Genesis Grace was born on Wednesday, February 4, at 11:59 am. She was an astounding 9 lbs 13 oz and 20 in long, with a 36 cm head. We came home a little over 24 hours later. The birth went very well, and she is amazing!
Mercy's last night as the littlest sister in the family. We painted our nails.
39 weeks! I'm feeling large, and super nervous.
I was really nervous about everything, but was taking it one step at a time. I was a swirling ball of emotions! The contractions started coming, but they weren't painful. I had huge pools of fluid with each contraction, so that caused some excitement. Even though I wasn't in pain, I knew that I would eventually want that epidural. I didn't see any point in putting it off, but I still had anxiety about getting it done. Sometimes the epidural can hurt, and it certainly carries its own risks, but I was determined to have it. I put a death grip on my pillow and prayed. The anesthesiologist was good and it was over in a flash (about 9 am at this point). The epidural was perfect and within a few minutes I was numb and comfortable, lying on my side. The nurses monitored me for a while to make sure I was stable. Since I was completely comfortable, they bumped the pitocin up, then left me to get some sleep.
I slept for about an hour, and the nurses came in at 11 am to empty my bladder and check for progress. I was 6 cm and about 80-90% effaced. I was not quite so sure now about making lunch time, and I began to have some doubts. I had only slept about 3 hours the night before, so I was pretty exhausted. The meds in the epidural made me feel loopy, so when I was awake I was trying to stay focused and keep everything together. I had promised to update people via text, but I couldn't remember anything! I grabbed my journal every now and then to write down notes. The nurses left to let me get some more sleep.
It couldn't have been more than 15 minutes since they last checked me when I felt pressure (no pain) from a strong contraction and felt the baby move down. In about 3 minutes I felt the same sensation. I had my eyes squeezed shut and was having a little inner fight with myself about whether I should say anything. I didn't feel ready. I thought there was no way that I had fully dilated so fast and how embarrassed I would be to call the nurses back just to have them say that. I was scared about pain during pushing. I was sad to let go of the last bit of pregnancy. I was excited to meet my baby. I was nervous about how things would change, in my family and in my body. If I could just hold on for a few more minutes, get a little more sleep... And a third time I felt a strong contraction and the baby slip down. I squeaked out, "Mitch, the baby is moving down," and reached for my journal. Right then the nurses came in. They had seen the baby's heart rate dip on the monitor and they knew. ;)
They quickly checked and found me complete, with the baby's head "right there." They turned off the pit and I assured them I was comfortable waiting for my doctor to drive over. The room became a bustling center of activity while people came in and set everything up. The doctor on call said that nurses at the station said to her, "You might want to mosey on down there just in case," so she came in to wait for my doctor to arrive. The room felt very calm and patient, while inwardly I felt chaotic...I struggled to get control and fought back tears.
My doctor rushed in and into the gowns that the nurses had ready. She was so bright and cheery as she greeted me and asked how I was doing. I honestly said, "I'm about to cry!" She asked what they could do to help. I said, "Just keep making jokes." And they did. It was so fun. I asked the nurses, and Mitch reminded them, to count for me while I pushed. When they counted to 10, I felt like I had permission to stop and take a breath. I know some women don't like the counting, but I always feel lost without it. So that helped me a TON. I got three pushes out of the first contraction. Since I was really numb, I asked the nurses to tell me when the next contraction was coming...so it was all pretty much directed by them. With the next contraction I pushed the baby out. It didn't hurt a bit. She was anterior! Yay!!! The doctor stood up with the baby and I laughed to see pee and poop going everywhere. The doctor looked at me and said, "She's really big, Steph." I shrugged. What do I know??
She placed the baby on my chest and we marveled at the thick, long cord. Mitch cut the cord. In a little while the placenta was ready to come--and that was huge too. So I didn't just have extra fluid, I had an extra large baby, a long, thick cord, and a huge placenta. No wonder I was so uncomfortable! In spite of it all I didn't need any repairs, and my uterus clamped down nice and firm so that I only had minimal bleeding. After having so many babies, and with my uterus distended more than normal, hemorrhage was definitely a concern and was furthest from what happened.
The baby was slow to get going with crying. She stayed blue for a while so her apgars were only 8 and 8. Eventually she started pinking up. I was anxious to nurse her, but I was also anxious to see how much she weighed (along with everyone else in the room). So I handed her over. There were many shouts of exclamation at 9 lbs 13 oz! My biggest baby by 13 oz--crazy!!
I soon had my baby back in my arms and we just stared in awe. She was amazing. Her face was bruised and starting to swell slightly from the fast delivery. She latched on and nursed without any coaxing. You could have thought she was 6 weeks old (by size and by latch, LOL).
It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had a good view of the Mississippi River. I thought of how perfect the setting was. I'm so thankful the sun was out!
She was awake and alert for almost the rest of the day. It was so peaceful. I was still very tired and loopy from the epidural. I was slow to send out text messages and let people know the baby had arrived. I was definitely too loopy to talk about names, but we tentatively chose Genesis. :) Mitch headed home at supper time. Micah had been running a fever all day. We decided that the kids would not be able to visit us in the hospital because we didn't want them sharing germs all over the maternity floor.
The worst part to the day is they wanted to check her blood sugars. The first one was low, the second was high enough, and then the third she got really upset and was crying a bit before they took it--it was 34, which is under their mark. I was told that I would be expected to pump or supplement with formula. I was devastated. This was too much to take. I begged the nurse to tell me something else. She brought in a pump, but she called my doctor. The doctor said that we could just feed, test in one hour, then test in another hour after that (baby would have to go 2 hours without eating). Ugh. I am the kind of person that wants to snuggle in and nurse the baby every second she will. I hate even trying to keep track of how often and how long the baby has eaten. Thankfully the baby chose this time to go to sleep and slept for the entire two hours (even through the poke at 1 hour). The 1-hour draw was 60 and the 2-hour draw was 63. We were clear! Hallelujah!
Next on the agenda was getting a bath. I was excited to see what her hair really looked like. My awesome, amazing night nurse let us take the first bath together. She also did all the newborn checks in my room, so the baby never left my sight.
That first night she slept in her crib. She only woke up once in 6 hours. I tried to sleep but every squeak, beep, door, etc, woke me up. I had crazy dreams and worried constantly. I was so glad when 5 am came and that sounded good enough to be up for the day. It took the doctor a long time to get into my room for rounds that morning, but I talked with her about going home early. I was thinking that maybe we could head home around supper time. I didn't see any point in trying to sleep in the hospital one more night. She was fine with discharging us.
Once that paperwork went in though, my day nurse flew into high gear. She was motivated to have us out the door by 3 pm shift change. Wowzers! Mitch had gone up to school to take care of some things and hadn't even been in to see us yet. He wouldn't get there until after 1 pm. We didn't have a name! I hadn't had a shower, when what I could really use was a nice soak in the tub. I felt rushed and a little stressed. I slowed down and took time to take pictures of my baby.
I don't want this one post to get too long, so coming home will be in the next post. If I get time I'll post on how we chose the name Genesis Grace and what it means to us.