Saturday, May 30, 2009

And Four Became Five

Well, after waiting for so long, it finally happened. And I started this post last week, but didn't seem to ever have the time to finish. Plus, I've still been mulling the experience around in my mind for the last week, and needed some time to process it in order to tell you about it. I'm like that, though. Always have to think things through for a long time.
I will have to start at the beginning. And bear with me as I go through all the wonderful details. (Hope it doesn't gross anyone out!) I'd been feeling pretty miserable lately, especially since going in to the hospital on Sunday thinking I was in labor, and then being turned away and having to go back home babyless. Not a fun experience. By the time I made it to my appointment on Friday morning, I was so ready to be done. After talking to my midwife about my options, she asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes (even though she technically shouldn't have done it, she says, she was willing to as long as I didn't mention it to any of the other ladies in the practice). I told her YES right away!

I had some mild cramping and some contracting throughout the rest of the day. But nothing really too impressive or consistent. And I'll admit, that did disappoint me. So in order to not get so discouraged by sitting around thinking about how much I wanted to go into labor, I decided to go to my little brother's High School Graduation. Maybe the baby got bored during the long ceremony, or maybe it was walking up and down the Marriot Center stairs. But I noticed on the ride home, I started having some contractions, but only every 20 minutes apart or so.
At home, I made dinner and got the kids ready for bed. All the while I kept contracting, but they were still 15 minutes apart or so, not a big deal. But I did notice that they started to get more and more impressive (meaning painful). I really wanted to stay up and walk around and make sure they didn't fizzle out once again, but Vince wisely suggested we go to sleep. If it wasn't the real thing, it would spare me the emotional drama of it all. If it WAS the real thing, laying down wouldn't stop them, and I'd at least get some rest before a long night. He is a wise man, isn't he?
I was able to sleep for a few hours, but was still aware of contracting. At about 2:00 am I couldn't sleep anymore and decided to get up and read for a while. The contractions were definitely strong now; I was finding it hard to breathe through them, and really had to concentrate now. But they were still so far apart. At about 4:00, though, I knew it was the real thing. I called the midwife on call. She said they usually like us to wait until the contractions are at least 5 or less minutes apart, but if I really wanted to come in, I could. At this point they were only about 8 minutes, but since I was already at 4 cm dilated the day before, I wanted to get to the hospital in enough time. So I called my Mom, and woke up Vince and got dressed. My Dad and Joseph got to our house to stay with Brooke and Evan, and Vince and I left for the hospital, with my Mom right behind us. Vince could tell when I was having a contraction because every few minutes I would tell him to hurry up and drive faster!

By the time we got to the hospital and checked in it was about 5:15. They checked me and I was dilated to 6 1/2 cm. So I had made some progress. I decided to try laboring in the tub for a while to see if that would help with the pain. It was the perfect way to labor!! I was able to relax with each contraction instead of fighting with them. The next time they checked me I was at an 8. I was amazed that even in transition, the contractions were still only about 5 minutes or more apart. I think it really helped that I was able to take a break in between each one. Vince even got me laughing in between contractions. My mom commented on how she couldn't believe I was joking and laughing while in transition!

They checked me again and I was almost fully dilated--9 cm with just a lip of cervix left. The midwife, Claudia, just told me to do what felt natural. She said to go ahead and push if I felt like I needed to push. At this point though, my water was still intact (which is why I think the contractions were so manageable). After a few more contractions, I asked Claudia if she'd break my water. This was the point that everything changed!
It took a few tries to get the bag to rupture, but once it did, I had literally about 5 seconds before the baby's head came down, and FAST! With my other children, I felt like the pushing stage was the best part. Not this time! This was by far the hardest and most difficult part. I felt like I had good control until then. But fortunately, I didn't have much time to suffer, as she moved down so quickly. It's hard to describe, but at this point I felt like I was watching myself, and hearing myself, but not quite in my body--as if I were watching from above. It was an odd feeling. But a few quick, good pushes, and at 7:40 am on May 30th (just 2 1/2 hours after arriving at the hospital!) little baby Rachel Victoria was in my arms!! It was such an amazingly incredible experience! And as funny as it seems, I remember thinking just after she was born, that I NEVER want to experience a natural birth again! But even now, just over a week later, I see it differently. I guess the mind really does forget! ;0)

She has really been the perfect baby! She weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz. (which is 12 oz bigger than Evan, and over 1 1/2 lbs bigger than Brooke!) and she was 19 inches long. She has the most amazing hair of any newborn. Her hair is dark underneath, with frosted silver tips, like Brooke's hair was, but lighter even than that. Her eyebrows and lashes are light blonde, which makes me think she may be a blondie!
She loves sucking on her fingers (or anything else that comes near her mouth) and is a great eater and a great sleeper! She fusses very little, and smiles a lot for a newborn! She even smiled at me for the first time yesterday! How clever of her!

Brooke and Evan are already smitten with their new little sister. Brooke we all knew would be a good little mama. She has been SUCH a help to me!
But Evan surprised me a little. He's never been much into little brand new babies. He usually doesn't want to hold them. But he walked in to see her the first time, and quickly got into an argument with Brooke about who was going to hold her first! Evan loves to kiss her head and stroke her hand. He loves to get close to her when she's awake and say, "Hi, Baby Rachel. I'm your brother!" And whenever he leaves for a while and comes back home, he'll run up to her and talk in his baby voice, "Hi, Baby Rachel! I'm back home now!"

I could go on and on. We're all in love with her. New babies just add such a special Spirit into our home. I waited so long for her. I'm so glad she's with us, and has become a part of our new family of five.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation

I can't believe the school year is already over! It's amazing how fast time flies!

Evan had his Kindergarten Graduation program today. It was the one last thing I was really worried about missing. So I'm so glad I was here for it! It's always fun to see the kids singing and waving and smiling at their mommies, daddies, and grammies! So here are some pictures from his program:

Then we went back to the classroom so the kids could get their "diplomas!" Here we are with his teacher, Mrs. Bryson (whom we ALL just adore--she seriously is the greatest teacher ever)!
Getting the diploma:

With another fabulous lady, Mrs. Ferrell, our teacher's aide:

Mrs. Bryson:

Happy Mama:

And of course, Grammy!

And this last picture is of Evan a week ago Monday, after he had a traumatic fall at school. He scraped his knee, elbow, and face up real good. But the worst part was the bloody "road rash" he got on his gums. It was bad enough we had to take a quick emergency visit to the dentist. Fortunately, we have a WONDERFUL dentist (thanks, Jo, for marrying into a great family!) and Evan didn't end up needing stitches. It's healed beautifully. But we came home from the whole ordeal, I fed him some applesauce and pudding, and he promptly crashed on the sofa. Poor kid.

And just for fun, I found a few random pictures of my sweet boy. Enjoy taking a quick stroll through memory lane:

I can't believe how fast you grow up! It certainly goes by way too quickly.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eviction Notice

As some of you are aware, we had quite the exciting day yesterday. I wish the day had ended as exciting as it began, but I'm SLOWLY figuring out that I have absolutely no control over anything in this pregnancy, and I have a very stubborn, very comfortable baby in my womb.

I woke up at about 2:30 Sunday morning with some contractions, which is not at all uncommon lately. But after a while of it continuing, (and because I have this NASTY cold and couldn't breathe lying down and was keeping Vince awake from my coughing) I couldn't sleep so I got up and read (and timed them) for a couple of hours. Then I got sleepy again so I laid back down. I slept okay until about 7:00, but not very soundly, as I was aware of nearly every contraction that kept coming throughout the rest of the night.

I awoke wondering if this was the real thing, but not wanting to get my hopes up. This time just seemed different, though. I had a bit of show, which seemed impressive, so I was thinking this really was it! I called my mom to update her, showered, waited to see if the contractions would change, still trying to decide if we go to church or to the hospital. About 9:30, things REALLY started to move! They became definitely more intense, longer, closer together. At that point, I knew those were all the signs to watch for. So we made arrangements for the kids to attend church with our wonderful neighbor, Marie, shipped them off, and started the 30 minute trek to Labor & Delivery!

By the time I got in the car, the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, and at that point I had to stop and breathe through each one. Every contraction made me more excited as I knew we were having a baby today!

We got to the hospital and they hooked me all up, and started the list of questions while monitoring the contractions. They didn't seem as impressive, but that was okay. I had realized everytime I change positions they slow down for 15 minutes or so, and then pick up again. But after being monitored for an hour, they got to be good contractions again, but only about 7 minutes apart. They told me to go walk around L&D for a while to see if things got going again. At this point, I was 4 cm and 90%, so I'd made some progress from my appointment on Friday.

Vince and I walked and walked around and around the halls for a good hour. And I noticed the contractions got steadily closer together, but not as strong. And they peaked faster. So I was either having strong contractions that were far apart, or wimpy ones close together. But not both. They checked me once more after walking, and I'd basically made no change! So, they had to send me home! I was so incredibly disappointed! After weeks and weeks of "false labor" I finally felt like I was going somewhere. But apparently I couldn't tell the difference between the real thing and the fake stuff. Throughout the rest of the day, the contractions faded away. They were still pretty intense, but very sporadic. A few an hour at best. So, I guess that wasn't it. No baby yet. And for those of you who were anxious and excited along with me when I didn't show up at church yesterday, please spread the word that no, I did not really have my baby yet. I feel defeated again each time I have to answer that question. ;0)

Which brings me to the decision that I need some drastic action at this point. I've decided to issue my Baby an Eviction Notice. (I wish I could take credit for this one, but I can't. Someone else came up with it and posted it on my birth board. But I thought after yesterday, I should post one too. And it helps me at least try to keep some humor in my bleak situation!) So, Baby. You have been warned:

"Dear Baby, I am hereby issuing a notice of eviction. Please gather your belongings and promptly vacate the premises. You are being evicted due to breech of contract and destruction of private property. Expansions only to the front of the property were discussed. Not only have these limits been exceeded but expansion to the back were also made! Remodeling and gutting of the home were never approved. And due to property damage there are now several leaks in the upper and lower levels of the home. In addition the land lord has received numerous complaints of night time disturbances. Thank you for your cooperation--now get out!

Love Mommy"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Waiting for Baby

Just wanted to update you all on the baby status, since it's been a while! I had my 37 week appointment this morning. Which means I'm now officially considered "full term" and they wouldn't do anything to stop labor if it happens now. (And if you don't want the nitty-gritty details, just skip on to the next paragraph!) I was checked and am about the same as last week--I'm dilated to 3 cm and am about 80% effaced.

So things are moving, but still a lot of progress to be made. I'm now, fortunately, past that "Oh, I hope the baby doesn't come yet because I want her to be perfectly healthy" phase, and now on to the "Oh, I am so uncomfortable and I just want to have this baby here in my arms and not kickin' my ribs!" phase. I feel like this is the part in the marathon where I get to count how many miles I have left, instead of how many I've come. The finish line is somewhere around the corner (or next few corners) and I can't quite see it yet. But I can hear and feel the crowd getting more and more excited as I get closer! (Sorry for the marathon analogy. But the Ogden Marathon--my favorite--is tomorrow, and I've been thinking about it all day! Good luck, my running friends! ;0)
I also feel like I'm pretty ready to have her come. I installed the carseat in our backseat (which suddenly feels SO squished back there)! And washed all the 0-3 months pink, frilly things that have been stored away for SO long. I've cleaned the house (which mostly was because we had an appraiser come yesterday for our refinance, and I wanted it to at least be de-cluttered) and even cleaned out my closet! Yeah, Vince was shocked too! I think the only thing I'm still worried about having enough time to do is reading up on labor techniques. But somehow, I wonder if I'll ever be fully prepared for labor at this point.
So if you have any last-minute advice for an anxiously-awaiting mama, I'd love to hear it! And of course, I'll keep you posted...!!

Evan's Birthday

Umm. Evan had his 6th Birthday at the end of last month. So yeah, I'm slow (as always). But, especially for certain Aunties who have complained to me that I'm slow at sharing pictures, I thought I'd share these for your enjoyment! So enjoy!
Opening presents that morning before school, since Dad had to go out of town that day for work. (Notice Evan's slick hair!)

Showing Dad his new Lego Star Wars toy! (Which amazingly Evan put together all on his own, using the instruction sheet. I was floored. I don't know that I could've done it! So, do you think we have a future engineer on our hands??)
We went to Grammy and Opa's for dinner and cake that evening, since Dad was gone. It was fun sharing his special day with special grandparents! This is Grammy's present for Evan! I think he likes it, Grammy!
The funny thing about Evan's cake was that he decided he wanted a "Death Star" cake. Again, if you know anything about Evan, you know that he is obsessed with Star Wars. So I thought a while about how to do a Death Star cake. Fortunately, Evan wore his Star Wars shirt that day. So I kind of used the picture on his shirt to come up with my own variation of a Death Star. You really have to know what it is to have it make any sense. I know if I didn't explain what it really was, you would probably all be wondering why in Heaven's name his cake looks so odd. Now you know!

I love this face! This is his typical "cheese" grin he gives when he know he has to have his picture taken, but doesn't really want to! So very Evan!

I can't believe he's six! Where does the time go?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Real Quick...

Our construction projects are really coming along and taking shape. I'll have to post next about the progress in the basement. We had sheetrockers here all last week. They finished spraying the texture on Saturday. Now we just have trim, paint, and carpet left, as well as odds and ends to finish. Well, and putting the bathroom all together. Vince is working on tile as we speak, er, I mean, as I type! It's feeling like a whole new house!

But I was just so excited today that I had to post a picture of our newly finished fireplace! (Well, finished for the most part--we found out the fan is faulty, so they have to order a new one and install it, but at least the outside is finished!) And it looks so wonderful! It totally changes the entire feel of our living room!
When Vince came home from work yesterday to see the new look, I was anxiously waiting to hear him say how beautiful it was. So I asked him, "Well, what do you think?" He thought for a moment and then sadly said, "I think we have a problem." Oh, great! I just knew he saw something that I had missed, and they would have to come back to fix it again! So I waited for him to finish his statement, and laughed myself silly when he said, "Now our couches look really bad in here!" Well, Honey, they are about as old as you! ;0)