Thursday, January 26, 2012

2011 Christmas season, part 2

{part 1 is HERE}

I spent most of Christmas Eve at the hospital, where it was very quiet -- different from the way that day often is. I love that our new baby was with me every minute, night and day. I walked around several times, slowly but with little pain thanks to the Percocet and Ibuprofen I was taking after the surgery. Some people dislike hospital food, but I enjoyed every meal, plus the fact that someone delivered them to me! Lunch was a tuna sandwich, soup, carrot and pickle, and a cookie. Yes, I wanted to take a picture of it.

My husband and I went with baby C to have her hearing tested, which was one of the things we had to do before we could be discharged from the hospital. (Hmm, it could have been interesting to have a photo of that. Oh well.) He left to get the girls from Nana's and do some errands. Meanwhile I took care of the baby, rested, read from the booklet about caring for my newborn and myself, took a few photos, and used our laptop while listening to peaceful Christmas songs.

Here's a funny and upsetting story. While I was sitting on the bed nursing C and my husband was taking all of our stuff to the car so we could go home, two-and-a-half-year-old L said something about the potty. I certainly couldn't get off the bed quickly enough or I would hurt myself. She stood there and peed instead of going into the bathroom like I was telling her to do (not that she can get on the toilet by herself anyway). Before my husband returned I took off L's wet clothes and did my best to clean her off. Any extra undies and pants we had with us were now in the van! My husband was not happy that she had done that. We just wanted to leave. We put a baby blanket around her like a skirt and tied it with the sash from my robe that I was wearing over my clothes.

I think Shboogoo liked these flowers that were on a desk even better than the girly Christmas tree that you see in the background.

So we left after 5 PM. I was glad it wasn't super cold outside. I told my husband that I had a prescription for more Percocet. We hadn't though about me needing to take more soon (every four hours). He turned around and went back to the hospital. Of course it was Christmas Eve, but I was surprised that their pharmacy was already closed. They were nice enough to give him information for the two Walgreens stores in our area that were open 24/7 over the holiday weekend, so we were able to get my meds.

After taking me and C home, he and the older girls joined everyone (it was just five other people) at my mom's house for a nice dinner and gifts. I didn't feel like going over because I needed rest. Here are two pictures I got from my sister's camera.

Then at about 8:30 they all came over to see me and C. My brother and brother-in-law had not met her yet. That's my brother in the photo below. I opened presents from my mom and got to see the girls open a few more things from her. She loved the big Book of Mormon-related book my sister and I gave her because it was the one she specifically wanted us to get her for Christmas. :o) We exchanged our sibling gifts. The best part about that was that my sister and I had bought each other $20 gift cards to the same clothing store!

Christmas morning was fun but we were pretty tired. We had been too tired Christmas Eve to get anything set up under the tree. I don't think Shboogoo and L woke up any earlier than usual, thank goodness. We made them stay in their room while we wrapped their presents (not very many, mostly books), brought out the big one (a cardboard house that they could color and play in), and stuffed their stockings. We also had breakfast before going over to the tree. My husband made waffles, which we don't have very often. We gave the girls new Christmas cups to drink from.

I made the headband and poinsettia hair clip she wore.


Around 10 AM my husband and the big girls went to Papa's house, my Dad's house, and my husband's mom's house. What a busy day for my husband! When they came back home after 9 PM the first thing Shboogoo said was, "Where's [C]?" :o)

I loved being home alone all day with my newborn, watching some shows on Netflix that were Sunday-ish, including a documentary about Mother Theresa. My dad and youngest brother came over after their church meetings, and my dad held C while I had my first shower since her birth. After that, Angie and Todd came to meet her before going to my Dad's. We enjoyed visiting for quite a while. She is pregnant with their first baby and they are really excited about it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

my third birth story

When does this story begin? The way a birthing time begins and the point at which a woman says, "that's when it started" seems to vary. With our third baby my birthing time felt both longer and shorter than the approximately thirty hours I experienced with each of our other children before their Cesarean births. This time it was longer because of prodromal labor. One evening I felt mildly uncomfortable pressure waves (contractions) that required my attention, instead of Braxton Hicks. They started ten days before Third Girl was born and seemed to be more noticeable each day from about 5 PM on. Sometimes they were ten minutes apart or closer; then they would space out in the morning. There was no reason to tell anyone that anything was happening, because it was not consistent, I have a history of slow dilation, and we planned to not go to the hospital until pressure waves were three minutes apart. After a couple of days my husband or I did tell a few people that I was having a lot more contractions, but we also told them not to get excited yet. We had plans for the Christmas weekend. As it got closer I hoped I would not still be pregnant then, partly because my sleep was getting interrupted so much.

My mom came to take care of our older girls while we went to our last Hypnobabies class. This was nine days after the pressure waves had become more serious and at least five days after I felt that the baby had dropped lower into my pelvis. I didn't lose my mucus plug or anything, but I was pretty sure that she would be born before the due date. We spent class time pretending that each wife was having pressure waves and she and her husband practiced various techniques and positions to help her through them. The difference was that I really was having pressure waves.

The next morning I took a long shower before the kids woke up, and our four-person family went to my scheduled midwife appointment at 11:20. I hadn't met this midwife before. She was really good. I told her I thought I was in labor because the contractions forced me to stop was I was doing, and for almost the last hour they had been coming every eight minutes. I was able to relax well as she gently checked my cervix. She asked me to guess how far dilated I was, and I said, "Oh, two?" She said, "You're at five, no, I'll say six centimeters." I said, almost crying, "That makes me really happy."

I was also fully effaced and the baby was at a 0 or +1 station! I felt even more confident about having a vaginal birth. We were definitely surprised to hear her say six cm, since I had never been dilated that far before. (With our other two babies I was at two or three cm when we arrived at the hospital, and eventually progressed to four or five. This time, we don't know how long my body took to get six cm dilated, because I chose not to have my cervix checked at previous appointments. That's why this birthing time felt shorter; I didn't have anybody checking on my progress during the first part of it.)

We got ready to leave the clinic and the midwife congratulated me. "I think you're going to have your VBAC. You're going to have your baby today!" She said it was up to us whether to go right to the hospital or to go home first. She thought things could happen fast and recommended that if we go home to get our bags we shouldn't "dilly dally." She called the hospital to tell them we would be coming.

We headed for home since we knew it would be more peaceful and pleasant there. (Plus it takes less than half an hour to drive from our home to the hospital.) In the car I called our doula -- the same one who helped us with our first baby's birth. She was excited to hear the news, and she agreed that we should go home.

My mother-in-law came and got our other children. Without them at home my husband and I felt like we were on a date, even though we weren't always together. At first I didn't need him during pressure waves. He spent a lot of the day watching the news and using his computer. I ate whatever I wanted and made sure to drink a lot of water as well as some Powerade. Throughout the day I listened to several Hypnobabies tracks on my iPod. I put more things in our suitcase to take to the hospital, did some housework, and walked on the treadmill for half an hour. I also took a nap. It was so nice and quiet.

I timed most of the pressure waves, using an app on my husband's phone. They weren't real close together -- usually six to eight minutes apart, I think. During pressure waves I used deep relaxation and other Hypnobabies tools I had practiced each day for five weeks. I'm really glad we took the course because it made a difference. I felt best being vertical and leaning forward. (Lying down was more painful.) Depending on where I was I either straddled the birth ball and rested my arms and head on a stack of pillows on top of our bed, or leaned on a piece of furniture or a wall.

As the pressure waves started to get harder for me I liked to have my husband come over so I could put my arms around his neck and feel his arms around me. We had decided ahead of time that I would just say "wave" to let him know when one was starting. My exhalations turned into louder "ohhh" sounds during the peaks of the pressure waves. At 7:55 PM I told him I felt like we should go to the hospital, and he called our doula to have her meet us there. I just felt a little different, with more pressure (sometimes pain) by my tailbone and a little nausea. Even though the pressure waves weren't really consistent or closer together, they were lasting for a minute or longer.

We arrived at the hospital about 9 PM. I had to have a nurse assess me before admitting me. She told me to put the gown on but I said I would rather wear my own clothes, and she was okay with that. She put a fetal monitor on my belly. It immediately showed decelerations in the baby's heart rate (the same thing happened to our other daughters). At 9:15 the nurse checked me and found that I was dilated six to seven cm.

We went up to a labor and delivery room. We had requested the room with the best tub, but the staff suggested that we be in the room closest to the operating suites. I changed into just a shift (like a full-length slip) with a short-sleeved maternity shirt over it. The nurse put in an IV. There was talk of releasing the bag of waters to help things along. It could let the baby's head move further down the birth canal and also we would be able to place an internal monitor on her head to better track her heart rate, which the staff was pretty nervous about. The attending physician came in and met us at 9:40 and talked with us. This was probably when he said he thought the baby wouldn't be able to handle the labor, which would likely take at least four more hours to dilate fully, and the pushing that would take maybe two hours or more (since I have never pushed a baby out).

There are a lot of details that I don't remember but our doula had written them down. Labs were drawn on me at 9:50 and I felt shaky. My husband and I wanted to wait for the midwife (another one I had never met) to come, but after talking with our doula we decided to release the bag of waters to help the baby move down and encourage dilation.

At 9:55 the doctor released the bag of waters. I do remember that, because it seemed like he was in there for a long time, and it hurt! There was meconium and some light bleeding. Someone had me lie on my right side to try to relieve pressure that might have been on the umbilical cord. I had ear buds in with a relaxation script playing, and our doula provided comfort with massage.

Our midwife arrived at 10:10. Now when the baby's heart rate decelerated it sometimes got as low as the 50s before coming back up to normal. With my doula's help I moved to hands and knees position, again to avoid pressure on the cord. At 10:20 my husband discussed my preferences with our midwife and asked for me to be given every possibility to give birth vaginally, because it seemed that from the moment the doctor arrived he was preparing for a Cesarean birth.

At 10:35 I stood by the bed; I didn't always know how I wanted to be, but I did not want to be on the bed anymore. Now some of the decelerations were happening even when there wasn't a pressure wave, and some dropped into the 40s. My husband offered me sips of water, and I put my arms around his neck during pressure waves, which were coming anywhere from three to thirteen minutes apart. I felt really hot, so my doula and midwife helped me get my shirt over the I.V. cords so I could take it off and wear the shift only. I also put my hair in a ponytail and they turned a fan on.

I sat on the birth ball for a little while. My midwife was in the room when the doctor returned at 11:00 and said he felt "absolutely obligated to do a Cesarean." My husband continued talking with the midwife until 11:20. He also talked things over with our doula and requested time alone with her and me. We agreed that we had done everything we could and the baby needed to be born by C-section. When the midwife had checked my cervix for the last time she had said that the dilation was the same and now the baby was transverse. My sweet husband gave me a wonderful Priesthood blessing. Then the anesthesiologist and other women came into the room to prepare me for the surgery.

At 11:55 they had me sit in a wheelchair to go to the operating room. The midwife came, too. The anesthesiologist was very kind as she gave me the spinal epidural, and I enjoyed the numbness that made it feel comfortable to lie on my back. I think my arms were still shaking, as they did during the other Cesareans, but they were in a more comfortable place. I remember warm blankets over my arms, and I remember feeling more calm and happy compared to the disappointment of my first "failed" VBAC. My husband called my mom to tell her that we would have our baby soon. He put on scrubs and a mask and joined me at 12:05 AM.

Our daughter was born at 12:06 AM, only 11 minutes after I entered the operating room, so he got there just in time! She weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces (1 ounce less than Second Girl) and was 18.5 inches long (1.5 inches shorter than both First Girl and Second Girl) with a 35 cm head circumference. She looked like her sisters did as newborns, except she had a lot of dark hair.

Her Apgar scores were 9 and 9. As I found out later, the cord had been tightly around her neck, twice. Also, she pooped in three diapers within ten minutes. Before I could hold her for the first time, she had to have some help in the nursery for about two hours. She had swallowed meconium and she was retracting as she was breathing. My husband went with her and took some pictures and videos, and he came back to room 8 at 12:48, just before I did. Our doula stayed with me while he returned to be with our cute baby in the nursery.

I would have preferred not to have surgery, to be able to feel our baby come out, to be one of the first to hold her. But, knowing that we were doing what our little girl needed, I actually smiled during the operation. I was grateful for the way everyone treated me before, during, and after the birth. They knew what my preferences were and they were patient and respectful. I had no pitocin, and no drugs until the spinal.

The doctor came in later and kindly explained that he thought the need for a Cesarean may be related to the shape of the inside of my pelvis. We don't know about the shape because we have not had x-rays done, but we do know that our little babies are not "too big" to fit through my pelvis. He said he had put stitches, not staples, in my incision so that we could leave the hospital early to spend Christmas morning at home with all our kids.

At 1:30 my husband called my mom again to tell her about her granddaughter. Soon after that, our baby was able to join us, now that she was breathing much better. She learned how to breastfeed pretty quickly and she has been perfectly healthy. We LOVE having this girl in our family!


(two different cameras)

This was so sweet . . . pure adoration.

"BIG sister" shirts

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011 Christmas season, part 1

My family didn't do a whole lot of Christmas activities this year (because of preparing for baby #3, I suppose). For example, we never went downtown to see the lights, we didn't watch some of our favorite Christmas movies, and we didn't go to any concerts. We didn't do much to serve others besides giving a few non-perishables to the food bank. It's been a while since I participated in a Messiah sing-in, which I would love to do again. However, I want to document the things that we did do.

(I was finally able to get this photo off of my phone a few weeks after originally publishing this blog post.) On November 29th the girls and I went to daddy's institute building for lunch after one of my midwife appointments, as we had enjoyed doing a couple of times already. They loved all of the Christmas trees throughout the building; this was the best, with the nativity statue and the "snow."

The girls and I went to with my mom to her ward Christmas party. It was a dinner, the high school Madrigals sang, and in another room children could do a couple of different crafts. I must not have brought a camera with me, but later I got a picture of the Christmas tree (sugar cone covered with cake frosting and candy) that one of our girls made.

On December 3rd my husband was at drill, but the kids and I went to my father-in-law's family party. I enjoyed the drive and talking with my husband's aunt and uncle. The kids were way excited that there was a piƱata.

December 6th was my ward Relief Society dinner. I met some sisters that I didn't know before, and I was touched by the program and music about the Savior.
After being frustrated with our pre-lit artificial Christmas tree which we set up soon after Thanksgiving, we got rid of it. On December 8th we finally went out and bought a real tree, using our military discount at Lowe's. We tried and failed at making strings of popcorn and cranberries, but then I made some gingerbread ornaments from an image I found online.

The morning of December 10th was our ward Christmas party. They provided breakfast, entertainment from a funny magician, and sugar cookies.

Sunday, December 11th my husband and I both spoke in sacrament meeting. It's not exactly related to Jesus' birth -- the bishopric asked us to speak about the Sabbath day -- but we like having this opportunity.

I have no idea where my Christmas piano books went! I think I own at least four, and I hope they will show up somewhere. But throughout the season I mostly played/sang the Christmas songs that are in the LDS Children's Songbook. I think the Christmas music the radio stations play is annoying, with the exception of the classical music station. My husband had the great idea to play Christmas songs using the Pandora app on our TV. The girls and I also enjoyed reading the Christmas children's books that we own, plus a few that their daddy checked out at the library.