Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nora's Birth Story

I'm trying to make this as detailed as possible because I always regret not doing that with Henry. So, if you're not into birth story details, skip this post.

Everything started early Tuesday morning (June 17). I got up early, as usual, for no apparent reason so I decided to fold some laundry. As I was folding, I noticed I felt a little wet. Was it pee, pregnancy mystery fluid or had my water broke?


I decided to lay down for a bit to see what would happen if I stood up. Sure enough when I stood up (right around 8:00 a.m.), I had a huge gush of fluid. I knew right away it was my water breaking. As we finished packing some last minute stuff we tried to take one last picture with Henry. He was so excited to go to the neighbors that he flashed a smile for one second and got super squirmy. When we asked him for a nice smile he said "no, I already smiled!" So we settled for grumpy and headed to the hospital.



When we got to the hospital (around 9:15), I was immediately admitted. I was having a few contractions but nothing regular or strong. I agreed to a check just to see where I was. I was still at 2.5 cm, 70 percent effaced. However, Nora was still very high and wasn't engaged. The nurse got my IV started right away and got my antibiotics for the GBS started. The doctor suggested we start pitocin to get my contractions going. I set her straight that I was in no hurry and would not accept any medical intervention at this point. 

There was some worry about cord prolapse now that my water broke but Nora was so high so they needed me on the monitors. Thankfully, wireless monitors were available so I could walk around the maternity unit.


And, walk I did. Walk, bounce on the yoga ball, walk the stairs, repeat...for hours. I stopped only to eat and for the occasional break. The nurses were supportive and the doctors left me alone. My mom and Morgan were at my side.


At 8:00 p.m., 12 hours after my water broke, I agreed to another cervical check. I needed to know if something was happening. I knew I wasn't in enough pain to be close, but I had to be moving somewhere. At this point, Nora was lower and I had made it to around 4.5 cm. I was happy I was making progress on my own, but knew it was probably time for medical intervention.


At this point, I agreed to a little pitocin. The doctors thought that maybe a little was necessary to push me over the edge and really get things moving -- especially since I went from 4 cm to 10 cm with Henry in only a couple hours. 

Once the pitocin was in (around 9:00 p.m.), there was a complete shift in my pain and focus. I tried to walk for a bit before the decision was made to up the pitocin again. At this point, things start to get pretty fuzzy for me. The pain took over, made it impossible for me to do anything. I asked to be checked again after I started shaking uncontrollably to see if the pitocin was at least doing something. But, nope, no changes, other than the baby felt lower.

I coped by death gripping Morgan and rhythmic moaning for a couple hours. I don't remember being in this much pain with Henry, but Morgan thinks I was. It was a full body experience that quickly became overwhelming if I didn't stay on top of it. It sucks that pitocin gives virtually no break (unlike natural contractions) and its very easy to just fall apart.  

So, I asked for the epidural. I gave it my all, but just couldn't do it anymore. It took 45 minutes to get the fluids I needed for the epidural. During this time, I had another IV drug (around 11:00 p.m.) to try and take the edge off. That drug maybe took the edge off a tiny bit, while making the entire world spin the rest of the time. But it did help me relax during the 1.5 minute break I was getting between contractions. 
The epidural was eventually administered. Right after, my blood pressure dipped dangerously low and they had to give me medication to get it to come back up. I was still in so much pain from the contractions that I didn't really understand what had happened until after. The epidural felt like it took an eternity to actually start working. It also caused a "hot spot" in my leg that felt like a terrible Charlie Horse. Thankfully, at about 11:30 p.m. it did take full effect and I was feeling significantly better.

Then it just became a waiting game. I was able to get a little rest despite more uncontrollable shaking. However, it wasn't long until I started feeling some back pain and low cramping. The nurses checked me and sure enough I was 10 cm and Nora was at a +1 station. Instead of pushing right away, I decided to labor down for awhile to see if Nora would move down on her own. I honestly have no idea how long I lasted that way, but I don't think it was more than 20 minutes.


I just know I was feeling incredible constant back pain. One of the nurses suggested I see if pushing felt better, and it did. They quickly brought me a mirror and called a midwife in (the on-call OB was in the OR at the time and wouldn't be able to make it in time) to catch the baby. I think I pushed 4 or 5 more times and, with shocking speed, Nora was born! After pushing for hours with Henry, the speed of it all really caught me off guard. It was amazing to not be so physically exhausted that I could enjoy watching her enter the world.



She was perfect. Amazing. Beautiful. Unlike Henry, she made full use of her lungs at birth and was able to stay on my chest following her birth. We did skin to skin for well over an hour as we just stared at each other. Within a few minutes of her birth, she was latched on and nursing like a champ. The joy I felt is indescribable. It was like a huge weight of 2.5 years was lifted from me. And I couldn't help but cry.



Following my hour or so of time with Nora, it was Morgan's turn. He was able to have skin-to-skin time before taking her to be weighed and measured. Finally, she was returned to me to nurse and snuggle, which we've been happily doing ever since. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nora Marjorie

On Wednesday, June 18, Morgan, Henry and I welcomed Nora Marjorie into the world after 18 hours of labor.


I'll write a full birth soon, but everything was perfect and Nora and I are doing great. We are finally home and getting to know each other!


Things will be a little quiet around here as we adjust to our little rainbow, but I hope to be back soon! If you want baby pictures (because really who doesn't!?) make sure to follow me on Instagram for daily (and sometimes hourly) updates. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

39 Weeks!

One week until my due date. One week. Please let me be snuggling my baby in one week. 

This past week can be described as the week of contractions and nesting. It's been a vicious cycle. I can't stand any mess -- clean frantically, get a ton of contractions, they stop as soon as I think it might be real. At one point, the contractions were down 1.5 minutes apart and lasting 50 seconds -- talk about labor. But, they weren't getting stronger and I was reluctant to call it. Sure enough, they slowly started to spread out before eventually going away completely. 

It has been frustrating and exhausting. All of this hope-dashing has made me super crabby. I'm sick of trying to figure out if every little pain means something or not. On top of that I'm swollen, sore and so tired. With Henry I could nap all day at this point, and I pretty much did. Now, I'm running after a 3-year-old and I think that has really upped the aches and pains. The good news is my house is pretty clean and I finally feel like we can bring a baby home without total chaos.


With all these contractions, I was at least hoping for some significant cervix changes -- something to make them worth it. Nope, I went from a 2 to a "good 2 cm" although my cervix was much softer and a little lower. 

Nora seems to be good. She has slowed down a little this week -- just a little. Her movements are so painful now, that I've welcomed a little change. Otherwise, her heart-rate was still sitting at 140 and I'm measuring 36 weeks. The doctor did say her head was still sitting pretty high, which shocks me since I'm carrying so low.


So, my dear Nora -- Get out, get out, GET OUT! I hope I don't make it to my next update because that would officially make me more pregnant than I've ever been. 

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On Loss and My Final Days

So, I've maybe been impatiently complaining about being super pregnant for awhile now. I can feel myself getting crabbier about the situation, but I'm pretty powerless to stop those feelings. But, with those complaints, not a second has gone by where I have forgotten what a miracle this pregnancy is. And as every day comes to a close, I wonder if it will be my last day that I ever get to be pregnant again. 

Morgan and I have avoided talking about whether or not we will try for a third baby after this pregnancy is over. We both know that plans don't really matter, and that it very well might not be an option for us. After four miscarriages in 13 months, we are done planning, done thinking we have any control. When people have asked me if this is our last baby, I stumble over my words and answer with a quick "I don't know" before changing the subject.


But, the truth really is, "I don't know." Tomorrow I could wake up and never get to be pregnant again. And while, there is a certain appeal to that as I'm having painful and consistent{ish} contractions, it's also sad. I hate the not knowing. And, I hate that this is just the beginning of the not knowing. 

With Henry, I was so sure we were having more kids, that all those baby milestones were fun. We were always excited for the next stage. Now, what if this is the last time I have a baby? The last newborn. The last time I give birth. The last time our baby smiles for the first time, rolls for the first time, talks, walks. It's sad.


I'm not ready to be done -- to move away from our baby days. The reality is that we may not have a choice. But, I do have the choice to celebrate our Nora -- our rainbow baby.

The pictures in this post are of a quilt made for Nora and I from the most amazing group of women. These women have been my constant support since I was pregnant with Henry. They have celebrated our joy, they have mourned our losses. The different fabrics were chosen by different women and sewn together into a beautiful celebration of our rainbow baby. It means more to me than I can ever express, and was a beautiful surprise in my final days of pregnancy.

So, to honor this beauty and this miracle, I've made a vow to cherish these last moments of pregnancy, to cherish our sleepless rainbow baby newborn days, to never forget what a miracle this second-chance at parenthood is.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

38 Weeks!

Another week down...days to go, a month to go -- who knows. I hate the waiting game. I've been waiting for 2.5 years, I really just want my baby. 

This week I'm just feeling larger, crabbier, sorer, and just so over pregnancy. Nothing much has changed with me over the last week. I've had tons of steady contractions but no cervical change. But, I haven't really had any other new symptoms develop. Nora is doing well, kicking away -- heartbeat at 140. 


I did find out that I'm GBS (group B strep) positive. It's really not a huge deal, and a pretty common pregnancy complication. It just changes my birth plan a bit since I need to go to the hospital sooner than expected to get IV antibiotics. It also means that we need to stay in the hospital longer so Nora can be monitored. I'm not really happy about either of these things, but it is what it is. I'll try to make the best of it. 


I know that the longer I'm in the hospital, the more aggressive Morgan and I are going to have to be about questioning decisions the doctors/nurses want us to make during labor. I think as a second time Mom, I'm more prepared to do this. I'm sure I'll be everyone's favorite...


We did make some headway around here as far as baby prep goes. The nursery is coming together. We have our meals made for June. I made a list of things I need to pack for the hospital. You know, all the stuff I had done at 35 weeks with Henry. 

I fully expect to be pregnant by 39 weeks, lets just hope it's a quick week. 

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Letter L Tot School


Letter L was our first week in our new Montessori homeschool space! It was a huge hit and gave us some extra motivation to spend time at tot school. I can't wait to show you the space when all the details are finally finished. 

The first tray was a log exploration tray. We recently had to cut down a dying Ash Tree in our back yard and have an over abundance of wood. I brought in a small log, provided a magnifying glass, some paper and colored pencils. Henry and the co-op children were then free to explore the log through touch, smell, sight. Then, they could draw their experience. 


Henry, who generally refuses anything artistic, even participated with this tray. But, he was very literal and would draw something to closely represent the log (top right). Overall, I thought the work they came up with was amazing! 


The second tray was a lock and key set. In letter K week, we explored keys by themselves. This time we took it one step further to discover how to use keys for their proper purpose. It was a great practical life lesson, even if it was a little hard for some of the kids. 



The final tray was a repeat from the last time we did letter L tot school -- ladybug counting. Here, the kids can count the number of spots on each lady bug {painted rocks} and match it to the correct card. Henry was good at identifying the lower numbers but still choose to just look at the back {where the number was listed} for the larger ones. 





Other things we did included:

Color Matching Legos to make the Letter L:


Letter L word 3-part Cards:


Letter L Sensory Bin:


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