Friday, August 9, 2013


Prepare yourselves. This is bound to get a bit cliche and mushy.

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. All I feel is happy. Five years brings a lot of ups and downs with it, but finding your way to such a happiness after that time is something to be quite proud of, if you ask me.

I always shy away from those people who say their romantic partner is also their best friend. I cannot even pinpoint exactly what it is about this statement that rubbed me the wrong way. I think, perhaps, I was always afraid it would mean that one person is expected to fulfill such a large number of roles that there isn't any room left for other people and their individual influences. As I reflect on it now, though, I'm thinking that perhaps Phillip is, in fact, my best friend. He is the one I see daily, the one I am 100% comfortable with (marriage will do that to you!), the one who, even when many would prefer a lie, is always honest with me. He is the one who teaches me to think beyond what I have always known as "truth". He has shown me the value of adventure and living outside the norm. He has seen my tears, heard my cries. Phillip is the patient father to my beautiful child. His quiet has always intrigued me, but I never could have imagined the value it would have to my busy, loud self. From the beginning of 'Phillip and Alyssa' he has helped me to learn more about, and experience, the love and grace of God.

Happy #5 to us.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Eleanor June Jeanne'

A little after 11PM on Tuesday April 30th I began feeling contractions. They were very tolerable, but they remained steady for several hours throughout the night. The contractions never increased in intensity, but after being awake all night with contractions I finally decided to call my midwife, Janis, at 4AM. Based on what I told her, Janis believed this was not real labor and that I should do all I could to try to relax and get some rest. She prescribed something to eat, a large drink of water, a glass of wine, and a long, warm bath. Although I was initially hesitant about the wine (hello, I'm pregnant), I followed her instructions and within about 30 minutes of being in the tub I was falling asleep so I headed to bed. I was scheduled to work 4 hours Wednesday morning (May 1-my due date!), but due to the up-all-night-contractions marathon I called in.

I was admittedly frustrated when I woke up later Wednesday morning to absolutely no contractions. I did hold onto some hope, though, because when I went to the bathroom I noticed bloody show. A sign that labor would be near! I had been so excited to potentially deliver my baby on my actual due date. May 1st just sounded so nice. The rest of the day went on contraction-free even after a long walk, eating a whole pineapple, and yet another walk. Also, I'll go ahead and admit it...I took castor oil. I went to bed knowing that this little one would arrive whenever he/she wanted. I anticipated it would probably be in the next couple days, but then again, who knows?

I woke up about a quarter after 1AM that night to go to the bathroom. As soon as I rose from the bed I felt a large amount of some sort of liquid coming on out! I rushed to the bathroom and remained there, on the toilet (awesome visual, I know), for a large amount of time partially due to pain and partially due to the aftermath of castor oil. I couldn't be sure, though, if the pain I was feeling, while pretty bad, where related to baby or just severe bowel cramping. While I wasn't sure at the time, I'm fairly certain now that the liquid was, in fact, my water breaking. After 45-60 minutes I could sense a pattern to the pain and began to realize I was, in fact, experiencing contractions. I knew these contractions were much different than the night before, so at about 2:15 I told Phillip to call Janis. Once I was on the phone with her she could also tell this was different due to the fact that I couldn't speak to her during contractions. After a bit of discussion she said she would be on her way in a little while.

After I got off the phone with Janis I called my mom (who, of course, was already awake at 2:30 in the morning) and Phill called his mom. I went downstairs where it was cooler and began walking around the living room, pausing every several minutes to grab onto the couch and moan during a contraction. My parents arrived shortly thereafter. My dad was having a hard time seeing me go through the pains of labor. Poor guy! I asked my mom to quickly put my hair into a french braid so it would be out of my way. After some time I decided it would probably be best to go back upstairs to our bedroom where the birthing tub was so I wouldn't wind up stuck downstairs with an inability to move due to severely strong contractions. I wanted to lie down and rest between contractions, but when I laid down on the bed I instantly found it to be uncomfortable. After one contraction lying on my side in bed, I knew I had to get up. I ended up sitting down on the floor next to the bed with my legs crossed and my back resting on the baby's pack 'n play. Somehow I found this comfortable. I'd been noticing that my back had been quite sore.

Janis arrived around 5AM and Tash came shortly after. Janis called her assistant and stated she should start heading in. I had never been checked for dilation or effacement during pregnancy and so, at about 6 o'clock I asked Janis if she would be checking me. She said it was up to me. I wanted to know and I was prepared for whatever she would tell me, knowing full well that many women expect that they are much farther progressed than what they really are. I estimated maybe 5cm; a solid halfway. Side note: it is NOT pleasant getting checked. When you're already struggling to find comfort and then you add that variable into the mix, you quickly realize it is painful, especially during a contraction. Once she was done, I looked at her with anticipation. She stared me right in the eyes and told me I only had a little bit of a rim left on one side. I was essentially 9.5 cm dilated. Stunned, I told her I loved her and began to feel quite proud. Janis told me she had texted her assistant prior to checking me stating she thought I was about 8cm judging by the way I was laboring.

Kari arrived within the 6 o'clock hour. Everyone became a little more focused on filling the birthing tub with warm water. Luckily, it didn't take long to get to just the right temperature and I was assisted into the tub. I was a little frustrated that the tub water couldn't be warmer, but 98 degrees is where it needed to be for the baby's sake. It did feel very nice to be able to move more freely due to the water. My contractions while in the water really started to take a toll, but not in the way I anticipated. My back hurt so bad. Although it was still very painful and I had begun to yell out quite a bit due to uterine and vaginal pain with the contractions, the sharp, severe back pain was taking all my attention. Kari, and then Tash, applied counter-pressure to my back while I knelt down in the tub water grasping tightly to Phillip's arms.

Phillip's mom arrived shortly after 7. My dad had gone to work, but he was going to be delayed in town so he was able to come back to the house. He waited either on the stairs or downstairs.

I knew that it must be near time to push so I asked Janis if that's what I needed to do. I didn't feel that urge that I'd heard so much about. I remember always hearing that women just feel an intense urge to push that they can't stop, but since I didn't feel that I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be doing. Janis instructed me to try a couple pushes and see how it went. I had to really focus on the pushes. I was worried the pushes wouldn't be effective since I didn't feel an intense urge to push. Therefore, I felt I needed to push with all my might. Janis had her hands in place to feel if the baby was moving down with my pushes. She told me that with each push the baby was moving farther and farther down. My baby was coming. There was a moment where it really hit me what was about to happen. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I know there was a moment where I said something along the lines of, "My baby is coming", and it was like the first time I really recognized it to be fully true. I started to cry and others were crying as well. With the next contraction, though, I was pulled back into business. The last minutes of pushing are a bit of a blur full of encouragement from my family, friends, and midwife. They were instructing me to push, praising me for how I was doing, and exclaiming excitedly that they could see the baby! I really couldn't feel anything different than I had before, so (even though I hadn't planned to do so) I felt down for the baby. Feeling how close I was to meeting my baby gave me the final surge I needed to really bare down and puuuuush my baby out. With my hands in place down by my baby, I pushed with all my might and helped lift my baby out of the water. I immediately brought the baby to my chest, moved the cord away from his/her face and neck, checked for 10 fingers and toes, and finally checked the gender. Now, I had prefaced the whole labor stating that it was very important to me that Phill be the one to tell me whether Baby Oprie was a boy or a girl. I did not, however, anticipate catching my baby and being the one with the first access! I checked and was quite surprised to find that my brand new baby was a healthy little girl. I was a little surprised by how surprised I was. I think I was expecting a boy more than I originally realized! Eleanor June Jeanne' Oprie was born at 8:22AM on Thursday May 2, 2013.

Everyone was crying, but my dad took the cake with his sweet grandpa sobs. She came rather quickly with labor lasting 7 hours and only requiring pushing for 30 minutes. We waited for the cord to finish pulsating before cutting. Both Phillip and my mom did not want to cut the cord, so Janis did the honors. Janis' assistant, Elissa, took the baby while Janis helped me to deliver the placenta. Afterwards I was helped up to a chair where I was then able to nurse little Eleanor. Before nursing, they weighed Eleanor and took all of her measurements. She was a healthy 8 pounds 2 ounces and measured 20 and 3/4 inches long. After nursing I was helped to the bathroom and then back to bed so Janis could inspect me.  Other than a labial tear (sorry if TMI) everything looked good. While Phillip held the baby I laid in bed and enjoyed the perfect post-delivery breakfast: pancakes from Johnny's. My dad pulled grandpa-of-the-year by bringing enough pancakes, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls to feed everyone present and still have leftovers. We may make it a May 2 tradition. :-)

The rest of the day was spent resting, nursing, and falling in love with our little one. It was hard for Phillip and I to wrap our brains around the day's happenings. Even now, 8 days later, it still seems pretty unbelievable that I'm a mother. In two days I'll be celebrating my first Mother's Day as a real life mama. Last Mother's Day was one of the worst days of my life, just days after my D&C. A year much has changed. Now, there is celebrating. There is renewed hope. Eleanor is here and she is precious.

Just born

Meeting Dad for the first time

Happy Birthday!

She's absolutely perfect

2 Days Old
My favorite picture so far. 4 days old.

1 week old and growing like a weed!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Life has taken a turn for the better.

Stating this makes it sound like life was awful earlier, but was pretty rough there for a bit. Since Friday, everything seems to have changed. My attitude is positive. My mood is happy. Work is going well for me back at Lutheran. Busy at times (but, honestly, what job isn't?), but generally great. I was told by two separate coworkers yesterday how happy each was that I came back to work with them. That really builds up the soul. Also, today is Phillip's first day of work at his new job. While this isn't exactly his dream job, we're both SO pleased for him to have a good, steady position with great hours (especially since baby time is just a few short weeks away!).

The biggest influencer on my upturn in life, though, is definitely credited to this past Saturday's happenings. Not only did I have a fantastic baby shower with family (including Mom O. from Ohio and the most loving and wonderful cousin, Leslie, who FLEW IN FROM NORTH CAROLINA JUST TO BE AT MY BABY SHOWER) in the afternoon where Little One received so many necessary and great gifts, but then I was able to celebrate dear Hillary's upcoming wedding at her bridal shower, and finally end the day with a very large, great, and all-around awesome gathering of the most loving friends imaginable. I didn't expect such a great turn out or so much food, so it was overwhelming in the best way possible! I just loved celebrating our baby and, while it's embarrassing being the only one opening so many gifts, I appreciate every item we were given so, so much. I feel much more prepared as a soon-to-be mother and I'm really getting so excited and anxious to meet my sweet baby!

From Kari's instagram

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Off Again

Because this topic is still so fresh and saddening I figured I'd just leave a short and sweet blog post in an effort to reach everyone so I don't have to retell the story over and over.

Today I resigned from my job. It hurts because I still have a deep passion for obstetrics, but over the past week certain issues arose making it impossible for me to continue working in this position. I'm incredibly grateful to the coworkers and supervisors I only knew briefly due to my short time in this position. I know this is all pretty vague, but the details need not be shared.

Your prayers are appreciated and certainly welcomed as the future is so very uncertain for Phillip and I right now. This whole crazy situation is much more tolerable due to the love I've felt from friends and family.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Baby Brain

It's normal to expect a pregnant woman to spend a lot of time thinking about her baby and spending a good amount of spare time preparing for when baby arrives. While I actually feel I have done essentially nothing to prepare for baby being here, in the past 24 hours I entered nonstop babydom.

I've spent the past several months looking for a home, finding our home, waiting to get in our home, moving into our home, and transforming our new home. While I can't, and certainly haven't meant to, ignore my growing baby it seems as though newborn preparation has taken a backseat to the house. I want to get the house ready for baby, though, right??? Phill finished sealing off the floors tonight and I am so in love. Now, though, he has the task of sanding and re-sealing the floors that were already exposed because they were previously stained and don't match the newly exposed flooring. Poor, amazing fella. Then, you know, we just might unpack the rest of our crap and settle in to this old place. While redoing the bathroom. Sheesh.

Now that a good chunk of progress has been made, my brain has shifted focus. Alyssa is in baby mode now. Plus, I have a job were I'm surrounded by brand new babies and their new mamas! B.A.B.I.E.S. everywhere. The job is going great. The transition to night shift has gone WAY smoother than I ever anticipated. So great that it's 2:54AM and I'm wide awake watching loads of birth videos on youtube. It's like crack to me. I'm a natural labor junky.

My delay in baby planning doesn't bother me...for the most part. I really believe that baby doesn't actually require a lot of tangible preparation. Baby doesn't need all of the stuff. If baby showed up today we'd be stunned off our assess, but we'd get along alright. However, it would have been nice if I had planned childbirth classes a little sooner. The classes I'm most interested in are several weeks long so they either have already started or start too late so that I wouldn't be able to complete them all before having the baby or the class schedule simply isn't compatible with my work schedule. I hate to sound cocky, especially since I recognize that there is so much about childbirth that I can't understand without first experiencing it, but I'm not sure how beneficial many childbirth classes would be for me. I feel I have a lot of clinical and practical knowledge regarding labor and childbirth. However, I really wanted some sort of clear information for Phill. I want him to be an active participant during the delivery, but I'm afraid that without some sort of "proper" education he may become overwhelmed or feel helpless. I've been researching and finding various helpful tidbits for him so he can help me during labor.

Plus, I still need to figure out childcare and find a pediatrician! I've looked up pediatricians covered with my insurance and I'm planning to call around tomorrow to at least check that item off my to-do list.

Did you see how quickly this post became a bit of a baby ramble? I did not anticipate that many words spewing out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Boy or Girl?

Since Phillip and I aren't finding out the gender of this little baby, I thought it would be fun to hold a little poll to see what YOU think. Here's the most recent photo (from last week):

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catch Up

I swear I never intend to write long, drawn-out posts, but then I inadvertently wait 24378924 years in between blog posts and I feel the need to catch you up on our recently rapid lives. I will do all in my power to keep it short and sweet.

What has changed since my last post? Here we go:
  • Christmas with the families
  • We bought a house (eep!)
  • I quit my job
  • I started my new dream job
  • We went all crazygonuts painting/remodeling said new house
  • I got way larger
Big things! I can't wait to post pictures of this wonderful home once we get it to where we want it. We're mostly through with painting (so close!). Next, we tackle the full bath. Then, floors. Then, who knows. Phillip and I both comment frequently on how blessed we are that everything with this house has gone so smoothly. I truly love this place and it's so funny to think this is the home where I'll have my babies, have friends and family over for celebrations and just for fun, cook so many future meals, and simply live out our lives.

Now that I've been at my new job for a few weeks I suppose I can formally announce that I left my endoscopy position at Lutheran for a position in the Family Birthing Center at Marion General Hospital!

You guys. You guys, you guys, you guys. I've only been on the floor a few days, but I'm ecstatic to finally be in the position I've been pursuing for so long. Plus, better pay so...bring on the laboring ladies and their babies!

Finally, the bambino. I've mentioned several times how difficult it's been for me to stay positive during pregnancy. Yesterday was a monumental turning point. We hadn't originally planned to do any further ultrasounds, but after some discussion we decided to go ahead with a mid-pregnancy ultrasound. While ultrasounds terrify me since they can always find bad, this ultrasound was SO MUCH GOOD. They took a good look at literally every angle of our little one and (I have to try not to cry as I type this) everything looks normal. I saw a strong, pumping 4 chamber heart; a long, curved spine; 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes; a 3 vessel cord, and, of course, a tiny baby face! Oh my word Oh my word I love this little baby so much. That ultrasound gave me so much more confidence in this pregnancy and the life of our baby. All of this still really doesn't see real, but I'm so much more excited now. Finally! I'm excited! I've been feeling completely fine physically, but I want nothing more than for this pregnancy to be over so I can hold and love on my child. Only a few more months! My little one is about 2 pounds now!

I'll try to post more frequently, but with inconsistent internet, a screwy computer, and lots going on in the work/home renovation promises.