Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Birth of Adam Jonathan

Adam was "due to arrive" on March 11, 2013. I was about 99% sure of this due date, but as we all know, babies have minds of their own and he decided he was comfortable. Looking back, I think the length and difficulty of his labor were tied directly to his late arrival as I don't think he was quite in the right position for the big event.

March 11, was a Monday and it came and went quite uneventfully. I wasn't too stressed as his big sister arrived a day after her due date. I had prepared myself for him to go a little earlier, but I really hadn't thought he would be late. Much less a week late. On Wednesday, March 13, I started contracting when nursing Evelyn to sleep that night and was happy when the contractions didn't disappear after about an hour like they normally did. After timing them for a few hours, they were steadily 6-7 minutes apart and I thought I had finally reached early labor. I let my doula know and we waited. They continued until about 11 that evening and I decided to lay down for a while to see if I could rest. At 1, I woke up and they were all but gone. I was disappointed, but thought they might pick up in the morning when I got up and started moving around again.

Unfortunately, that next day nothing happened. I went to my appointment with Dr. Lindsey and had her check me, lamenting at my false labor. She said she commonly sees labors start and stop with second time moms and that I was 2-3 cm and about 50% effaced. Well, at least I had made progress! She told me not to make an appointment for next week and that she'd probably see me before the weekend was over.

I had a few more bouts of prodromal labor that week all resulting in nothing. It was really frustrating and my patience was wearing thin. 

Finally, on Sunday evening, March 17, I started having some more real time-able contractions after nursing Evelyn around 7. I tried not to get my hopes up as they had come and gone before, but before I knew it they were every 4-5 minutes, then every 3-4, then every 2-3. I was worried about having a precipitous labor and had been communicating with Alicia on and off and we both decided that I should go ahead and head into the hospital. 

I got to the hospital at 11 pm and they confirmed I was in labor and was 4 cm and 100% effaced. I was finally going to have this baby! I started to get into my mental zone knowing that a battle was in front of me and that the more effort I made toward encouraging labor, the better it would be. I got my first round of antibiotics in and then I walked the halls of the hospital for the next hour or so holding onto the rails and squatting through each contraction, hoping to move baby into a good position. Finally, my feet started hurting and they said that the birthing tub was ready and I could get in when I wanted. I decided to hang out for a little while longer and get a monitoring session over with and then I'd get in. At about 3am I decided to get in the tub as the contractions were getting stronger and I was having to really concentrate through them. Alicia and my mom were on standby keeping me hydrated and giving me pressure when I needed it. But, during this stage of labor, I'm pretty content to just be by myself. Evelyn was sleeping in the classroom across the hall with my mother in law and Rob was down in the waiting room with our dads hanging out until he was more needed.

Moving into the tub was glorious. Just as relaxing as I remember it being the first time except better. The birthing tub was big and warm and deep. I could move in it as I needed and it was just perfect. I continued to labor in the tub getting out occasionally to go to the bathroom or get monitored and trying to do everything I could to get things moving. I was so ready to meet my baby! We all made fun of Rob a bit because he kept falling asleep on the bed. He was so awesome that day!

At about 7:45 am, Dr. Lindsey came in and I decided I wanted to get checked. I felt like the baby had moved down and I was starting to feel a little pressure. I wondered if I was nearing transition as the contractions were really starting to get difficult.

At 8, they checked me and confirmed I was at 8 cm and 100% effaced. I was relieved! 8 cm! I knew I had reached transition as I was starting to question my resolve and the pain was really intense. I remained out of the tub to try a few positions to encourage me to dilate the rest of the way and for him to work his way down.

All during this time I was battling with myself. I kept thinking, "I can't do this" and then telling myself that if I was thinking those thoughts, then I was in transition and it would be over soon. I played this mental battle for what seemed like an eternity. And, looking back it was. This is when things went south. I labored for another hour in the tub before getting out wanting to be checked again. The pain and pressure were there, I knew I must be ready soon. Still, I was at an 8. I tried laboring on my hands and knees during which my water broke (though not fully) at about 10:45. I got back in the tub. I was starting to get vocal. This MUST be the end. He MUST be ready. Many times I looked at Rob and Alicia and my mom and said, "This is taking too long. I'm not supposed to be in transition for this long." I started questioning if I was really in transition and maybe I just was being a wimp. So, I steeled my resolve and pressed on. I got out of the tub again to be checked. By this time I was pretty over it. I was questioning my body. But, I had to be progressing. They checked me, still 8 cm. I was devastated. How long had it been? Dr. Lindsey said we needed to try and make the contractions a little stronger to encourage me to dilate. She tried to push the cervix out of the way a bit. I tried squatting through contractions. I tried hands and knees. I tried to have Evelyn nurse to encourage my contractions so I didn't have to do pitocin. I couldn't imagine making them stronger with pitocin. I didn't think I could handle it. Finally, I cracked. I looked at Rob and he looked at me, knowingly, and I said, "I'm done. It's not supposed to be like this. Something isn't right." After discussing it with Dr. Lindsey (haha, discussing things between screaming through contractions is pretty interesting), Rob, and Alicia, we all decided that we needed to take a new approach. My goal went from waterbirth to healthy baby, healthy mom, vaginal delivery. No one mentioned a c-section ever (thank goodness!) but obviously something wasn't right. The consensus was that Adam was malpositioned (I knew he was posterior) and something was preventing him from descending into the birth canal. He had been at a -1 station almost the entire time I was there. I was then informed that I had been in transition laboring at 8 cm for 6 hours. I told them I just needed a little break and decided to get the epidural to see if the relaxation would work toward dilating me the rest of the way.

{Evelyn came to visit me occasionally that day, and the hospital was so accommodating to her!}

At about 3, I finally got the epidural. I asked for him to make it a "light dose" if possible as I still wanted some feeling and idea of what was going on. I could always feel my legs, though they were tingly, but I couldn't feel ANYTHING else and to be honest, I hated it. Don't get me wrong, I was grateful for the break, but I disliked the lack of control and awareness I had over my body. I had them come turn it down twice in hopes that I'd at least be able to feel enough to push without coaching. Even at half a dose, I couldn't feel anything (not even the pressure of delivering him). Unfortunately, the epidural didn't work toward pushing me to complete as I had hoped. After another two hours and some breast pump action to try and strengthen the contractions, I was still at an 8. So, they started the pitocin. At 6:35, I was close enough to complete that Dr. Lindsey told me to try bearing down to push the little lip of cervix out of the way. Apparently, my issue isn't with pushing 10 lb babies out, because 10 minutes and 4 pushes later, he was here!

Immediately he was laid on my chest and everything was perfect. He was perfect and everyone commented on his size. He had a bit of trauma to the left side of his face where I assume he got stuck as his left eye was so swollen he didn't open it for 2 days and he has a broken blood vessel in it. The crease that was across his forehead was pretty amazing as well.

I am so grateful to Dr. Lindsey, Rob, Alicia, and my Mom for sticking with me through everything. The nurses were amazing as well. One of them came in on her night off because she loves to work with natural, waterbirth mamas and the others that were there pretty much didn't leave. It was like having an extra doula! While I mourn my waterbirth and I (selfish as it sounds) feel like I was robbed of my "natural birth" badge (lol), I feel like I made the right decision. My goal was to ultimately have a healthy baby, a healthy mama, and a vaginal delivery and that's what I got. I have a healthy, beautiful boy and I couldn't ask for more. Rob was pretty traumatized by the experience and he immediately said we were done having kids. I, on the other hand, want at least one more and maybe next time I'll get my waterbirth.

After spending some time nursing Adam and enjoying some wonderful skin to skin, we got his official stats (9 lbs 15.8 oz  - isn't that technically 10? - 21.5 inches long). We are so thrilled to have welcomed a little boy into our family! He already fits right in.

{Doesn't Rob look amazing for 24 hours of labor totaling almost two days of no sleep? Also, my belly band was absolutely perfect to use as a tube top for my "waterbirth". I highly recommend it!}

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baby #2: 40 Weeks

How far along: 40 Weeks (+1 Day) - My guess date has come and gone!

How big is baby: A jackfruit! As long as she's in your belly, baby's hair and nails will continue to grow, and her lungs will keep developing. She's anywhere from 5 to 11 lbs and is getting ready for a slightly gooey introduction any day now.

Weight gain/loss: Not sure on the exact number, but I can say that I am still below my end weight from my pregnancy with Evelyn. At my 39 week appointment, I was 168. I hit 172 with Evelyn's pregnancy. I'm pretty happy with that!

Stretch marks: Yep. I've had a few pop up around my belly button. They aren't all over like last time though.

Sleep: Not too bad. Not awesome, but not too bad. Evelyn's sleep on the other hand has left something to be desired. She's napping today though!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Nothing sounds good. I'm pretty sure my body is trying to stay in an optimal state for labor and delivery. I'm not very hungry most of the time and when I do want something it's usually light.

Movement: Still dancing away. Last night I had another solid hour of huge movements and kicks. I'm going to miss it...

What I'm worrying about: Trying to keep the "what-if's" at bay again. Being that I'm now technically "overdue," I'm getting anxious about how long this baby is going to want to stay put and thus being put under more scrutiny as far as getting him/her to make his/her exit. My OB is really good about this though.

What I'm loving: These last few days of baby kicks. Since he/she has dropped, I'm feeling surprisingly comfortable and I'm glad I'll be left with a positive feeling from this pregnancy.

Symptoms: Contractions. Sporadic, but they are there. Indigestion. Cervical pain. 

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing how this labor and delivery go! Experiencing that amazing moment of meeting my baby. Finding out the gender!!!

Best moment of the week: Hitting my guess date! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Baby #2: 39 Weeks

{New phone! Woo-hoo!}

How far along: 39 Weeks

How big is baby: A watermelon! Baby's brain is still developing rapidly and his skin has taken a paler shade thanks to a thicker layer of fat around the blood vessels. He's now able to flex his limbs, and his nails might extend past his fingertips.

Weight gain/loss: I want to say we're closer to the 40lb mark now. I've only gained 2-3 lbs in the past month or so.

Stretch marks: Yep. I've had a few pop up around my belly button. They aren't all over like last time though.

Sleep: Better. I've actually slept entirely through the night a few times otherwise I'm only waking to pee.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: I've lost my appetite a bit. Not much sounds good. Though I'm still enjoying sweets more than salty.

Movement: Slow and steady. I'm getting a lot of the "lightning crotch" feelings and pressure as the baby is dropping but he/she is still wiggling away in what limited space is left. I'm also getting some very deep nerve pain when (I assume) the baby hits something in there. It radiates through my hip bones and butt and sometimes almost knocks me off my feet! Check out the video I took last night! This was even after he/she got a little camera shy!

{I'm not the biggest fan of showing my bare belly, but I couldn't pass this one up}

What I'm worrying about: Not too much. Just getting through labor and delivery in general and have a healthy baby!

What I'm loving: Another wave of nesting! Getting baby clothes washed and put away. Looking at tiny newborn cloth diapers. Having the crib ready again and the swing out for use. Getting so close!

Symptoms: This past week has been really good! I was pretty miserable for a few weeks and all of a sudden it's like things are magically better. Aside from having a belly in the way and the occasionally sharp pain, I'm feeling almost 2nd tri-ish. It's really setting me up for positive memories of this pregnancy. I'm happy to be reminded of why I love being pregnant and how much I am blessed to enjoy this miracle.

What I'm looking forward to: Holding my sweet baby. Smelling the smell. The high of that first moment when I get to meet him or her. Knowing that I'm about to double the joy of parenthood in our house. 

Best moment of the week: My mom coming over yesterday to help me do some serious cleaning and organizing. Rob and I made a ton of freezer meals on Sunday and I'm feeling pretty ready!