different you feel when you are not present at the birth of your baby. Luckily Cora was a diligent nurser, a mama's cuddle bug and overall just a perfect little person, making it so easy for me to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her.

To my dear Cora, I love you more than words can say. Your birth was a little bit crazy and hard, but it brought me you, the greatest gift in the world, so every last second of it (and yes, even all those pokes) were worth it. I'd do it a million times over if it meant you'd be mine. I'm so glad you're here.