Monday, December 22, 2014

First Visitors

Ashley, Azalia, and Jenette came to visit Sunday evening. We didn't get any pictures with them, but they took pictures of us!

After Ashley and Jenette left the hospital (they went to our house and took care of things there for us) Uncle Colin and Aunt Jean came to visit. Colin snatched that baby up and plopped on his chest and snuggled down right away. He didn't want to give him up; only let Jean hold him for the last 10 minutes or so that they were there. ha! I was still pretty out of it from not sleeping for days. Colin was laughing at/worried about me- I guess I looked pretty beat up still.
And then Brandon and Janet came too. 

After all of our visitors we both finally got settled in for some much needed sleep. I think my bed was a little bit more comfortable than this one. 

Holy smokes! Sleep never felt so good!!!! I felt a million times better Monday morning. My throat was pretty raspy and sore from all my moaning and groaning during labor, and it felt back to normal Monday. My head was clear; no longer rummy-headed and dizzy from not sleeping for days. The worst pain I had was my in arms. My left was sore and tender from the lock line; my right was bruised from a blood draw.
Monday evening we had some surprise visitors! We knew that Nessie, Felicia, and Chelsie were coming, but we were shocked to see Preston march in first followed by Papa. So fun!

 Looking much better after some beauty rest.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Bulge part III

October 7 came and went without any excitement. Just another day at school/work and getting school projects and assignments done. The rest of the week was the same. Wednesday I was able to work at the horticulture department’s “Come Alive Outside” event in the gardens. It was so fun! Fresh made pizzas cooked in the brick oven at Patsy’s Porch (one of the mini gardens); rope swings, zip lines, and slack lines in the trees; potato bar; apple press; zumba; I don’t even know what else. And I got extra credit in one of my classes for working the potato bar. :) Friday I went to class and turned in 3 big projects for 2 different classes (finished them early so I didn't have to worry about them during or after baby's arrival). I was going to go to work for the afternoon, but David and I decided the night before that heck, this baby hasn't made any sign of coming down the chute, our freezer is empty from last year's harvest, we didn't get any Nevada tags, so let's go hunting! David's still a Nevada resident, but I'm an Idaho resident now so I can get an over-the-counter tag for cheap. So yes, it was me with the license and me with the rifle; I wasn't just going along for the ride. :) As soon as David finished taking a test we loaded up and headed out Friday afternoon for the desert hills north of Rexburg. 
The roads were nice and bumpy. I wasn't bothered by them at first. We got out and hiked around. I'm usually able to keep pace with David just fine when we're hiking but I admit I was a little slower and it was awkward going up hills as I could only get my legs to step up so far (not very far) in front of me what with my belly getting in the way. We saw a few elk tracks, a lot of moose tracks and beds, and a moose. Yes a moose. In the desert sandy hills. We were shocked. Not one deer. 

We hiked back to the jeep and decided to check out a different area. The roads were definitely rough and as we headed back down the mountain after the sun set (and not seeing anything but cows) I was definitely aware of every bump and jolt. But I felt great when we got home, other than tired after staying up absurdly late every night working on school stuff, and I told David that I would be good to head out in the morning and try again. Morning hunts are always better and we were looking forward to it. 
That night I decided I should finally pack our hospital bags; I was 4 days "overdue" after all. I was so focused on school stuff that packing was on the bottom of my to-do list. Before he went to bed (I stayed up longer to pack) David said I was giving the baby permission to finally come. I laughed thinking that things were so not going to happen within the next 24 hours. When I finished packing hospital bags I put together snacks etc. for heading out to hunt in the morning and then finally crawled into bed just before midnight (after staying up well past midnight the night before to finish school projects). Two hours later I woke up to a lovely contraction. I knew right away what it was. It came and went (not mildly) and I quickly went back to sleep thinking if this was the real thing that I probably had at least another 30 minutes before another came, but that it was probably just a one time deal for the night and I would be up in a few hours to get back to the hunt. 15 minutes later I was jerked from sleep with another. Ugh. And so the night/early morning hours went. Because I was bone-tired from the long week I stayed in bed and tried to sleep a little between contractions that lasted about a minute or more. I woke David up around 3:30 to have him rub and put pressure on my lower back during contractions. Pretty sure he slept through and missed a few, but that's ok. :) Needless to say, we didn't go hunting in the morning as planned. 
Around 9:00AM, I think, I finally got out of bed after a sleepless and uncomfortable night. I got started on some Saturday cleaning and just worked through contractions, typically running to David as I felt one coming on so he could put pressure on my lower back. They were coming every 10-15 minutes; the time between them hadn’t decreased. By Saturday afternoon and 12+ hours of contractions I started telling myself it must be some tortuous form of false labor because contractions weren't getting any closer but they were plenty strong enough. I remained calm though and didn't feel like anything was wrong or that we needed to go to the hospital or call the midwives. I didn’t feel like eating much, but I made sure to drink plenty of water during the day and got down a bowl of home-brewed chicken broth. I crawled in the bath Saturday afternoon, and that helped a little but it definitely didn't encourage things to slow down/go away (if it really was false labor) or move things along any faster. I actually had a nice little chat with Grandmama while I was in the tub. I don’t think she noticed when I’d zone out of the conversation during a contraction. Haha.
Saturday evening, after being in labor all day and not sleeping much the previous two days, I was tired and really just wanted to sleeeeep. Fat chance of that happening with a lovely strong contraction coming at me every 10-15 minutes. Regardless, we were both really calm and felt like everything was just fine. 
And so the night went: a 1-minute contraction every 10-15 minutes. At one point I sat on the exercise ball in front of the mirror and braided my hair all fancy like- not sure how I did that through contractions.Ha! When I finished my hair I curled up in bed for a few hours looking for any sleep I could get. No sleep for me but it did feel nice to just lay there and close my eyes when I wasn’t working through a contraction. However, laying down was not the most comfortable position to be in. Around 2AM (Sunday, the 12th), a whopping 24 hours later, things changed. Contractions were a little more intense on the discomfort scale and they finally were closer together. I moved to the exercise ball. I was now only getting 7-8 minute breaks between contractions, and as the early morning hours marched on those breaks got shorter and shorter. We were in the bedroom and I was working through contractions on the exercise ball and David was right next to me in a chair, ready to help me through each contraction. He pulled out my stopwatch and a notepad and took note of when each contraction started. He even included the time of when I threw up- 3:30AM. He kept my water mug filled and was ready to bring the straw right to my mouth whenever I croaked out, “Water.” He continued to be the best water boy during the whole process, all the way through post delivery. We were both nodding off during our break times. The kind of nodding off like when you're in class and don't realize you're slowly drifting toward sleep until the sudden whiplash of your head wakes you up. Ughhh. Nodding off is the worst because it just makes you more tired and all you can think about is going home (if you're in class) and taking a good nap. And when you realize that a good nap is just not going to happen it makes you even more tiredddd. Anyway... we continued to work through contractions. I would switch between laboring on the exercise ball, to straddling the chair (David would move to the ball or bed when I commandeered the chair) with me facing the back and leaning over the backside, to laboring on my hands and knees, to kneeling on the ground and laying my upper body on the bed or the chair. At one point David said to me that he was so sorry that I was in so much pain. I got kind of cross with him and said, “I don’t need your sympathy. I just need you to work with me.” And he did just that.
Around 5AM we finally hit the 4-1-1 mark, the cue to leave for the hospital for most people. 1 minute long contractions about 4 minutes apart for 1 hour. Even so, I felt like things weren't intense enough yet to call the midwives or change what we we're doing. I told myself that at 6AM we would call and see what the midwife said. We made it to 6AM and contractions were anywhere from 1,2,3, or 4 minutes apart but I still didn’t feel any need to leave for the hospital. My water and mucus plug were still intact and I felt good about just staying home. [I had towels laid out for when my water did break: a towel in the kitchen, a towel on the exercise ball, a towel on the bed, a towel in the car…] We called the midwife at 6 to let her know what was going on and that she could expect to be at the hospital with us sometime today. She encouraged us to stay home as long as we could and then just let her know when we were heading to the hospital. 
After getting off the phone with her (David did the talking), my next goal was to make it until sunrise. The sun started streaming through our window after 7:30. As the sunshine fell on us and woke our tired bodies and minds, I decided I wanted to get outside and take a walk. I needed to get out of the house, out of that bedroom; I needed to do something different; I needed a change of scenery. 
It took a few contractions to get dressed, shoes laced up, and out the door. The sunshine and brisk morning air felt great. It was just past 8AM; 30 hours of labor. We slowly made our way out of the driveway and onto the street. I don’t think I was waddling, just moving slow, but you’d have to have David confirm that. We headed west and just did one lap around the block: down 4th W to 5th S over to 2nd W then back to 3rd S and home. I had to stop about every 50 yards to work through a contraction. Sometimes I would drop into a low squat and pull on David’s arms; sometimes I stood and leaned into David’s side or back; a few times I was able to just keep walking (very slowly) when another rush would hit. As it was a Sunday morning, and our ward doesn’t meet until 1:30PM, the streets were very quiet, for which David was grateful that he didn’t have to wave to anyone we know and explain that everything was okay even though his wife looked crazy. :) 
We made it back to the house before 9AM and I was ready to go to the hospital. I wanted to get in the big laboring jacuzzi tub; I wanted the midwife to guide us through different labor positions; I so wanted to be done. We called the midwife and loaded the car. Let me tell you- sitting in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle might be the most uncomfortable way to work through contractions. We arrived at the hospital around 9:15 and made our way up to labor and delivery. As soon as the nurses saw us they came out to meet/greet us. I leaned over the counter and worked through a contraction or two as they got my name and info. Since I was obviously in labor and because I was the only L&D patient on the floor that morning, I got to forego the triage room and head straight to a labor and delivery suite.
I slipped into the lovely hospital gown and onto the bed for the required 20 minutes of fetal heart rate monitoring. During this time they put the lock line in my forearm- which took the nurse two pokes to get it in there. Ugh. And they checked my cervix. I had [kindly] refused to be checked at all my appointments as I didn’t feel it was necessary, so I have no idea if I was at all dilated before real labor started. My biggest fear while I was laboring at home was that when we arrived at the hospital I would only be dilated to a 2 or something ridiculous for how long I had been in labor. But oh happy, happy day. The nurse proudly said I was at a 7 or 8 and 90% effaced and looked at me like I was a rock star. Glory hallelujah I had done it! My midwife wasn’t there yet, but the doctor from the same medical group was there heard that and smiled and said, “Awesome!” Go me! I was well over half-way and past the point of no return, meaning that it would be silly for me to get an epidural now after doing all of this work already without it and that baby would be here in no time. At least that was one of things I kept telling myself as I labored for another 6 hours. 
As soon as my 20 minutes on the bed with monitoring were over I was up and the midwife escorted me to the jacuzzi. I wanted that jet stream of water on my back. I was in the water for almost 2 hours. There were handles built in to each side of the tub that I pulled on as I bent over and had David pour water down my back. A few times the nurse came in to get a fetal heart rate reading. She had a hand-held device and just got her hands where they needed to be regardless of what position I was in or what I was doing. I’m sure she got all wet trying to get to my belly under the water, but she didn’t complain or ask me to move. Awesome nurse! The midwife quietly stood at the foot of the tub and encouraged me through contractions. Her mantra was, “Stay with it,” said in a low sing-song voice. David later told me that it was really annoying him. Ha! But whenever I started breathing too fast she would repeat, “Stay with it,” and I would force myself to take longer breaths. I wasn’t annoyed. It helped me stay focused and not hyperventilate because of the pain. When I was all wrinkly and the water was past the point of being warm, my midwife suggested that we get out and head back to our room. I crawled out of the tub and the midwife and David put my gown back on me. David loves this part. Apparently I didn’t care to wait for them to tie the back of my gown before I went out the door and into the hallway. And you better believe that a good contraction came down before I made it back to the room. So there I was in the hallway, squatted down and pulling on the edge of the nurses desk, with my backside open for all to see. I didn’t care. The midwife laughed. David, I’m sure, was red in the face for me and shaking his head (with a smile). When I could walk again I made it to the room. I reached the bed just as another contraction came so I was squatting down again and pulling on the bed.
After getting through that one I made my way to the bathroom and as I was relieving myself my mucus plug finally let loose. I bet it would have sooner, but I think the water pressure while I was in the tub kept it intact. So maybe if I hadn’t got in the tub, things would have progressed a little faster? I don’t know. Oh well. A few contractions later I made it back to the bed. I crawled onto the bed so they could do another fetal heart rate monitoring session. During this time, the midwife checked my progress. As she did, my water broke [I don’t know if she did that on purpose or not]. Wowza what a sensation. Fluid, fluid everywhere. I was at a 8/9 and completely effaced. I was a little discouraged by this. I was expecting to hear, “All done and ready to push.” I was so, so, so tired and just wanted to be done. If it took 2+ hours of hard labor to progress from a 7/8ish to just barely 9 that meant I had another 2 more hours at least. Ughhh. 
I stayed on the bed for a few contractions laboring on my side, but that just wasn’t doing it for me. So the midwife suggested I get in the shower with the birthing ball. I sat on the exercise ball and bent over as the hot water hit my back. Eventually I was kneeling on a bunch of towels, bent over and hugging the bench attached to the shower wall. All the while with David by my side putting pressure on my back as I asked for it, the midwife quietly watching in the corner and reminding me to “stay with it,” and the nurse (pretty much soaking herself) getting a fetal heart rate reading every now and then. 
Several times I cried to David that I was done, I just wanted to be done, I wanted it to be over, I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep. He had tears in his eyes too as he reminded me that I was so close, that I could do this, that I was almost done. 
Close to 2 hours later the midwife asked if I felt like pushing. I groaned, “I don’t know.” After a few more contractions she informed me that I was definitely pushing through contractions now and that we should move back to the bed. My breathing with the contractions transformed on their own into pushing back into the contraction without me realizing. 
I got on the bed and she had me reclined on my back and holding my knees as I pushed. This wasn’t working. My legs were so tired and my knees were almost numb from kneeling on them for so long in the shower that I just didn’t have the strength to hold them up, even with David trying to help me. So we positioned the bed to a more upright position, like a chair, and they got the squat bar out and attached to the end of the bed. It fit on each side of the bed and came up just past the height of my head as I sat in the bed/chair. The nurse and midwife got my legs up and feet planted so that I was in a supported squat position while sitting in the bed (I guess I like the squat position; sorry if you’re tired of reading that word. squat!). I pulled on the bar during each push and then rested/hung from it during breaks. During this phase I really was just in the zone. I was not aware of much of what was going on around me; I don’t even know what David was doing during this time besides getting me water on my request. At some point though I noticed that the midwife backed away and put on her delivery coveralls and gloves and the nurse set out a pad on the ground beneath me. I interpreted this as: we must be close; I am almost done. 
David says I pushed for about 30 minutes after getting out of the shower. Pushing was a lot of work. I was soooo tired. I really gave it all that I had each time, thinking that the harder I pushed the sooner I could be done. But I felt like the pushing was doing nothing. I wasn’t feeling anything moving down, or the “ring of fire,” yada yada. After one push some “air” was also definitely released, and I looked at my nurse and asked, “Did I just shart myself, or was that just a nasty fart?” because I honestly couldn’t tell. She just laughed and laughed and didn’t really answer me. David has since informed that I did, indeed, shart- but just a little bit. A few more pushes later and finally, finally!, I could feel that intense pressure and baby starting to crown. The ring of fire wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was there, but I think the release from it was the weirdest thing. One moment it was like, “WTH- OUCH!” and the next moment I was already pushing again and with that push baby practically exploded out. (Sorry, this hasn’t been a very sentimental or rose-colored depiction of birth has it?) Sweet release! One of the strangest sensations everrrr. 
Baby let out a good wail or two and was immediately placed on my belly; I tried to pull him up to my chest and everybody told me to stop- he was still attached to the cord and I was tugging on the placenta. So baby lay there and I cried and sobbed with relief as we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. After about 15 minutes David cut the cord. I was so happy and shocked that he did! We hadn’t really talked about it and I thought he wouldn’t want to given his history of wooziness when in the presence of bodily fluids. But he didn’t even hesitate. As soon as the cord was cut baby was placed on my chest. I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to get a good look at him. After staring at him for about 30 seconds I closed my eyes and kept them closed and just held that baby. A few minutes later he started rooting around. I was weak from exhaustion and shaky from the adrenaline rush and my arms couldn’t quite maneuver how I wanted them to, so the nurse helped baby get to the breast. He latched right on. When he was finished he lifted his head up and just stared. And that is what happened the next four hours. Baby stayed on my chest; he would lift and hold his head and stare repeatedly; he nursed; never cried, just did some grunting. :)

During this time we also delivered the placenta. I got stitched up from the 2nd degree tear I received while pushing. And David fed me the chicken fingers, fries, and milkshake I ordered- I no longer needed to worry about diabetes and blood glucose levels and I enjoyed those calories and carbs and sugars like nothing I had ever enjoyed before (I also shared this meal with David, as he was hungry and sleep deprived as well). 

Around 6PM I finally let the nurse take the baby (not that she was pesky or pressuring, just around 6PM she asked and I said sure) to weigh and measure and clean him up. 
His stats were: 7 pounds 12 ounces
20 1/2 inches

Pure, sweet, perfect, precious baby. My baby! I am so in love with him.