Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cecily's Story

Last time you heard from me about Baby 4's labor, I wrote about having a "false labor" experience in the middle of the night on September 6th.  Picking up where I left off, I continued to have contractions every 10 - 30 minutes throughout the day on the 7th and the 8th.  They completely stopped every time I fell asleep, so I'm thankful to say that I was actually well-rested during that time.  We enjoyed a nice Saturday of family time, mostly at home.

By Sunday afternoon, I was determined to make my contractions settle into a rhythm.  I decided to paint the walls of our basement staircase, so I walked up and down the stairs over and over to get to the paint tray, which I made myself leave at the top.  After supper, we took the girls to the park to play, and took a little family walk on a beautiful trail that starts at the park.  Even though the contractions began to be painful enough to make it more comfortable to stop walking, they weren't that bad.  And even after all of my activity from the day, the timing between them didn't change.

After we put the girls in bed, I broke down.  Through tears, I told Tony that I couldn't do it anymore.  I said maybe we should go to the hospital, planning for them to send me home, so that I could at least have some certainty about how far I had progressed.  I thought it was a silly idea, but Tony says now that he has rarely seen me that upset in our entire marriage.  He made an executive decision to go to the hospital.  My sister came over to stay with the girls, and we made sure that she knew that we'd be back (ha!).

Once we were at the hospital (9:45 p.m.), I laid in a triage room, hooked up to the contraction monitor, for almost an hour.  During that time, I had ZERO contractions.  Yep, I thought, my suspicions are confirmed -- just send us home.  I was, however, dilated to 4.5, so the charge nurse told me that I could stay and walk around for an hour to see if that got anything started.  We decided to try it.  While walking, my contractions increased to every three to five minutes, and I had to stop for most of them.

Walking the hallways -- yep, I'm the coolest person I know.  :)

We went back to the triage room (11:30 p.m.), where they measured me again -- still 4.5 cm.  Without even asking about my contractions, they said the same thing: you can go home or you can stay here for an hour.  I asked to be hooked to the contraction monitor so that the nurse could see how frequently they were coming.  So, I laid there for ANOTHER hour, with good, regular contractions.  At this point (12:30 p.m.), I couldn't move or talk during contractions, was breathing intentionally through them, and Tony was squeezing my hand through the contractions at my request.  But, you guessed it -- let's all repeat the chorus here: I was still dilated to 4.5!  The charge nurse said that she could almost say 5 cm, so she called my midwife and they agreed to admit me.

It seems obvious to me now that I was clearly in active labor, regardless of measurements, but I truly had no idea.  I expected them to stop again at any time, and I was kind of surprised that they admitted me.

While we waited to be admitted, I called my sister to let her know.  I also called my parents, who like to be in the waiting room for the births of their grandchildren, and told them that we were being admitted, but that I expected this to be a very slow process.  They decided to come in the morning, but asked that I call if/when anything happened.

So, at 12:45 pm, we were admitted.  The labor and delivery nurse came in to move me to a delivery room.  I kept having to make her stop what she was doing for contractions.  They had suddenly increased to only 30 seconds or a minute between contractions, and Tony was squeezing my hand and bear-hugging me to help me through them.  It was getting very hard to make myself breathe intentionally to relax during contractions.  We walked to the delivery room, which was probably 100 feet away, and I had to stop three times on the way.

Once I got to the delivery room, the midwife came in immediately.  She asked how I was doing, said that the nurse would get me settled, and to tell the nurse if I felt the need to push.  She said she would be back to check on me later.  (See?  I wasn't the only one who thought I would be in labor for a while!)  I had one more contraction, realized something felt different, and asked the nurse to call the midwife back in "just to check me".  Sure enough, I had dilated from "almost" 5 cm to 10 cm in about half an hour.

I think everybody was taken by surprise.  I started pushing before the labor and delivery nurse could even break down the bed for delivery, but she did manage to finish setting it up between contractions.  A nurse from the NICU rushed in with a baby warmer and scale because all of the other nurses were busy.  Instinct took over, and all I could do was follow my body's lead and get this baby out.  Tony tells me that it took about 20 minutes to deliver our baby girl.  It felt like about 5 minutes.  Regardless, at 1:40 a.m. on September 9th, 55 minutes after being admitted to the hospital, Cecily Truth entered the world.  What a feeling of relief and accomplishment!  She had a head full of dark hair, bright alert eyes, and was already trying to get her thumb into her mouth.  Getting to meet the child that I've grown for nine months never gets old -- she was (and is) so beautiful!

My eventful night wasn't over yet.  I had a second-degree tear, and even though the midwife stitched me up, I was still bleeding heavily.  I ended up having to get a shot of Pitocin to control it.

At this point, I remembered that I had gotten a text message before having Cecily.  I asked Tony to check it.  It was my sister Melissa, saying that she had decided to drive up from Pueblo to be in the waiting room!  We had to call her and say that she missed the delivery already!  She was just pulling into the parking lot, and we loved having her with us for a little while and take a few pictures for us -- the first family member to meet Cecily.

After Melissa left, I got up to use the restroom.  My labor and delivery nurse came with me, and I couldn't stop yawning while I finished up and washed my hands.  I paused outside the bathroom door, and the next thing I knew, I was several steps away from the door, sitting on the floor, with the nurse sitting behind me and holding me under the armpits.  Tony was holding Cecily and asking if I was okay, an alarm was going off, and nurses were rushing into the room.  I had passed out for just a couple of seconds.  The nurse had seen what was happening, grabbed me, and sat down with me as I fell.  She had asked Tony to pull the alarm, which sent the nurses rushing into the room, but as soon as I came around and got the color back in my face, things settled down again.  They gave me a bag of sugar water through an IV, and I was totally fine.  Later, I found out that I'm anemic, which is probably what caused the bleeding and the fainting.

After all that, we were finally able to move to a mom/baby room to get some "rest".  We were discharged on the 10th, although I felt so good that we could have been discharged before then.  Now, we're at home, settling into being a family of six.  Tony has the whole week off for paternity leave.  And because Cecily has day/night reversal, I'm spending my nights counting my blessings instead of sheep.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Introducing Cecily

Introducing our fourth daughter!

Cecily Truth
Born on September 9, 2013
1:40 a.m.
8 lbs 9 oz
20.5 inches

I was able to give birth drug-free, and the story is definitely worth sharing!  I'll write about it as soon as possible.  We're home now, and with Grandma's help, we're enjoying adjusting to having one more member in our family!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Baby 4: 39 Weeks

I don't think I've ever posted a belly picture two weeks in a row, but I decided to do it for two reasons:
1) My hair and makeup is done today.  :)
2) I thought that last week's picture would be the last one, and since I want to get a good picture as close to the baby's birthday as possible, you're going to see one a week until she arrives.  :)

Last night was a first for us.  I woke up at 2:45 a.m. with contractions that were consistently 10 minutes apart.  I've had Braxton-Hicks for months now, and these were definitely not Braxton-Hicks.  After several contractions, I woke up Tony, and even though we knew that we needed to wait for closer contractions before calling my sister to come over and heading to the hospital, we took advantage of the time to pack our bags.  I ate "breakfast" and took a shower.  Two hours after they started, the contractions were still 10 minutes apart, and since it was still basically the middle of the night, we decided to rest until they got stronger and closer together.  I dozed and woke up during contractions for at least another hour, then fell asleep hard.  By the time the kids woke up at 7:30, the contractions were gone.  

Ugh.  So, today, I've had very inconsistent contractions -- sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes an hour apart.  Since my water broke with the twins, and my entire labor was only 6 hours with Marlowe ... this is quite annoying.  :)  But surely this means that it won't be much longer ... right?  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Grout Lessons

Woo-hoo!  After months and months of work, our kitchen remodel is done!  We tore out a wall, installed hardwood floors in the entire main level, tore out and replaced all of the cabinets, and had new countertops and a new backsplash installed.  And that's just a summary -- there are so many other things that we did, I can't even list them all.  I'm so pleased with the way everything turned out!

Tony and I did most of the work ourselves.  We hired a few people for things we didn't feel qualified to do -- an electrician, a drywaller, an HVAC technician, and, because my due date was getting so close, a tile installation guy.  Today was the final step -- grouting the backsplash.  I had spoken to the tile man about the grout color that I wanted -- not white, I stressed. I wanted a gray or taupe to give the white subway tiles some dimension and visual interest.  He assured me that he would show me color samples before he started the grout work.

So, he came to our house to finish his work this morning.  I finished up breakfast with the kids, helped them get dressed, sat with them while they played and I worked on something for my church moms' group.  My former next-door neighbor stopped by and we chatted.  When I took her to see the finished kitchen, I noticed (you guessed it): the grout was halfway done, and it was white.

As soon as I had a moment, I went back to the kitchen.  "Um, I'm probably asking too late, but weren't you going to show me color samples before you started grouting?"  The poor guy's mouth practically dropped open.  He said that he could pull off all of the tile that had already been done and start over.  I wanted him to start over so badly.  I was so disappointed.  But, I could not make myself make him do that.  The white looked fine, it just wasn't exactly what I wanted.  So I said to keep going, that it would be fine.  I was even more disappointed when he didn't even apologize or offer a discount for his mistake.  And again, I couldn't make myself be confrontational.

At lunch with Tony, I moped and frowned.  Trying to change the subject, he asked what else I had done this morning, and that's when I had an attitude-changing realization.

When I look at the white grout, it will remind me to choose my children.
When I look at the white grout, it will remind me to serve my church and my God.
When I look at the white grout, it will remind me to take the time to chat with a dear friend.
When I look at the white grout, it will remind me that complaining about material possessions is a first world problem.

Can your backsplash do all of those things?  :)  I guess mine isn't so bad after all.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Baby 4: 38 Weeks

Happy Labor Day!  We have about 6 hours of holiday left, and it doesn't look like I will be having my own personal Labor Day today.  We celebrated with a bunch of family, just eating our fill and playing at a park for several hours.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

As usual, my Braxton-Hicks contractions are ramping up, sometimes nearly constant.  I'm dilated to 2.5 cm and am 50% effaced.  Oh, and a fun new pregnancy effect that I have is poor circulation in my legs.  Whether I'm standing up or sitting down, my legs are generally tingly.  So, with all that being said, I don't expect to make it to the baby's due date (September 13), but you just never know.

Besides, I look like this, which I'll freely admit isn't as big as I've been with the other two pregnancies, but just imagine a 8 lb baby nestled in there and maybe you'll feel a little bit of compassion for me.  :)

In family news, Hadley and Leila start preschool next week.  They're SO excited.  They'll be going two afternoons per week, which I think is just the perfect amount.  They're very smart kids (doesn't every parent say that?) so I'm excited to see what they learn as well.

Marlowe is busy keeping up with her older sisters.  She imitates their play, their words -- pretty much everything, and it's adorable.  She's such a happy, cheesy gal.

I told Hadley and Leila recently that the day Baby Sally (as they call her) is born will be her birthday.  They're now insisting that we have to have a birthday party for her, and made me promise that we'll have pink cake at her birthday party.  :)  I can't wait to have a little celebration, and I can't wait to see these girls become big sisters!