Friday, September 18, 2015

Mercy's Birth Story

The days and weeks leading up to Mercy being born were stressful. My labors are not textbook so it is hard for me to know when it is time. It was hard with Tricia because she was my first so I didn’t know whether it was the real deal or not. Then came Justus and I didn’t feel the contractions until the last 40 minutes of labor. Thankfully we had gone into the hospital to have my water broken since I was so far progressed; otherwise he would have been born at home. Now onto Mercy’s story. 

In the weeks before she was born I kept progressing at each appointment and so I never thought I would make it to my due date. Having my due date come and go was depressing. Tricia came a week early and Justus came on his due date. Every night for 2 weeks I was getting contractions but then when I would go to bed they would go away. 

Tuesday September 8th I thought it was finally the night. My contractions were 5ish minutes apart and lasting a minute. This continued for 2 hours so I started to get things lined up. Then certain events happened and I got upset and apparently getting upset can cause contractions to go away. That was a major bummer. 

At my previous appointment my midwife made it sound like I wasn’t going to be able to go past 41 weeks so I got things lined up at work to start my maternity leave on September 10th since that would be my 41 week appointment. After work on Wednesday September 9th I went home and felt just awful. I decided to start timing my contractions again and they were mostly 3-5 minutes apart but then some were really far apart. They were also starting to hurt more than usual so I called Chris and my mom to let them know. We decided that my mom would watch the kids so we could go in and see if anything was going on. 

When we got to the hospital it was 8pm and when they checked me I was 4-5 cm and 90% effaced. This meant they were admitting me! We made phone calls so my mom could be there and also so my sister in law could come and take pictures! Since we had time Chris decided to rest since he had been up for a long time. I walked around the room and waited for my mom to arrive. 

Once my mom arrived we decided to walk the halls to help my contractions. They were ranging from 4-5 minutes apart and lasting at least a minute. We only walked for maybe 5 minutes when I got horrible back pain. I started feeling sick and thankfully there was a bathroom right there, otherwise my supper would have been all over the hallway. We decided that is was best to head back to my room once I was feeling better. 

Back in the room I sat on the exercise ball and continued to wait. Just before 11 pm my sister in law and brother arrived. My midwife also showed up at that time and we talked about our plan. We decided to go ahead and break my water since baby was still sitting high up. The hope was that by breaking it baby would drop into position and help me dilate more. At this point I was at 5 cm so not much progress had happened. 

My brother decided this was a good time to go take a nap in his car. We tried convincing him that it was in my birth plan that he was going to deliver the baby but he didn’t fall for our little prank. 

It was around 11 pm when my water was broken and after a few minutes of being monitored I got into the tub. I was in there for maybe 15 minutes before I thought I needed to use the restroom. My mom and Chris kept asking me if it was the baby coming and I kept telling them no. I sent Chris out of the bathroom since I was convinced it wasn’t the baby. 

So I sat there getting contractions and finally after about 10 minutes my mom and Chris asked if I was okay. I started to realize that maybe they were right and that the baby was closer than I thought. Chris got the nurse to check me and I was already to 8 cm. 

Chris came in and I got back into the tub to help ease the pain of the contractions. I was in there for less than 5 minutes before realizing that the baby was coming. Chris and my midwife helped me out of the tub and to the bed. Once I got there I had every intention of getting on my side but I landed on all fours and once I got there I could not move. The great thing about not having any pain medication is that your body just takes over and does what it needs to do, so I just let my body take over and do its job. 

I had about 4 contractions once I got on the bed and that was all it took for our little baby to be born. The official birth time was 12:05 am. So at 11 pm I was 5 cm and just over an hour later our baby arrived! 

I was hoping to help deliver this baby but once I got to the hospital bed I knew I couldn’t move to do that, but because of how I was positioned I was able to grab her much easier than the other two. After a few seconds of soaking her in I looked to see that we had a baby girl! I didn’t want it announced what the gender was. I wanted to look on my own. 

After a few minutes I laid back on the bed and we were able to be skin and skin and within minutes she was nursing. I also wanted to delay cutting the cord so after about 10 minutes it stopped pulsing and Chris was able to cut it. 

As things were getting cleaned up the nurse, Chris, and my mom were talking about how easy my labor was. They may or may not have gotten a glare from me with that remark. I do realize it was super easy and quick but that’s not something you like hearing after having a baby. 

We knew what her name was going to be but we decided to wait longer in announcing since we wanted it to be announced through a video. We like giving names with meaning behind them and also have family ties. For those who didn’t see the video announcement Mercy’s name came to me long before I was pregnant. It was about a month after we lost Peyton I was listening to a song “Blessings” by Laura Story and the song talks about how what if trials in our life are God’s mercies in disguise. It is a song I had heard hundreds times before but this one specific time I heard God tell me that we would get pregnant again and that we would have a little girl and her name would be Mercy. I knew all along we were having a girl but never had it confirmed at my ultrasound because I wanted it to be a surprise, even though I knew it was a girl! Her middle name, Ann, is my middle name and is also my mom’s middle name. So that is how little Mercy Ann got her name! 

So far postpartum has been wonderful this time around. Recovery has been amazing, my energy is not as awful as it was the last two times, and she is an awesome baby! She sleeps pretty great compared to the other two, plus she nurses without any issues! I was nervous how Tricia and Justus would do with a new baby but they have both adjusted better than I thought. They adore her but just need some direction on how to be gentle. 

It’s amazing how much our lives have changed in 4 years. In 4 years we have had 4 pregnancies and 3 healthy earthside babies. Two beautiful daughters and one energetic son!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Life after Loss

It has been just over three months since we lost our sweet baby Peyton. This has by far been the longest and the hardest three months of my life. All the hopes and dreams we had for our sweet baby are gone and as the days go by I don’t have a growing belly. 

Today marks my 27th birthday which should be exciting and fun, but instead it is so hard to not think that today was suppose to mark exactly 20 weeks of pregnancy. When I first noticed that my birthday marked our 20th week I was hopeful that our ultrasound would fall on today. What a sweet gift it would be to see my baby!

However, instead of seeing my baby growing inside me, I sit here with a hole in my heart and belly that is childless. I know I have two wonderful children, but they cannot replace or fill the hole that Peyton left.  Every time I look at my two kids I wonder about whether Peyton was a girl or boy, and what Peyton looks like. It also breaks my heart that Tricia has to wait longer to have another sibling. Whenever she sees a baby she gets so excited and has to point out the baby to me. She is also such a great helper and I know she will be so much more helpful than when Justus was born (they are 16 months apart!).

Someone recently asked me if I received a lot of help after my miscarriage. The answer is yes and no. I say yes because my parents and my in laws helped out tremendously with household things and taking care of the kids. I say no because it seemed like help from people outside the family was not there. We had one family who was there for us, but other than that it was a lot of “So sorry for your loss.” It is not that I don’t appreciate the prayers but to me a miscarriage is not treated like any other loss.

 If someone loses a child after they are born people send meals and figure out some way to help the family with household things, but with a miscarriage it feels like they say sorry and feel bad for a minute, but then their life gets busy and they forget that we have lost a child. It is like they feel they did their duty saying they are sorry, but don’t realize how paralyzing the loss is for the couple, especially for the mom. Then there are people who remember but don’t want to mention it. It is okay to ask about a child miscarried because for us that child lived and we remember that child every day. Yes, it may bring up painful memories, but those memories are never going away. We are never going to forget about our baby so you won’t be reminding us all over again. We are reminded every day because our bellies are not getting big, and for some of us, the miscarriage process took either weeks or months to be done.

Some of us had already figured out the time frame for when certain things would happen. For instance, we were going to tell both sides of our family over Easter weekend since we would have had an ultrasound by then and would have been around 10 weeks. We were going to tell the world the beginning of May, and today we would have had an ultrasound. Then come November 12th I will probably be a wreak since that was our due date.

Besides losing my child the other hard part is seeing week after week people post that they are pregnant. While it is exciting that they are having a healthy baby, it is hard for me to be excited when I should be pregnant too. I wish I was joking but seriously every week someone I know is posting that they are pregnant, and I get one step closer to completely deleted all my social media sites. It seriously hurts me that bad. It is also hard seeing people with big families, because that is what Chris and I want so badly and it seems so far away.

Another thing that has hurt has been certain comments. I knew ahead of time that people try to say the right things but they end up being hurtful. The only comments I have had that have really hurt have been the comments about people losing one of their twin babies. I realize that yes they too have lost a baby, BUT losing a twin was my only hope to have a healthy pregnancy. When I was at the ER I was told that the only reason my numbers would drop and I would have a healthy baby would be if I was pregnant with twins and I was losing one. So all weekend long I prayed that I was pregnant with twins and just losing one. Unfortunately, I was pregnant with only one baby and lost that one baby. My body had to go through the whole miscarriage process and in the end I don’t get a baby in my arms. I have to start all over with trying to get pregnant to have more children, whereas, those who lost the twin were able to carry on with the same pregnancy but instead had one baby instead of two. I realize that they did lose a child and how it must have been hard, but please don’t compare your miscarriage to mine because they are not the same.

We all respond differently to grief so even those who have miscarried may not know exactly how I feel. I stayed in the anger stage of grief for a very long time. It wasn’t that I was angry at anyone or anything, I was just simply angry. I thought it would be therapeutic to break a whole bunch of dishes, but then I would have to clean it all up so I decided to not do that.

One other thing that has hurt since losing Peyton has been the comments and questions regarding whether or not I am pregnant again. I have a feeling people ask me this because they are hoping it happens, but the question hurts. I wish I was pregnant again, but that is not the case. I am hopeful that someday it will happen, but for now I just take each day as it comes. Some days are good, others are bad. So please stop asking and making comments about me being pregnant again because it truly hurts.

I know God has an amazing plan for my family and that someday we will have more kiddos, but for now we are enjoying our two wonderful kids.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dear Baby Thors #3

Dear Baby Thors #3,
                My sweet baby. How I wish that I did not have to write this letter to you. You see, I only found out about you three weeks ago. At first I was shocked, but then my excitement grew knowing that our little family was getting bigger. I started to think about whether you would be a girl or boy, if you would look like me or your daddy, and if you would be as energetic as your siblings. I also started to think about what I would need to get for you. I knew I would not need much since you have two older siblings, but there were a few items I was looking forward to buying for you.
                Your dad and I told your big sister, Tricia, that mommy had a baby in her belly and she kept talking about having a baby sister. Of course, some days she said she wanted another brother so we really weren’t sure whether or not she was team blue or team pink.
                I prayed for you every single day and prayed for a healthy pregnancy and baby. I knew this pregnancy felt different, but I was trying my best to ignore those feelings and to think positive. But unfortunately, things did not work out the way we wanted. It all started on March 13, 2014, which happens to be your Papa’s birthday.
                Mommy went to the ER that day and again the next day. We did not get clear answers on those days, but were told to prepare for the worst. The only clear thing was my pregnancy hormones were dropping, which is a sign of miscarriage. I was secretly hoping that the tests were wrong and that you would be fine. Even though I was praying and hoping you would be okay, I was an absolute wreck.
                It broke my heart to think that I would not be able to ever hold you, to see you, and to watch you grow up. It made me mad to see other people announce their pregnancy’s when I knew that I may not be able to announce about you. You have two older siblings who were excited to have another addition, at least Tricia was, Justus does not talk much. It makes me sad that you won’t be able to run and play with them.
                On March 17th we went to the doctor and it was confirmed that you had either already passed or were in the process of passing. These were words that I was hoping that I would never have to hear. I knew that it was nothing I did that caused this to happen, but I sure wished that there was something I could have done to stop it from happening.
                I realize that you are in Heaven and you feel no pain. I am thankful that you get to enjoy such a wonderful and beautiful place and do not have to experience any pain. You see, this world where mommy, daddy, and your siblings live is full of pain and suffering. I worry about all the things your siblings will go through, but it is nice knowing you get to bypass all this suffering and get to enjoy worshiping our Lord. While I wish I could hold you in my arms so bad, I know that God is holding you in His.
                I wanted to let you know that there are many people in Heaven who know you and love you. You have four great grandpas and two great grandmas. I am sure between all of them you will get plenty of snuggles. You also have an aunt or an uncle up there as well. Your Grandma Cathy and Bompa lost their first baby, and like us, they do not know whether that baby is a boy or girl. You also have a cousin up there so make sure you find him/ her.
                I hope you know how much we love you and miss you. I look forward to holding you in my arms someday, but for now your brother and sister need me here on Earth. There is not a moment that goes by that I do not think about you, and I hope you know that your brother and sister will grow up knowing about you.
                This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, and I pray that this never happens to our family again. Writing you this letter is part of my healing process, and each day is a rollercoaster for me. Another part of this healing process was talking to daddy and coming up with a name for you. I know it may seem weird to some people to name you, but it is something that helps us. Plus, I don’t want my baby in Heaven to not have a name. We couldn’t go with any of the names we had picked out since none of them were gender neutral. After searching for gender neutral names we finally decided on a name for you and I hope you like your name.
                We love you sweet baby Peyton! XOXO
Mommy, Daddy, Tricia, and Justus

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pregnancy & birth of Justus

Before I can talk about the birth of Justus I have to first talk about the pregnancy. This pregnancy was completely different from Tricia’s and there was a lot of worry this time.

We were thrilled to find out in May that we were pregnant again and we were hoping for a boy this time. Everything seemed to be going perfect and I was even keeping up with running this pregnancy. At 11 weeks (4th of July weekend) Chris and I were lying in bed, he was watching tv and I was reading a book. He heard fireworks going off and told me I should look out the window. When I stood up I felt a trickle go down my leg and figured I had a weak bladder so I started to laugh. Chris asked what was funny so I told him that I peed a little and he just rolled his eyes at me. We were watching the fireworks when I felt more trickling and decided I better just go empty my bladder.

On the way to the bathroom it did cross my mind that I could be bleeding, but I shrugged it off thinking I just had a weak bladder from having a baby and now am pregnant again. When I finally got to the bathroom I realized it was not a leaky bladder but I was indeed bleeding, and there was a lot. I called for Chris and he came in, when I told him what was going on he then went and got my phone so I could call the hospital. The nurse sounded so sad and stated that I needed to come into the hospital because she was unsure whether or not I am miscarrying.

While driving to the hospital I tried really hard to not let my mind think about the possibility of losing the baby, but I knew that I needed to be prepared. All the way there I was praying for the baby and praying that we could get in right away and that we would be able to either hear or see our baby all healthy inside. When we got there we went to check in and when the paramedic asked how far along I was I broke down and Chris had to take over answering questions. He then led us back to a room where we waiting until a nurse came in, and it just so happened the nurse was about 7 months pregnant. It was like stabbing me in the heart to have a pregnant nurse check me over, but I realized that since it was late at night she was most likely the only one on duty.

After she was done getting our information she then told us the doctor would be right in and do an ultrasound. The whole “be right in” was a lot longer than I wanted and we ended up waiting 15-20 minutes before the doctor came in. The doctor was nice, but a little too cheery for my current mood and situation. He had wheeled in the ultrasound machine and had difficulties getting it ready and all the cords untangled. When he finally turned it on and put it on my belly we immediately saw the baby and the baby started kicking, punching, and moving all around. It was a huge relief to see the baby was growing and developing (we had an ultrasound at 8 weeks). The doctor was unable to determine why I had bleeding and told me that baby looked great and that I needed to follow up with my doctor.

I went in a couple days later to my midwife and she talked to me about the different things that could be going on. She said I most likely have placenta previa or could have a hemhorrage, but she said most likely it would be placenta previa. In order to determine she said we would need another ultrasound at 14 weeks and until then to lay low and take things easy.

I had an ultrasound at 14 weeks and the technician said the baby looked great and that my placenta was low lying but it was not placenta previa. My midwife said she might refer me to a doctor in Des Moines for a follow up depending on what the radiologist says. A couple days later I receive a call from the clinic saying I need to go to Des Moines for a follow up, but that it was just for my ease of mind. I knew that something could have come up during my ultrasound and they don’t want to tell me over the phone, but was hoping it was just for my peace of mind.

At 16 weeks I had my ultrasound in Des Moines and again it was a great check up and the technician said the baby looked great. We also found out at this ultrasound that baby was a BOY! In fact, the very first image was his boy parts and there was no denying it! The technician looked baby over and then said she was going to get the doctor so he could come talk to me about the hemorrhage. My mom was with me and we both looked at each other like “hemorrhage? What hemorrhage.” The doctor came in and he showed us on the ultrasound the hemorrhage and then went over what I can and can’t do. Basically, he told me no exercise, light walking is permitted, but I need to lay low and take it easy so the hemorrhage can heal. The issues with having a hemorrhage are going into preterm labor and baby will be on the smaller size since the hemorrhage is taking up space. The size of my hemorrhage was “very nicely sized” which meant it was on the medium to larger size.

Throughout the pregnancy I had ultrasounds every month to see how he was growing and to make sure there were no more issues arising. This pregnancy I got the stomach flu 3 times and had a cold 5 times. I also tested positive for Strep B which did not happen during my pregnancy with Tricia. I was upset I tested positive, but in the end it actually turned out to be a benefit. Of course there were days during the pregnancy that were harder on both Chris and I, but we both helped keep each other strong and kept faith that God would answer all our prayers.

The odds of me making it to full term were slim, let alone making it all the way to 40 weeks! The day before my due date I went in for my appointment and when my midwife checked me I was 5-6 cm dilated and 80% effaced. She stripped my membranes the week before so I had her do it again at this appointment. She said technically she has to keep me since I am 5+ cm dilated but she said she can write that I am 4-5cm so I can go home and let labor start on its own. I opted for going home, but she did say that if I want to come in and have my water broken I can go into the hospital at any time since I am 40 weeks. I told her I would talk to Chris and see what he wants to do, or just keep waiting for labor to start. She told me that once I go into labor I need to get to the hospital right away since I am already dilated pretty far.

Chris and I talked and decided that if labor did not start by morning we would go into the hospital in the morning and have my water broken. We went out for dinner that night since we knew a baby was coming soon, and at dinner I started having what I thought was contractions but they never really got strong so I assumed they were Braxton hicks.

That night I did not sleep well since I knew a baby was coming soon and was praying that labor would start. In the morning we got ready and then once my parents showed up to watch Tricia we headed to the hospital. My mom was going to be at the hospital for labor and delivery but we told her to wait at home until we have a better idea what is going on.

On the way to the hospital I started timing my “contractions” (still thinking they were Braxton hicks) and they were 5ish minutes apart, but still could barely feel them. When we got to the hospital and hooked up to the machines the nurse said that I was contracting every 5-6 minutes and that my contractions are very strong. I then asked the nurse “So they are contractions and not Braxton hicks?” She replied that they were contractions. When she checked me she said I was 6 cm dilated, which at my appointment the day before my midwife had said that this nurse would have called me a 5 the day before so I knew I had dilated a little bit more. The nurse then called my midwife who had the day off (oops). My midwife said she would come in and talk to me because she has a personal appointment in Ames that afternoon.

While waiting for my midwife the anesthesia department stopped by to see if I wanted any medication. I had a natural (no medication) delivery with Tricia and wanted to do it again. I of course told them no, especially since I was barely feeling or even noticing my contractions.

My midwife came in a few hours later and checked me and I was at a 7 cm dilated and 90% effaced and baby boy was at a station 0 (baby goes from -5 to +5 station). She told me she could break my water before her appointment, but there was no guarantee she would be around for the delivery. She said we could wait and see how things progress and when she comes back if baby has not been born she could break it then. We decided to wait and let things happen naturally and re-evaluated when she returned (if baby was not born by then).

Since I wanted my midwife to deliver my baby I decided to lay low and not do anything to progress labor until we got the call that she was heading back. Chris, my mom, and I chilled in the room and later on my sister in law showed up.

Because I tested positive for Strep B they started an IV so every 4 hours I could receive medication for it. After my first dose of medication I then went and got in the hot tub so the jets could massage my back and I thought it might help me rest. I was unable to rest much while waiting because of the anticipation of his arrival.

Once we got the call that my midwife was on her way back I decided to walk around the hospital. Chris and I ended up doing 3 laps around the non sick parts and by the time we went back to our room our midwife was there. I sat on the exercise ball to help get things moving and we talked to my midwife some more. We decided to get checked to see how much we had progressed since she left. When she checked me I was 8-9 cm dilated and 100% effaced, but baby was still at a station 0. It was now 5pm and we arrived at the hospital around 10 am. I was still not really feeling the contractions and knew once my water was broken they would get stronger. I decided to have her break my water since I knew I was just going to keep getting tired as the night went on, and thought it might help encourage baby to descend down.

After she broke my water they put me on the monitor for 20 minutes. My contractions were still the same strength when you would look at the sheet, but with each one they were getting stronger. Up until this point I could walk, laugh, and talk through the contractions, but after breaking my water I needed to focus and breathe through them. Once they were done monitoring me I got into the tub since I found that to be the most relaxing. I was in the tub for about 20 minutes when I needed to use the toilet, so Chris helped me out and got me situated. He was staying in the bathroom with me since things were picking up. He told me later that my belly was convulsing up and down during contractions and I assume these strong contractions helped to push baby boy into position.

I got back into the tub and the minute I got in I had an extremely strong contraction and had to push. I knew it hadn’t been very long since my water was broken and felt it was too soon for him to be born (I figured he still had a ways to drop). I looked at Chris and tried to form the words to tell him to get the nurse or midwife but I could not talk. I then looked and saw my midwife standing there and she had changed into her scrubs and she said that it was okay to push, and they were getting things ready in the room. She said I could stay in the tub, but it was too small for me to get comfortable so I decided to get out. At first I could not lift my leg out (baby was crowning) but knew I did not want to deliver in the tub since it could take awhile. I finally got myself out and the nurse and midwife both grabbed towels and patted me for a few seconds then told me to get on the bed, they didn’t even take the time to get me in my gown. Once I laid on the bed they just laid the gown on me and my midwife said to push whenever I need to.

I was still not convinced he was coming out and really did not want to tear. I had read that the longer you push the less likely you tear so I was trying to not push very hard. After about 2 gentlen pushes on the bed I decided that it was time to get the baby out and prayed that I didn’t tear. I gave 2 hard pushes and he came out, but he was turned a little bit so I felt my midwife adjust him and help pull him out. Once he was out my first thought was “I don’t want to know how bad I tore.” He was born at 6:01 pm so just about an hour after my water was broken and only 5 minutes of pushing.

I was surprised to see he had red hair and could not believe how adorable he was.I wanted to wait for the umbilical cord to stop pumping before cutting it, but after 5-10 minutes something was not feeling right and I was ready to get the placenta delivered. My midwife and nurse asked if I wanted to try nursing him, but something didn’t feel right and since I had issues nursing with Tricia I wanted to wait until I felt better.

I was still holding him on my chest when my midwife said that the placenta had not detached and that she was going to have to massage my belly to help it detach. It was extremely painful having her massage my belly so I ended up having them take baby boy off my chest. I am unsure how long she massaged it before she started saying that it needed to come out asap. I remember her saying that I had 10 minutes before she would really have to start being mean to me. I thought this meant she was giving me a 10 minute break, but she really meant the placenta needed to be delivered within the next 10 minutes otherwise other options we need to be used.

 Because of the horrible pain I was in the one nurse went and got some pain medication to help take the edge off. It took forever to get the medication and the nurse seemed in no rush to administer it. I was about ready to hurt someone because of the extreme pain I was in. Since the placenta was still not detaching my midwife was saying that she may have to go in after it and in order to do that they would have to knock me out for 15 minutes. The one nurse was starting to get me hooked up to a heart monitor because if I had to be knocked out, they would need to monitor me during the procedure. Just as the nurse was about to hook me up to the machine my midwife told her to wait. She then told me that she thinks if I give her 2 good pushes we could have it out. I gave her 2 really good pushes and it finally came out. It took 48 minutes to deliver the placenta and apparently it is suppose to be delivered within 30 minutes.

While all this was going on with the placenta, Chris and my sister in law were over with baby boy keeping an eye on him. Fortunately he was healthy after birth so the nurses and midwife could focus their attention on me. My mom was with me for the majority of delivering the placenta. Chris had started out by my side, but later told me it was too hard for him to watch. He also apparently left the room during that time so he could walk around and pray.

I said earlier that it was a blessing I had tested positive for Strep B and the positive was that since I had the IV line started they were able to give me the pain medication right away without having any extra hurdles.

After the placenta was delivered my midwife looked it over and showed us the hemorrhage. It was amazing to see the hemorrhage and I was surprised as to how big it was. During the course of the pregnancy it had gotten smaller so I was surprised how big it was. The hemorrhage was about the size of our fist (female fist that is).

Because of the hemorrhage during the pregnancy and because of the delayed delivery of the placenta I was at an increase risk for hemorrhaging so they gave me a shot of medication to help prevent any further issues.

After things calmed down Chris was holding baby boy and we heard all of baby boys stats (8 lbs 10 oz and 20.5 inches). It is amazing that we made it to 40 weeks and that he was a good sized baby, so much for preterm labor and a small baby! Chris asked if he could share what his name is and I verified that it was our top choice and he said it was so we named him Justus Tim.

With Tricia, she had no interest in nursing , was tongue tied (which we fixed), and she has a high palate. I was nervous to try nursing Justus but my mom said it looked like he wanted to suck and to my surprise the little guy latched right on. We had prayed that he would have a strong latch because I did not want to have to exclusively pump this time, especially with a toddler running around. Not only does Justus have a strong latch but he was tongue tied worse than Tricia and has a high palate, but he still nurses! We had his tongue clipped when he was a week old to help make nursing even better and since then it has just improved.

It is truly amazing to see what the power of prayer can do. We prayed for a healthy, full term, and great nursing baby boy and God answered all those prayers plus things turned out even better. I could not have asked for a better labor and delivery as well. I had this weird fear of tearing (not sure why) and was completely shocked when my midwife said I didn’t. This was another thing I had prayed for, and sure enough all my prayers for this labor and delivery were answered. Of course, next time I know to add the whole praying the placenta detaches to my prayers. It was amazing that I was only in pain during the 5 minutes of pushing and then the 48 minutes of delivering the placenta. While this labor was technically longer than my labor with Tricia, I would still prefer this labor since Tricia was posterior and caused me to have back labor the entire time.
Both Justus and I were released from the hospital from the same day and since then we have both been doing wonderful. He loves to sleep during the day and is up more at night! Tricia adores her little brother and would give him kisses all day if we let her. Chris is thrilled to have a son, and I love how Justus is a mini Chris ( I have yet to determine what he got from me).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tricia's birth

On September 23 I was not feeling well and thought that maybe baby girl was going to be coming that day or the next. Once the afternoon hit that day I started to feel better so I figured baby was not going to be coming soon anymore. We had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon and I was hoping to have progressed even more from the previous week, and we had! We were now 3 cm dilated and about 85% effaced. I was hoping that baby girl would come within the next week, but was unsure how ready she was and figured she would make me wait longer.
On Sunday September 25 I felt fine all day long and that evening Chris and I went to our church picnic. Toward the end of the picnic I started to have lower back pain but I had been having lower back pain for the past couple weeks so I didn’t think much about it. I was tired and ready to go home but Chris did not want to leave his game of volleyball until it was over. Some friends and I jokingly said I should lay on the ground moaning and they would yell for Chris. I thought about it for a few seconds but decided against it because I knew Chris would throw me in the car and would whiz us off to the hospital. Then on the way to the hospital I would have to try to convince him that I was not in labor.

After the game was over Chris and I headed home to relax. We took our 39 week photo and I decided to upload it before heading to bed. Chris was exhausted so he went up before me and once I went to bed it was around 10:30pm. As we were laying in bed I all of sudden felt a pop in my pelvic area followed by pain. I thought maybe my water broke but I checked and it was not my water. I looked at the clock and it was 10:44 pm and I figured I would just try to get a good night’s rest.  A few minutes later I felt pain again and I looked at the clock and it was 10:48pm, only 4 minutes apart. I stayed in bed a little longer and then I had another wave of pain at 10:52pm. I decided I was not going to sleep if this was going to continue so I got my phone out and looked up the difference between real labor pains and Braxton hicks.

The pain I was feeling was in the area for Braxton hicks since it was lower and I had read that real labor starts in the back and comes around front and contracts the whole belly. I decided to walk around the house to see if the labor pains would get better or worse. I don’t know how long I walked around the house but the pains were not getting better so I decided to take a bath, this was about 11:42pm and I was in the tub until 11:54pm and during the bath I had 3 more contractions. I also felt like my water broke and ended up having to change my underwear three times, so I assumed it was my water.

At midnight I woke Chris up and asked him if I should call the hospital or my mom and he said yes (he was still asleep and does not remember this). I called my mom but she did not answer so I hung up and called the hospital. The nurse told me the way to determine whether or not it is true labor is to lie on my left side and drink water, and if after forty-five to sixty minutes they get worse then that is true labor. My mom beeped in while I was on the phone with the hospital so I called her back and told her what was going on. My dad and she were in Omaha for my grandmas funeral so they were a good three and a half to four hours away. I told her I would keep her posted.

The minute I laid down the pain intensified but I was determined to stick out the forty-five minutes because I did not want to go all the way to the hospital just to be turned away because I am not in labor. After 15 minutes I had to go to the bathroom really bad so I made my way to the bathroom and spent and good 5 minutes in there. I was starting to think that maybe this was true labor because a sign of labor is diarrhea. I went back to lie down and after another 15 minutes I was back in the bathroom. I went back and laid down and then I was able to make it to the forty-five minute mark and by this point I was stuck on the toilet. I called the hospital back and explained that the symptoms got worse and the nurse said I could come in if I wanted and that it sounded like I was uncomfortable. I told her I would head in but it would be awhile since it is about a thirty-five minute drive.

I was still on the toilet so I yelled for Chris and he came running in. I told him we needed to go to the hospital so I gave him instructions to put the dogs away and put my pillows in the vehicle (my bags were already in the car). Once he got everything ready I got in the car and we made the trip to the hospital. The contractions were coming every three to four minutes and the best way for me to deal with the pain was to keep my eyes closed. Chris called my mom and told her what was going on but her and my dad were going to wait until we got to the hospital to see whether or not I was in labor. The trip to the hospital was brutal since I was confined to sitting down. Once we arrived we had to check in and I had to sign a form, my signature was more of a scribble since I was in pain. We got to our labor and delivery room and I changed into the hospital gown and was told I needed to lie on the bed so they could monitor me and baby.

They also did an internal check and I was 6-7 cm dilated and 100% effaced, but my water had not completely broken. Lying on the bed was painful and made the contractions worse, after ten minutes I had to use the bathroom again so I had to be unhooked from the monitors. The nurse said they needed forty-five minutes of monitoring so I had to be hooked up again. I really wanted to get into the tub but I needed to be monitored before I could do that. I asked if I could be positioned different and they brought in the exercise ball for me to sit on. That helped make the contractions not as painful and Chris was massaging my lower back which also helped ease the contractions. While I was on the ball being monitored the nurse had a form of questions that she had to ask me. It took a long time to get through the form since I was not able to answer during contractions. After she was done she said that she looked at my chart and saw that I did not want pain medication so she said she would not ask me if I wanted any, but if at any time I decided I wanted some that I needed to let her know. She also said she had to start an IV because even if I don’t have an epidural they would start pitocin after the baby is born to help my uterus contract down.

Another person (nurse?) came in the room and assisted the first nurse with the IV. I kept my eyes closed because not only was it helping with contractions, but I also did not want to watch them put the IV in. It felt as though it took 10 minutes for the nurse to get the IV in and later Chris informed me that it did indeed take that long and that the nurse had made multiple pokes before getting it right. It did hurt when she was putting the IV in, and at that point the pain from her putting the IV in was worse than the pain from contractions. After getting the IV in my time on the monitor was almost up so the nurse started to fill the tub for me. Once the tub was filled I was able to get in and it was a huge relief to be in the tub. There were jets in the tub so we turned those on and they massaged my lower back. I had been in the tub for quite awhile and Chris was by my side the entire time either holding my hand during a contraction, or making phone calls to the rest of the family. I was so relaxed in the tub that I started to fall asleep! I was concerned that if I was that relaxed in the tub that I may not be progressing at all so Chris got a nurse so I could be checked. The nurse stated that if I was falling asleep then I wasn’t ready to start pushing but I told her that I wanted to know if I progressed or not so I knew whether or not I needed to change what I was doing in order to keep labor progressing. The nurse checked me and I was now 9 cm dilated! We had been at the hospital for only 2 hours and I had gone from 6-7 to 9 in that short amount of time. After finding out I was 9 cm I stated that I was getting back in the tub until I got to 10 cm. At this time my sister in law Britteny had arrived and was in the room setting up her camera equipment since we wanted pictures of the baby right away. Just as soon as I was in the tub and relaxed the contractions jumped up in intensity. They were so strong that I was unable to stay laying in the tub and had to get on my hands and knees in the tub in order to cope with the pain. I was in the tub for about 30 minutes and every time I had a contraction I felt the urge to push and I informed Chris and he told the nurse. The nurse came in the bathroom and told me I could either get on the bed now or wait until the midwife got there, which would be within the next five minutes.

I decided to wait for my midwife but after three contractions in the tub I decided to make my way to the bed. As I got out of the tub I needed Chris’s help to get back in my gown but he was grabbing a towel out of the tub that had fell in. I told him I was a little bit more important at the moment than the towel, I was having a contraction and needed his hand to hold onto! What I didn’t realize and Chris told me later was that I kept dropping the towels into the tub and I was almost out of dry, clean towels. Since I had kept my eyes closed most of labor I was not aware that I was knocking the towels in the tub. Once I got on the bed my midwife had arrived and the nurses installed the squat bar on my bed since I had stated I wanted it. My midwife said that whenever I felt the urge to push I could and that would help baby make her way into position, even though I was not completely dilated yet.

Chris’s job during labor was to massage my lower back. I had so much pain in my lower back and by having him massage it helped me to make it through each contraction. After squatting and pushing for awhile by back was hurting too much to stay in that position so I got on my hands and knees on the bed. This position was better on my back and after awhile my hands got tired so a nurse put the exercise ball on the bed for me to rest my chest on. This helped my hands out greatly and after pushing for quite some time they had me go back to squatting. At some point I decided to ask the midwife a question, I knew this question was ridiculous but the pain was intense and I was looking for ways to be done with labor. I asked the midwife if she could just pull the baby out and the midwife nicely said she could not and that she knows it is hard but that I could do it.

At this time I heard some people at the door and realized my mom and dad had made it. I opened my eyes to see my mom walking towards me, and she took to my right side holding my hand and helping with my back. Chris leaned in and said “Look who’s here.” I had already looked so I just nodded my head in agreement.

After several minutes the midwife said the baby was turned sunny side up, which meant we were back to back and we need to be tummy to back. In order to get her to turn the midwife had me lay on my right side. Every time I would move it would hurt so of course lying on my right side caused me to be in pain, but I knew I had to do it. I laid on my side for ten minutes or so and pushed. At this point I could start to feel her head engage in my lower pelvic area, and I was pushing hard to get her out! Since she was close to coming out my midwife had me lie on my back so I could push harder and grab my legs. Again, rolling to my back hurt but again I knew it was what I had to do.

Once on my back I started pushing hard again and the midwife said she could see the head and the baby has a head full of dark hair! In my mind I was thinking “What the heck! My child is supposed to have RED hair!” I was rather furious my child did not have red hair and was even wondering “Is this my child?” Of course I knew she was mine since I was pushing her out as I was thinking this, but I still did not understand why she did not have red hair. My midwife had me reach down and feel her head as she was getting close, and the feeling creeped me out and gave me the motivation to push her all the way out!

 I gave a few more pushes and even though it was burning I kept going. Soon I felt relief as her head came out but the midwife told me to stop pushing and I saw her dive under the squatting bar, grab a tool and head back over to me. I figured the cord was around her neck and this was later confirmed. After she cut the umbilical cord from her neck she had me give one more push, and it felt like a rush of warm water and there was no pain with this final push. It also was not hard to not push while the midwife was cutting the umbilical cord from her neck because her head was what was causing me all the pain and it was finally out! With that final push the rest of her body came out and she was immediately placed on my belly.

 I looked at this child thinking “Are you really my child.” It took me a few minutes to bond with her since I was still in shock over the hair color. But looking at her she was so cute that it was hard not to be attached to her. I wanted to spend quality time with her before we named her so we spent the first hour with her on my chest just admiring her features. She then was taken to be cleaned up and measured, and during this time Chris and I finally had alone time to discuss her name. We had four names picked out with two being at the top. I had originally thought she would get the other name, but I always associated that name with red hair. Since she was born with dark hair and both our moms have dark hair, we decided to use the second name on our list which was in honor of our moms, Tricia Cathleen.

Since I did not have an epidural I was able to get in the shower and clean up while my bed and room were cleaned up. As I looked back in the room I stated “It looks like a crime scene in here.” This made Chris laugh and I think others as well. I was very light headed after giving birth so Chris stood right by me but on the outside of the shower, just in case I would pass out. Fortunately I made it through my shower but was feeling worse at this point. They decided to give me fluids through my IV in order to help with my lightheadedness. I was also given Pitocin in order to help my uterus start shrinking back down. It took a good week for the lightheadedness to go away and two weeks before I felt 100%.

The first night at the hospital the nurse was in the room looking over Tricia, and Chris and I were standing there watching. All of a sudden the nurse started telling Tricia that she needed to breathe and she grabbed a suction device and got mucus out. She then hooked Tricia up to a monitor to see how much oxygen she was getting and she was getting 100% so she said that we just need to be aware. During that night we had to suction her mouth four times to get mucus out. It was scary and hard to sleep that first night, but somehow Chris managed to sleep the whole night. Tricia had jaundice as well but fortunately it was not bad enough to need any treatment, but we did have to come into the hospital three times the first week home in order to make sure her jaundice was getting better.

Tricia was born with a short tongue and a high palate so she would not nurse. Anytime we tried to nurse she would fall asleep. We ended up having to give her formula the third day at the hospital and I was pumping to help my supply come in. We are still working on nursing and making progress but my milk supply is low so we still have to supplement with formula (boooo). Tricia has been such a blessing to our family and we are so excited to have a daughter. The day we found out we were pregnant we started praying for our daughter, knowing the little bundle was going to be a girl even though it was months before it was confirmed. I think it took about 2 weeks before the pain of labor was forgotten. I had wanted a natural labor and I made it through, I was also blessed to only be in labor for less than 8 hours. I pray I will be able to have the rest of our babies naturally since the healing process was quick. I also did not tear but my midwife said anyone else would have wanted to cut me but I ended up with a “skid mark” which she said is similar to a rug burn, just in a very sensitive area. It took about 3-4 weeks for me to no longer feel the skid mark. I must admit that because I felt so good so soon after having Tricia I decided to go for a 1 mile run 2.5 weeks after she was born. It felt amazing to run again and I have finally worked back up to my normal running routine! She is such an easy and happy baby. We have truly been blessed and she makes our lives so much better!