And How

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anna's Birth Story

Just to warn you, this is a long, detailed story about a very short labor.  I've put in all the details that I can remember for Anna's birthday because I don't want to forget a thing.  I'm so thankful for every single detail in this story and I know that even if no one ever reads it, I'll always be glad I recorded the events from that day.  And if a detailed birth story (with photos) is not your thing, you may want to skip this post because HERE IT GOES...

 Anna's Birth Story 1/27/2012
Anna Hazel Packard--January 27, 2012
Thursday night (January 26th), my mom and sister Karen arrived at our house to stay with us for the weekend.  The hope was that I would go into labor while they were here and available to watch the boys for us to go to the hospital.  All day Thursday, I had irregular contractions that were on average about 10 minutes apart.  When I walked around, I had strange pains in the tops of my legs that made it hard to walk.  I wasn't in pain or terribly uncomfortable, but I felt like I was heading into labor (which is I guess what you should feel like at 39.5 weeks pregnant).  I went to sleep thinking that I would wake up needing to head to the hospital, but instead had a really solid night of sleep.  I woke up disappointed that I wasn't in labor.  Pack asked if he should go to work or not and I told him to go, but try to stay close by in case I needed him.  I figured if (by chance) I went into labor while he was gone, there would still be two adults at the house (one to take me to the hospital and one to watch the children).  After the false alarm from the night before, I expected a pretty uneventful day.

I was wrong.

We had a pretty normal morning.  Mom made breakfast for the kids, Karen, and I, and we sat around playing with the boys and taking care of Carmon who we were planning to take to a nearby Urgent Care for some respiratory issues she had started having the day before.  Instead of sending her alone, I decided to go with the two of them and see if Karen would drive me by my doctor's office to get checked out before the weekend.  I thought Pack might be less stressed over the weekend if he knew my contractions were just false labor ( like i thought they were, haha) and weren't helping me progress.  I was still having very irregular contractions, but instead of averaging 10 minutes, they were averaging about 7 minutes.  When I called the doctor's office, they said they could see me at about 12:15 to get checked out.

I told my doctor that I was "labor stupid."  Since I was induced twice before and never really felt any pre-labor contractions, I felt like I was a first-time mom.  I didn't think I was in labor, but I knew something was going on.  When he checked me, he said I was about 4 cm dilated, completely effaced, and the baby's head was "way down."  He wanted me to go right over to the hospital to get started on the antibiotic and discuss breaking my water to get things moving.  I didn't especially want my water broken artificially, but I did want to get the antibiotic in time for the baby to be born and I figured that my only two choices to start labor would be if my water was broken or if I started pitocin (which I definitely did not).

I got to the hospital at about 12:45 and was getting settled in a room by 1:00.  The nurses tried to quickly start the antibiotic.  The first IV attempt blew my vein.  On the second attempt, they tried to be nice and use a smaller needle (even though I didn't complain), but the catheter was too small and it wouldn't reach the spot they needed.  On the third time, they finally got it, but by then I felt like a pin cushion.  Once the catheter was in, they started me on the penicillin and I waited on Pack to make it to the hospital.

By 2:15, Pack arrived at the hospital.  He was shopping at a Food Lion across town that was closing when I called (pretty far away...go figure) and had to leave there to go home and get our bags before he came to the hospital since I didn't bring anything with me.  I was so happy to finally see his truck pull up in the parking lot.  Him being there brought me instant comfort.

My Favorite Coach!
At 3:15, the doctor came by and we decided to go ahead and break my water since the antibiotic had been started.  I was 5 cm when he checked me and he told me that I could walk around as much as I wanted.  I decided to wait until the antibiotic had been administered completely before I tried to get up so I didn't have to drag around the machine.  When he broke my water, I immediately noticed more pressure on my bottom.  The contractions weren't painful at all, but feeling the baby so low during the peak of the contractions was definitely uncomfortable.

Sometime between when my water was broken and 4:00, I noticed that I was having to breathe through the contractions.  I never studied "lamaze" or "Bradley" or anything really official, but a prenatal relaxation mp3 that I listened to regularly helped me to practice a simple breathing technique that seemed to really suit me.  I would inhale for a count of three through my nose and exhale for a count of six through my mouth.  I also tried to listen to music through the contractions so voices and other noises didn't distract me.  The first song I heard when I started listening to Pandora was "What'll She Look Like," by Stephen Speaks.  I thought it was amazingly appropriate.

Breathing and Music
The nurse told me that my doctor decided to leave for the day as long as I felt comfortable with the doctor on call (whom I had never met, but totally didn't care who delivered me).  She came by to meet me and mentioned that since my water had just been broken, she wouldn't check me, but would come around again after five and would check me if I wanted (which I did...I want to know my progress).  I figured we'd call my mom to come to the hospital when I was checked then so she wouldn't be sitting around for too long, but Pack told mom to come on anyway and she arrived at 4:35.
Mom didn't have to wait around as long as we thought:)
 I was still feeling pretty good when I wasn't having contractions, but found myself slipping away into music and breathing when the contractions would wave over me.

At 5:15, Dr. Davis said I could be disconnected from the IV if I wanted so I could move around easier.  I didn't really feel like getting out of the bed, but she checked me and I was 7 cm and said that if I walked around, it would help move things along.  I felt instantly better when I stood up...

for about 10 minutes...

I was talking to my dad on the phone when I started feeling really "different."  I handed the phone to my mom and looked at Pack and said, "Don't give me the phone again!"  I'm assuming this is the mind altering state known as "transition."  I went to the bathroom again and thought I felt like staying there for the rest of my pregnancy, but knew I didn't want to have my baby in the toilet.  When I finally came out, I typed in my notes, "Need to push?"  Five minutes later, I updated with "Yes!!!"  I had Pack and the nurse help me back in the bed and I asked when I would be checked again because I KNEW something had changed.  I thought my back was going to break in half and I couldn't stand up any longer. Pack got our camcorder out, sat it on the windowsill in view of the side of the bed and started recording from there.  (Maybe one day, I'll post the can see how fast things happened from that point on for yourself!)

The urge to push was really intense and the contractions were coming with no break in between at this point.  My eyes were closed and concentrating so hard on keeping my breathing rhythmic and slow.  I kept arching my back to keep from pushing because I didn't want to start pushing too early, but I could tell my body was starting to push regardless.

At 5:30, Dr. Davis came in the room and started gowning up.  Shortly after, I was ready to push and it was such a relief!  The contractions gave me a break in between (just as they are supposed to) and I only ended up with a small tear.  I'm not sure how many contractions I pushed though, but Anna was born at 5:41.
Dr. Davis (who also has 3 children...2 older boys and her youngest, a girl...named Anna!)
My first baby born without the help of any medication and it was SO WORTH IT!  exactly the birth I wanted! As a matter of fact, my only regret was that it didn't last a little longer! I have been fortunate to have short, easy labors with all of my babies, but I was so thankful to be able to really experience this birth.

Holding my girl for the first time!
 Anna was 7 pounds, 10 ounces at birth, 20 inches long, and scored two 9's on the APGAR scale.  She came out squalling and was put right on my chest where she rested as her Daddy cut the cord for the first time (I was shocked!).

Daddy's first time cutting a cord:)
 As soon as I was able to get in a comfortable position, I started nursing her and she picked it right up.  I joked with Pack and asked him if he thought she had done that before with someone else!

First feeding.
At some point, I checked to make sure she was actually a girl.  She was...the prettiest little girl I had ever seen!  Little Anna came into the world quickly and easily and worked here way into our hearts exactly the same way.

I have a daughter!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Longest Month

I knew I would feel this way.  January is tough enough in general.  The end of the year always flies by because of the holidays and all the festivities and then things tend to turn to sludge in January.  Last year, my January was pretty busy because of all the New Year's Resolutions I made.  This only resolution is to end the month with a healthy baby.  That makes this the longest month ever.
The waiting game.
 I'm 37 (and a half) weeks and I'd be thrilled if Little Bean decided to make her appearance any time now.  I realize this is just wishful thinking.  Even with two previous inductions and being dilated 3-4 cm for weeks prior, I never had a baby before 39 weeks.  But seriously...I have done everything I know to get this ball rolling and apparently Anna is not quite ready to come out yet.  After my "progress" has been the same for the past two weeks, my doctor jokingly said that I must make a really cozy home for my babies in there.  I like to think he's right.  She definitely seems pretty happy in there.  Honestly though, I realize there's still some cooking to be done and I'm okay to wait through these last few weeks...even if that means Anna has a...cringe...February birthday.  And it's not like I just am sitting around with nothing to do.  There is cleaning to be done and stuff to be organized because OBVIOUSLY, we cannot bring a baby home to a messy kitchen floor. 

On the bright house has never been cleaner.  We've gotten a new sofa and we've done away with the "play area" in the living room (which we fondly remember as the "disaster area") and it is amazing  how much easier it is to keep an open space neater.  Not to mention how much Penn and Jude love having a more open space to run and dance around in.  We do a lot of dancing in this house.
New Sectional with built-in-bed!
As an aside about my doctor...he's wonderful.  I had wished for a while that I had switched to a midwife in order to have a better chance at a natural childbirth, but I am really happy I didn't leave where I am.  My doctor is wonderful and is everything I could possibly want in a midwife.  I was pretty concerned about having to be induced due to my GBS colonization, but he completely put my mind at ease.  He asked me what my feelings were on inductions in general and I told him that although I had been through two previously, I wanted to avoid another one.  He simply said, "Well, that's all we really need to discuss about it then.  There's no reason at this point we would even consider that and if you don't want to do it, then I don't want you to either."  Wow...there are wonderful OBGYN's out there, and I'm glad that I'm seeing one. 

I guess that's about all I can force my mind to think about right's looking and feeling a lot like nap time, so I guess I'll see what I can do about that;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Celebrating 9 months...with pictures!

Thanks to a special new friend who planted the seed about taking these pictures for me.  Although I was hesitant, nervous, and overall not the best subject to photograph, she left me with a handful of pictures that I will always treasure because they remind me what a miraculous and special gift a new baby is.  I can't stop looking at these...that belly is WILD!