Wednesday, April 25, 2007

10 Reasons why I love newborns


I forget how much I love having a newborn until I have one again. Some things I love:

1. The sweet, milky smell of their breath.
2. The coos, grunts, sighs they make when sleeping.
3. The way their backs arch when you hold them to your shoulder, so that their little bottoms stick out and their heads are nestled into your shoulder (the butt stretch)
4. The way you can find all sorts of lint clenched in their fists (if you can pry them open) I know, kind of gross, but still, only in the newborn stage.
5. The way they stare at you intensely, unblinkingly, memorizing your face.
6. The dream smiles that are a foretaste of the real smiles that are to come.
7. Their soft, snuggly bodies that melt into yours as you hold them.
8. The tiny fingernails, fingers, toes, everything
9. They are so portable, and sleep through anything
10. And of course, their yawns...


Thursday, April 12, 2007

K's Birth Story

I woke up with my usual insomnia the morning of the 3rd at 1 am. After playing on the computer for a couple of hours I went back to bed. At this point some contractions started. They were mild enough that I could just breathe through them, but strong enough to wake me up each time I drifted off to sleep.

When morning came, Ed decided to work from home, in case the contractions got stronger and more regular. They pretty much stopped at this point, and I was able to do laundry and some cleaning. After lunch I lay down for a nap, but the contractions started up again and were about 15 minutes apart. When I got up, they stopped being so regular, so I decided to make an apple pie that I had been meaning to make all week. After I got it in the oven, the contractions started up again, and I decided to go for a walk with the kids (around 4:00). We got as far as my friend Anna's house where I dropped off E and N and kept on walking around the block. As each contraction came, I was able to walk out the pain and breathe. After 2 laps I picked up Ed and he walked the last lap with me. It was 5:00 by this time, and we stopped to pick up the kids and then called Jim and asked if we could bring E and N over for the night, as it was pretty clear labor had started, and the baby was coming!!

When we got home, I made the kids a quick dinner of macaroni and cheese, and as they ate, the contractions were becoming more intense and close together, about 10-15 minutes apart. Ed had found my yoga ball, and I would bounce on it through the contractions, but I couldn't hide the pain and discomfort from the children. E understood that it was a "good" pain, and was excited that her baby sister was coming. N was very concerned and asked, "Mommy, need a tissue?" and brought me one. Ed then took them to Jim and Steph's, and I settled down on my ball in front of the computer, to work through the contractions and distract myself from the pain with Solitaire.

My mom arrived around 7:00, and Ed came back shortly after with my requested dinner- a cheesesteak and milkshake. We sat around the kitchen for a couple of hours, and my contractions were 5-10 minutes apart, and increasing in pain. We decided at this point that we would all try to get some rest, and we would call my mom when we went to the hospital.
Ed and I went up to bed, but I didn't do much sleeping. The contractions slowed down, but each time they came I would need Ed to rub my back, or I would jump out of bed and try to walk through the pain. He did fall asleep, and I tried to work through the contractions by myself. Finally at 1:30a.m. the pain was too intense to be lying down, and I wasn't getting any sleep anyway, so I thought I would take Jeni's advice and get into the bathtub. Ed offered to come down to the bathroom with me, but I told him to get his rest, as he would need it later. I stayed in the bathtub for an hour and a half, and it really did help. I was able to bear the pain on my own as the contractions increased to a consistent 5 minutes apart. As the contraction started, I would start pouring water over my belly and say the alphabet, seeing how far I would get before the contraction ended. By 3:00 I was ready to call the doctor, so I got out, and made the call. They told me to come in, so Ed and I got ready and headed out. The streets were dark and empty, which was a blessing since we got to the hospital in less than 15 minutes. During rush hour it would have taken half an hour.

We checked into triage at 4 a.m. and I was 5 cm dilated, which was a pleasant surprise. I had expected 2-3. My contractions had slowed down again, but I was ready for an epidural. We got into the labor and delivery room around 5, and I got my epidural around 6. After that, things reallly slowed down. Ed's mom and my mom arrived around 7, and there was a lot of sitting around. I didn't feel the contractions at this point, and they weren't as regular. After the doctor examined me around 7:30 he ordered pitocin, since I was still at 5cm. The problem was, with each contraction I had the baby's heart rate dropped from 140 to 60. The nurse had me switching sides with each contraction, and finally put me on oxygen as well. When we asked what could be causing the heart rate drop, she said that the cord was probably being compressed. I asked if that meant it was around the neck, and she said it was possible. I knew in my heart that was the problem. Ever since my first pregnancy that has been my biggest fear for delivery. That the cord would be around the baby's neck, and she wouldn't make it. This fear was made even more real, as friends from high school just had a baby a few weeks ago that had the cord wrapped twice, and had to be revived and could suffer brain damage as a result. The nurse then put a scalp monitor on the baby, and felt that it would be ok to start the pitocin. Once I was on that, things really sped up, and contractions came every 3-5 minutes. But then the nurse would keep lowering the pitocin, or turn it off because the heart rate kept dropping. So the labor really stretched out. I believe if there hadn't been the heart rate issue, and I could have gone on the pitocin right away, K would have been born much earlier, maybe by 9:30.

Finally around 11, I was still only at 6 cm, and so the doctor ordered the pitocin to be increased so that labor would progress. The moms left to get lunch at this point, and Ed helped me through each contraction, as I was feeling pain and pressure with each one. At 11:30 I was examined, and was at 8 cm. The moms had returned at this point and were amazed at the progress that had occurred while they were gone. At 11:45 I was climbing the sides of my bed with pain, and begging to push. The doctor came in and said that although I was fully dilated, there was something strange on the side of the cervix, and it was probably a lip that hadn't completely thinned. His actual words were, "That's weird, I've never seen that before!" I responded, "Great. Just what I wanted to hear." 15 minutes later, at noon, it was clear that this "thing" wasn't going anywhere, and I needed to push (it ended up being scar tissue from a previous birth, or that is the OB's best guess). So the room quickly filled with people, the light dropped down, and the end of the bed taken away. I pushed, and after the head came out, Ed said that he was scared that the baby was gone. The cord was wrapped around her neck and she was blue and not crying. Thankfully, I didn't know this at the time. All I remember is the drill sargeant nurse ordering me to hold my legs and push as hard as I could. At this point the shoulders got stuck and there was some manipulation to get them out. After what seemed like an eternity, but was only 8 minutes, K was born. There was still no cry, and I could tell by Ed's face that something was wrong, but when I asked him, he said it was fine. As they got her over to the warmer, they got her breathing and we heard her first cries. I heard the nurses say that she was getting pink, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Her APGAR score went from a 5 to a 9. After they got her cleaned up a little, they brought her over to me, and we had the naming. We handed my mother in law the envelope, and she read K's name. At 1:30 we were taken to the hospital room, and the process of recovery began.

In some ways I can't believe it is only a week later. I feel really good physically, and it seems unbelievable that K wasn't here a couple of weeks ago. On the other hand, the labor is still very fresh in my mind, and it seems like only a couple of days ago. In any case, I look at our one week old baby and I am so thankful that everything worked out ok. There was a chance of a c-section, as well as that scary moment for Ed when he thought it was all over. K is doing well, and we are working on getting her in a more regular schedule. E and N are great with her. They love holding her, and N says several times a day, "She is so cute!" He has actually adjusted far better than I expected, and seems to understand when I need to hold her I can't hold him. E has struggled more than I expected, as she is processing things like not being the little girl anymore, but the big girl. She has had tearful moments that seem unrelated to the baby, but probably are a reaction nonetheless. Ed went back to work today, so I am on my own. Right now E is at school, N and Erika are watching tv, K is napping, and I just got a chance to write out this long entry.

Even though I know the next couple of months are going to be hard at times, I am so thankful to be on the other side of pregnancy. We are truly blessed, God has been so gracious to us.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


One of the first pictures after the birth-- 1 hour old babies are not pretty!


12 hours later, looking better already!

Ed loves holding K, and especially cherished the time in the hospital together.


The second day in the hospital the kids joined us for dinner and to meet their new baby sister. N proclaimed her "cute", and counted her toes. E took everything in quietly, not saying much. They both sang her a couple of songs and had a chance to hold her. K was alert and agreeable for the visit.



Our new family:


On Friday we went home. My mom was there in the morning (after having spent the night with me), and we put on a special bonnet that she had made out of a vintage handkerchief. The bonnet can be taken apart to become a handkerchief again for her wedding day.


Last picture in the hospital, our little Easter bunny!


Welcomed home by big sister!


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Something has started...

I have been having contractions since about 3 am. They kind of tapered off this morning, but picked up again after lunch. I think I may be in early labor, so we are sending the kids off to their aunt and uncle's house for the night and getting ready for the long hours ahead. I still may be a couple of days away, but I sure hope not!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Thoughts on Birthing...

I thought it might be funny to pretend I had the baby today, and then say April Fool's, but only for a second. Somehow it is a funny idea, but in reality, not too funny. Anyway, I am feeling perfectly normal, good, in fact. Soooo at this point I am just hoping to have the baby by next Sunday, and I am trying to be patient and OK with it if I don't.

To amuse myself and pass the time I have been googling "pain management during labor" and "pain free labor". There was this one website by a homebirth person that had some crazy stories. One section was about women who had completely pain free labors, to the point where they are sleeping and wake up to find a newborn baby under the sheets! I can't believe that is even possible, but it must be, if there is a continuum of labor pain from extreme to mild. But in the rest of the website it seemed like the birth stories from just the regular women seemed to have the general theme that although labor wasn't completely pain free, it was very manageable, and the pushing part easy. So I wondered, if women who choose home births are a certain kind of person with a high pain tolerance, or is it genuinely easier to give birth on your own? I can see how with the pushing the advantage to be in whatever position you find easiest a definite positive, as opposed to being confined to a hospital bed flat on your back. That appeals to me. But I just couldn't do it on my own at home, I like the comfort of the hospital and doctors in case anything happens. I think a birthing center would have been my first choice, except that I like my Ob practice and didn't want to switch to a midwife. Well, it doesn't make a difference now-- unless this baby comes while I am sleeping, she will be born in a hospital. And I must admit, I am SO looking forward to the recovery time afterwards in the hospital. Some people may think this strange, but I love being looked after by all the kind nurses, having my meals brought to me, and spending those first couple of days with just me, the baby and Ed. A kind of peace before going back home, where all the responsibilities of taking care of a house and 2 other children will rush in, even with extra help the first couple of weeks.