Saturday, May 29

The Events Concerning the Arrival of Laila Grace Chapman

First, a photo... cause I know that's really why you've dropped by... and, hey, I don't blame ya!

Don't you just want to eat her up?! I love those cheeks!!

Dear, dear readers and friends, I am so sorry that I have kept you out of the loop! Yes, I'm blogging about not blogging (I swore to give that up entirely) but I can't help it. I know I've neglected you and I offer my sincerest apology.

Here's the scoop, in the form of the letter I wrote to our childbirth class:

Hello dear friends,

It was so fun to read Abbey and Kira's birth stories and to hear about how well Judson and Luna came out! Congratulations to you four! We're so grateful that things went so well for you... :)

Trevor and I are happy to report that Laila (pronounced LY-la) Grace was born May 10, 2010 at 3:05pm. She weighed 8lbs exactly and was 20 inches... I still can't believe that all of that baby actually fit into my tummy! I went into labor at about 10:30pm on May 9 (my birthday and Mother's Day). We knew I was in labor because the contractions became more frequent and were stronger each time. The first stage of labor lasted a few hours so Trev and I dozed and watched movies on the couch until the contractions were coming about 6 minutes apart. We didn't want to be in the throes of the worst part of labor in the car on the way to Denton so we left our house about 4am. Once we arrived at the hospital, the nurse tested to see if my water had broken... I was sure it hadn't because there had been no gush but the test came back positive! Once we were checked in at the hospital, things progressed more quickly and, after a total of 16 hours, Laila made her appearance at 3:05pm! (Kira, 4 hours, girl?! That is amazing!)

The most helpful position for me was to stand and "slow dance" with Trevor. That way, he and I were close, which was an enormous comfort to me, and I was able to squat down into the contraction as it came on. If we could offer any piece of advice, it would be to have someone else there to help you... a doula or a friend you trust and feel comfortable with. Especially when things got really difficult during transition, we were so grateful to have our friend Jenny to help us. Just having an extra set of hands made a difference when I needed a cool compress on my head but also needed massage on my lower back.

What happened next is a bit distressing but, before you read it, I want you to know that my midwife has delivered 3,000 babies and has never seen this happen to anyone but me. I was hesitant to even share this part of our story because I didn't want to cause anyone to be afraid but, friends, it is SO rare and Bryan convinced me that you would want to hear it. SO... here goes.

At some point during labor... the assumption is that it was while I was pushing... I managed to rupture one of the two internal illiac branches of my femoral artery . This caused, over the course of an hour and a half after delivery, a gallon of internal bleeding to fill my pelvis which was (ohmygosh) the worst pain of my life. Seriously, it was worse than labor. It took several hours for 2 OB's, a Vascular Surgeon, a Gastro Intestinal Specialist and my midwife, Holly, to decide, first, what was happening and, second, what to do about it. During this time, I was in terrible pain and my father, mother and Trevor took turns holding my hand. Eventually, the doctors were able to give me morphine and I was able to relax a bit while they decided what course of action should be taken. I went into emergency surgery at about 10pm that evening and not even the doctors knew what they would find. What they discovered was that the gallon of blood that had leaked into my pelvis had settled into a softball sized hematoma (sp?) that had situated itself between my rectum and vaginal wall. Clearly, this was the reason for all the pain. They didn't feel comfortable removing it or draining it for fear of causing an infection so, instead, the vascular surgeon used a tiny camera scope inserted through the major artery in my upper thigh to find the source of the bleeding. In order to stop the flow of blood, he inserted a tiny coil which I will now have inside of me for the rest of my life. :) This is truly miraculous to us and we are so thankful to God for the technology that was available at the hospital. When I came out of surgery, I still had the hematoma (I still have it now) but, thankfully, it was no longer being fed by the blood leakage.

After surgery, I was in ICU for 3 and a half days and had to get 3 blood transfusions to replace what I had lost into my pelvis. Thankfully, Laila was able to be with us for most of the time that we were in ICU and, while I was in surgery, Trevor got to be there for her first bath and her footprints, etc. This is another piece of advice I would give: Stress in your birth plan that, if an emergency were to occur, that Daddy (or birth coach) should go with baby. Even though I was SO out of it because of the pain and the pain medicine, I was comforted going into surgery knowing that, even though I couldn't be with Laila, Trevor was with her.

After 3 and a half days in ICU, we were so grateful to be moved down to the second floor of the hospital... the "happy floor", the postpartum floor! There, we received excellent care and Laila was able to room in with us all the time. This was such a relief after being in ICU and, to this day, we sing the praises of the nurses and doctors who took care of us!

All in all, we were in the hospital 11 days. We've been home now for just over a week and, while I'm still recovering... in a bit of pain, taking several medications, etc., we're doing very well.

The thing that I am MOST grateful for in all of this is that Laila was out before any of the trauma occurred inside my body. I believe that God spared her from enduring any of what happened inside of me and I'm so happy to report that she is healthy and beautiful and as happy as can be. All I could think of while I was in ICU was that I was so grateful it was me and not her who was there.

Attached you'll find some photos of us... :) Thank you to all of you for being our childbirth buddies and for your support and encouragement! Linda, the instruction we received from you was priceless and we will most certainly recommend your class! Thank you for everything! We look forward to hearing all of your birth stories as well and will pray for you in the meantime!

For Love,
Trevor, Chelsea and Baby Laila Grace

Thursday, May 6

Not About Laila. Not A Bit.

Greetings, my friends!
This blog is coming to you live from my second home, the Starbucks at Knox and Henderson... More specifically, it is coming to you courtesy of my Birthday and Mother's Day present, a new MacBook, officially named "Jumanji" by Clay and Co. this very morning!

Isn't Jumanji that kind of weird movie about jungle animals, starring Robin Williams?

Hmm... we may need to rethink this one.

Let me tell you, people, I love this thing! As my sweet friend Liz so eloquently put it, "Once you go Mac, you never go back"... I've only had this computer for 3 days but I'm thinking the girl's on to something.
Here's a picture of Liz and me at my wedding... Yes, she's as brilliant as she looks...

Anyway, this is the only "new arrival" to speak of at the moment because our Sweet Laila is Taking Her Sweet Time. After all that drama, she's decided she likes it in there and is going to stay awhile. The thought occured to me this morning that perhaps she's playing a little game of Hard To Get. Like, maybe if we don't make a big deal of her coming, like, if we don't really talk about her for awhile and we yawn and say things like, "Oh, whenever, Laila... We're in no hurry out here! Just come when you like! Oh, you want to stay a few days past your due date? We don't mind a bit. Just hang out, baby...", maybe she'll decide she wants to surprise us and go ahead and come on! See? It's called "Reverse Psychology" and parents use it on their children all the time. I'm just getting started early.

Besides that, there's the whole theory about a watched pot never boiling, etc, etc... It's really not true, though. The pot always boils... eventually... and, eventually, this child must come out, right? Right!

So, as a part of my Reverse Psychology scheme, from here on out, until this post is posted, there will be no talking about Laila. None. So don't even try to bring her up. We're talking about Other Things.

I'm not ashamed to tell you that I spent some time watching country music videos this morning. Sure did. And it got me thinking...

Did ya'll know that I'm a Country Girl At Heart? I really, truly am. Sure, I appreciate the conveniences of the city. Clearly, I love the opportunity to get a perfectly crafted decaf iced grande soy americano any time I like, on the corner of practically any major intersection in Dallas. I love all the great restaurant options surrounding us and, as I've mentioned before, I love my house in our quirky little East Dallas neighborhood.

Notice my look of triumph at finding an adorable Starbucks near the water in San Fran...

Nothing compares to a cool morning breeze blowing through the barn at 6am, the smell of hay and honeysuckle, a freshly opened bag of feed, sweet horse breath in your face, a welcome whinney, an open pasture of soft grass, warm sunshine on your face and fresh, pure country air. There's nothing better than experiencing God in the midst of His creation and hearing Him speak to you in the whisper of the wind. I've known this sort of bliss on my Papaw's farm in Kentucky, at the Pine Cove Ranch on warm summer mornings, driving down country lanes with the windows rolled down and, in Wyoming, as Trevor and I quested to find a band of free-roaming, wild horses.

(We found em.)

I've known this bliss in trips to the Feed Store (, long trail rides through piney woods, in blissful hours spent caring for the horses I've had the privilege of loving along the way.

Cosmo Alexander as The Perfect Farm Kid.

(Because we're Not Mentioning Laila, I'm whispering this part...) I long for my precious daughter to have the joy of experiencing these things, knowing God in this way, growing up slow and free and surrounded by authenticity and Love and Grace in an environment that fosters her curiosity and compassion and teaches her to work hard and love people and nature.

I'm grateful that it is possible to both love my new MacBook and love the open freedom of country life. I'm grateful that I can enjoy my soy americano as well as my Momo's country kitchen cooking. I'm grateful that we can live in our quirky East Dallas neighborhood and still escape the city whenever we get the itch.

What a blessed life we live. There are so many reasons to celebrate! I am choosing right now to always choose gratefulness and to teach my daughter the grace of being thankful.

Laila, you were conceived out of your Mommy and Daddy's desire to share the life we love with someone else, to invite a child into the blessings that God has given us. We welcome you with open arms, Little One... but, of course, only when you're ready.