Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pictures from this past week

She's looking a little yellow!  We had Mercy in to see her doctor on Thursday, and the doctor did a bili check.  It came back as 17.1.  I was so sad.  The doctor didn't immediately put her on a light, but asked us to come back in Friday morning to check it again.  It was "stable" according to the nurse, so I guess that means it was 17 again.  We have to go in on Monday morning to have it checked again.  I think that this time it will be lower.  She is nursing very well, and peeing and pooping good.  She has really good awake periods and doesn't sleep through feedings.  She has been having at least 2 times per day when she is awake and "stack feeds" for 2 hours.  I'm certainly no stranger to newborn jaundice!  I'm thankful that my doctor is lenient with me. 

I have hands waiting to hold her all the time.  Josh asks me at night before going to bed, "Mom, can I hold Mercy tomorrow?"  So sweet.
This aden & anais swaddle blanket I got from Bonnie is really awesome!

 It's really hard to count how many people are in our family (and draw them all) if you can only count to 10.  I think she came up with 18 and drew 12.  :)

Mercy's Birth Story

After discussing many factors (the chief of which were my anxieties and concerns about having all my children cared for while I birthed Mercy), the doctor agreed to induce me on Sunday, March 17 when I would be 40 weeks and 2 days.  I was immensely relieved and enjoyed a last weekend at home preparing for the birth.  Sunday morning we needed to check in to the hospital at a little after 6 a.m.  Micah helped kids at home wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for church.  Holly and her family planned to arrive at 8 a.m. to assist Micah, take them to church, and ended up staying with the kids all the rest of the day.  

We arrived at the hospital and were sent straight to labor and delivery to get started.  A pca escorted me to the BEST room on the floor.  It was a large corner suite with floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls.  The room was incredible.  The nurse got me admitted and began setting things up as we relaxed and watched the sunrise.  Around 7:30 I had an iv placed, but it took longer to get the Pitocin up from the lab.  Finally around 8 a.m. we started Pitocin and I had a contraction or two.  

Close to 8:30 my doctor came in and broke my water, I was still about 5 cm dilated.  The baby’s head was low and engaged, so there wasn’t a huge amount of water able to get out (since the head plugged it up).  I labored on a birthing ball, but was already encumbered by the monitors and iv, so I felt limited about getting into good helpful positions.  I couldn’t relax.  Contractions were of course forced, but they were also erratic…one would come after 3 minutes and the next would be almost 6 min later.  After my birth with Obadiah, where I labored on Pitocin many hours without progress, I knew that I would need an epidural.  I anticipated that fear would keep my body from relaxing and opening.  I told the nurse to order the epidural.  Much to my frustration, it took her a while to get it done.  

I had the epidural placed at 10:30 a.m. It went really well.  I think my fears now are far worse than the epi actually is.  I feel that the fentanyl actually made me feel a little loopy, even though technically it shouldn’t have, but I was feeling drowsy the whole rest of the day.  It was doable, and the epidural did the trick for numbing me.  I relaxed and felt like I was “cheating” by taking the easy way out to labor.  The doctor came in and checked my cervix at 11:30.  I was at 6 cm.  I declared, “It will be about 45 min.”  

True to my words, the nurse checked me at 12:15 when the baby’s heart had a deceleration, and sure enough I was complete but for a little rim of cervix left.  She flipped me over and called the doctor to get dressed.  I began to eye the clock nervously while the nurse went about her business.  10 minutes passed, and I asked, “How long does it take her to get dressed?  I need to push!”  The nurse said, “Ok, I’ll call her to come in.”  I was confused, but shook it off.  

I was really fuzzy on time at this point, but according to the nurse’s notes, the doctor walked in at 12:37.  I waited until she got into position to start giving pushes.  The team assembled and everyone was encouraging.  No one counted while I pushed, but I remember wishing that they would have been.  I think this is a trend in birthing where the woman wants to do what her body is telling her, not what a team of people is telling her to do.  I am undecided.  I wish they would have just counted, I could have done whatever they asked me to. 

Oh, I forgot to add an important detail.  Eden was present for the delivery.  All morning everyone had been showing her around, explaining procedures and instruments to her.  It was so cool.  One of the nurses who came in to assist in the delivery really pulled Eden in close and explained everything in detail.  They said, “Now, don’t expect this to look like a normal birth.  Normally there would be a lot more vocalization (screaming).  Your mom is not normal.”  LOL  I was grateful for all the education they were providing!

I was pushing, but it was hard work.  Between contractions the baby was moving and kicking.  I laid my hand on my tummy at one point and suggested that she push and help us out a little.  One nurse had turned the Pitocin off, but the doctor asked for it to be turned back on because contractions just stopped.  It didn’t feel like the baby was coming down like she should.  I was worried and, well, it hurt too.  At one point I actually did cry out, “It hurts!”  I looked up to see a nurse unwrap a suction tool and lay it on the cart beside the doctor.  I am sure I looked bewildered and she explained to Eden, “She might need just a little help.”  I don’t know if I said it aloud or not, but I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh NO, there is NO way THAT is happening!”  On the next push (according to the doctor), I pushed for 4 straight minutes.  I didn’t care if there was a contraction or not.  I got the baby’s head out on that push.  Whew!  A couple more pushes were required to get her shoulders out.  They laid the bed completely flat to assist, all while saying, “This is a BIG baby.”  Gee, thanks for pointing that out.  LOL.  She was not only facing up (posterior), but she was also asynclitic.  Her head was molded on the side front from presenting the wrong way and had an immediate bruise.  I’m positive this is why I had not gone into labor on my own, and bummed that all the positioning exercises I had done didn’t work to turn her.

I was so relieved when she was out!  They didn’t put her on my chest as quickly as I thought.  The doctor held her and suctioned her and we were all like, “Is it a girl???”  Finally the doctor flipped her over and we all saw, “Yep!”  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her!  Quickly they clamped and cut the cord so they could bring her up on my chest.  I held her skin to skin for the next 2 hours.  My sweet doctor did the exam right on my chest so that we could stay together.  I didn’t have any tears or need any repairs.  We adored her chubby round cheeks.  As soon as I could set my bed back up into a semi-upright position I tried to nurse Mercy.  She latched on right away perfectly.  It was an amazing feeling.  Everyone guessed she weighed over 9 lbs, but when we finally weighed her she was only 8 lbs 12 oz.  She was 20.5 in long, and her head was 34 cm.  Not too bad!  

The whole day was surreal.  The setting was perfect.  I am so thankful for a good delivery and a healthy baby.  I had questioned for months if I should try to have a natural unmedicated birth or not.  I did prepare by restudying the Bradley method and doing various exercises.  I just wondered if old fears/anxieties would mean that I was destined for an epidural.  As the day came closer and I had some other pains to deal with, I began to accept more and more that an epidural was in my future.  Once we decided to do an induction, I knew that we had started down a path of interventions that would mean greater risks.  But I also knew my own limitations.  Being on this side of delivery and now knowing that she was big, she was posterior, and she was asynclitic, I am SO relieved that I had the epidural.  My feelings after the birth would have been so much different if I hadn’t had one.  I feel so much peace about how it happened.  I had tried for months to use different positions and postures and exercises to prevent a posterior baby, but in the end it hadn’t changed her position.  It worked out just fine, though.

I’m so thankful for my beautiful baby girl and the way she entered the world, aside from the intense pushing and their naughty threat to use a vacuum, that is.  I felt so good after the delivery and bonding went well.  Learning to nurse has been a breeze.  Having all the kids up to the hospital to meet her was also really good, and fun!  The lack of sleep and the soreness/achiness is par for the course.  I had a regrettable incident/misunderstanding with the nursery early Tuesday morning that really soured the end of my stay. But everything else was very good and I’m basking in the joy of holding my new girl.  I wish I had taken more pictures too, but there will be time for that!  And I do have plenty of good ones, especially thanks to Mitch and Eden.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Introducing Mercy Anne

Sunday, March 17, 2013 was baby day!!  We checked into the hospital at 6:30 a.m.  I was given the "corner room"...the best birthing suite on the floor (which happens to be a brand new wing at the hospital).  This was the view from my bed as the sun rose over the Mississippi River, absolutely stunning:

Labor wasn't too bad, I'll post the birth story later.  Pushing was difficult.  The baby came out posterior and asynclitic.  But she really was a girl!!  Everyone exclaimed at how big she was.

I simply adore her round, chubby cheeks!

I held the baby skin-to-skin for two whole hours.  It was wonderful!  She latched on and nursed beautifully.  We just kept going and the time flew.  Finally I decided Daddy and Eden should have a turn, too.  :)

It was fun having Eden at the delivery.  All the staff were so kind to her.  They were showing her around, explaining procedures and instruments.  I was so glad they took her under their wings.

We also wanted to know how much she weighed.  The doctor and nurses had all guessed over 9 lbs.  When we put her on the scale, nope, she was 8 lbs 12 oz.  She measured 20.5 in long, and her head was 34 cm (13.4 in).

After we got cleaned up and moved to the postpartum room, Holly & Kyle brought the kids up to meet Mercy.  I just loved it--when Tirzah came in, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, how did you get the baby out?"  For weeks she had been saying all I needed to do was lay on my tummy and my tummy would go "pop" and the baby would come out.  Mitch snapped this picture as I pushed on my tummy and tried to simply explain that I just "pushed" her out. 

I unwrapped the baby so that they could see her good.  They all exclaimed over how tiny she is.

We scrambled to get a family picture...

Later Sunday evening she got her first bath, right in my room.  At first she didn't like it, but eventually she settled down and enjoyed the spa treatment.

On Monday Holly and her kids came and hung out at our house, and Mitch spent the entire day with me at the hospital.  Mitch took a TON of pictures and posted them on facebook.  I took a long bath and tried to rest. 

Mercy was SO crabby on this second day.  We snuggled up and nursed pretty much the entire day.  I had not slept well overnight, so by Monday night I was completely EXHAUSTED.  Mercy didn't settle down to sleep good until 1 a.m.  But then we got a few hours of sleep.

Today we were discharged to home, much to the delight of all the kids.  I got a surprise when I dressed her in her coming home outfit--it was too small!  Oh well, I squeezed it on anyway and changed her when we got home. 

I am so glad to be home!  I think Mercy is too.  She is much happier today.  I am still feeling pretty tired.  We got in one nap already, and I feel ready to go back to bed again.  Mercy's weight was down to 7 lbs 15 oz at discharge, and her bilirubin count was 11.3.  Thankfully they did not send us home with a bili light.  We will follow up in a couple days with our family doctor and have her checked out again.  My milk is "coming in" so we should be on the upswing soon!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lordy, lordy, look who's 40!! (Weeks pregnant, that is)

You know, with weather like this, on March 15th, who would WANT to leave a perfectly climate-controlled environment complete with excellent room service??  We are having a "small" storm system move through today.  It started with freezing rain and is finishing up with 1-4 inches of snow predicted throughout the day.  Another system is being monitored and will possibly move through on Sunday/Monday.  I have heard rumors of blizzard warnings.  Yep, the baby just wants to stay cozy right where she is!

I have had a few more incidents of prodromal ("false") labor.  One more trip to the hospital on Sunday.  Goodness this baby duped me twice!  The third time's the charm, right?  Let's hope! I was blessed to have a prenatal massage last Saturday (thanks to a gift certificate given to me by a friend).  It was WONDERFUL.  I saw the chiropractor on Monday because I had been having SI joint pain again.  She got me all straightened out, and deemed me "ready to have a baby."  ::sigh::  But I do think the baby is still in a bad position.  I think she often flips posterior, and is possibly even asynclitic.  I'm trying so hard to use good posture and other techniques from to help the baby get into a better position, but it doesn't seem to help.  Since this has been an issue for me through multiple pregnancies, it could be the shape of my pelvis or some injury that affects the baby's position.  I tend to blame poor positioning for all the starts and stops to labor this time. 

I have a doctor appointment later this afternoon, and I'll update if there's anything interesting to tell.  But I have a few things to accomplish so it might get crazy later on today.  :)  I wanted to put up a picture while I had the's not very often (EVER!) that I get to be 40 weeks pregnant.  :)

(To be honest, I feel like I'm about 10 days overdue, LOL.  Gee, wonder why???)

Friday, March 08, 2013

39 Weeks!!

I haven't been 39 weeks pregnant since I was pregnant with Micah 16 years ago! 

I have gained 32 lbs so far.
My blood pressure is really good...102/58
The baby's heart rate was in the mid 140s
My tummy measured a week behind at 38 cm (the last two weeks I was measuring 1/2 week behind)...possibly she has just dropped further into my pelvis.
I am still only 3 cm dilated.

I am in a really great mood.  On the way to the doctor this morning I heard on the radio that the average adult only smiles 7 times a day.  I have been smiling all day!

Physically I feel really good, but today I did have some trouble with one hip.  If I turn the wrong way it "catches" and my leg nearly gives out.

I got my grocery shopping done, with menus made out for the next two weeks.  Most of the meals are easy ones that Mitch and the older kids can do without my help.  And we have plenty of back up options also, as well as some fun snacks.

We are going to take it easy this weekend, but there is a snow/ice storm heading our way.  I plan to spend some time working on a scrapbook.  :)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Watched Pot...

You know the saying, "A watched pot never boils." 

I feel a little like a watched pot, waiting to go into labor.  =D  Mitch called today to say that every time he goes into the teachers lounge he is accosted by fellow coworkers who are waiting to hear baby news.  I actually am loving it (all the attention) right now.  I'm trying to keep a very positive and patient outlook.  So we don't know when the big moment will be...we are just as clueless as everyone else.  But I do know it will be soon.  "Soon" is such a relative term.  If you had told me a week ago that I'd still be pregnant today, I might not have felt so optimistic. 

We had a "false alarm" on Tuesday night/Wednesday early morning.  Tuesday morning we woke up to a lot of new snow and Mitch's school called off school for the day.  It was a fun day, and I just knew I would go into labor.  Sure enough, around 11 pm, about 45 min after I went to sleep, I woke to a strong contraction.  The contractions continued to come so after a few of them I started timing them.  They were between 3 and 5 min apart and lasting anywhere from 1 min up to 2 min.  After a little over an hour I woke up Mitch, and we started getting things ready to go to the hospital.  We woke up Eden (who wants to be at the birth) and Micah.  Micah just needed to know that we would be gone and that he could call Holly, who could be here within a couple minutes if needed.  We figured that closer to morning we would call an adult friend to be in our home when kids began waking up. 

We arrived at the hospital a little after 2 a.m. and were sent to triage.  I was happy and chatty, and very nervous.  That's no biggie, I'm pretty much happy and chatty all through labor, so it can't be an indicator of labor for me, right??  In triage I obligingly changed my clothes and peed in a cup and took my weight.  Finally a nurse checked me--still only 3 cm--and put me on the monitors.  We registered one contraction in 5 min, and we were sent to walk the halls.  After about 45 min I wanted to drop.  I was TIRED.  And I was also convinced that contractions had completely stopped.  I asked to return to my room.  A nurse came in, and I said, "I would like to go home."  She was very nice, nodded, and said, "Do you even want me to check your cervix again?"  I declined.  A mother knows when she's been skunked.  She called the doctor, who asked if I could be put back on the monitor for a few minutes first.  They did this, registered about 3 contractions, and then decided to discharge me.  Seriously, I'm surprised that those tiny, very un-serious tightening-of-my-belly squeezes even showed up on the monitor.  The baby sounded perfect.  I was discouraged, and exhausted.  I eyed the clock, computing in my head the maximum possible amount of sleep we would get before morning.   A nurse and I chatted.  I said, "You would think that by baby #9 I could tell real labor from false labor!"  She thoughtfully replied, "That's actually funny."  :)  She told me that they were understaffed for the overnight shift and they had already delivered 8 babies that night, only half-way through her shift.  I was glad to be going back home on a busy night.

We got home around 5 am, so we only got 1.5 hours of sleep.  I was a walking zombie, and canceled school for Wednesday.  Mitch was wonderfully supportive, and cheered me up.  He said, "Hey, it was a good practice run, and now we know what to expect!"  (The hospital birthing center has been completely remodeled and things are a bit different up there now.)  Mitch was glad to go back to school for the day so he could tie up some more loose ends as far as lesson plans go. 

As I reflected on the event (and tried not to be so dang prideful), I thought about things this way:  My water has broken 5 times and labor did not start.  Out of the other 3 times, one of those I went into the hospital with contractions but things didn't really get "serious" until the doctor broke my water.  Only 2 times have I gone in to the hospital in full, active labor.  So I guess it is understandable that I was duped this time.  I was duped another time too--with Tirzah.  So two false alarms in 9 pregnancies is not so bad.  I do need to get over the fear that I will wait at home until it is too late.  Other than that, I feel very peaceful about waiting until the time is right and not trying to hurry things along.

Yesterday I skipped drinking the RRL tea and taking alfalfa, because both increase braxton-hicks contractions.  I didn't have any noticeable contractions all day.  We had supper done and cleaned up by 6:30 pm, and I went to take a relaxing bath--complete with candles.  After my bath I took tylenol to stem the headache from lack of sleep, and I also took a Unisom tablet to help me sleep.  I really didn't want to wake up with every twinge or kick.  It did the trick.  I was out by 7:30 p.m.  While I had to get up to pee, I was able to fall back asleep immediately.  I slept until 6:30 a.m. and woke up feeling more like 30 weeks pregnant than almost 39 weeks.  What a fantastic feeling!!!  Today we are doing a full day of school, and just focusing on being "normal".  It has been a great day so far.

Tomorrow morning I have an 8:30 doctor appointment.  It will be the first time since Micah (my first pregnancy) that I have made it to a 39-week appointment.  The cool feeling is that it's no big deal.  I could not have said that during my last couple of pregnancies--I'd probably be crying.  :)  I hope this feeling lasts and lasts.  The peace and patience are a blessing from God, I know that for sure.  Tomorrow afternoon Micah has a dentist appointment.  The kid has wisdom teeth coming in!  Imagine that!!  I can't believe I am about to give birth, yet I have one old enough for wisdom teeth.  ::shaking my head:: 

Here are some pictures from our snow day on Tuesday:

 Adding to the snow fort

Lots of GOOD help shoveling the driveway!  

Our van is dressed up as a Dodge

Can you guess who was the only child who did not go out in the snow to "play"???

These pictures make me so happy for a hidden reason:  You can see the rays of the setting sun across our back yard.  That's because as we get closer to spring, the sun now sets more towards the north.  In the winter the sunset is blocked by the neighbors' houses.  It is now moving far enough north that we can begin to see it in the back yard.  ::squeal::  God is good!!

Some day soon I'll be able to dry laundry on my deck again.  "Soon" still being a relative term, of course.  

Kathi and Patrick, we sure wish you were here!!!