Monday, August 31, 2015

Wren + White Sheet

Wren's a month old today but I've got some photos here of when she was less than a week old. I had just bathed her and set her on our white sheets. She was so alert and cute, so out came the camera.







(funny toenails, right?)











Daddy just couldn't resist getting in on it.

Before I forget again, a quick video of Wren in the hospital:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wren's Big Night

This is a birth story. It has lots of birthy talk within. Proceed at your own risk. You have been warned. (though, spoiler alert, it is very non-dramatic)

The Lead-Up
- My mom arrived Tuesday, July 21 to help out in my last pregnancy days and to take over once labor begins. She was scheduled to stay for two weeks.
- My due date was Tuesday, July 28.
- Saturday, July 25, we had our hospital tour. Cutting it close much?
- That night, I started getting painful regular contractions. After several hours, they were averaging just over five minutes apart... unless I was lying down, when they'd spread out. So I stayed up late, letting contractions happen. Surely this was it! But if it was it, I'd better get some sleep, right? So I finally went to bed and the contractions petered out until they were gone by morning. Discouragement.
- Sean was on a Parental Rotation, starting Monday, July 27, that was basically him staying home to work on a project about newborns and just go in here and there for clinic and block ed. So he was home for four weeks! Talk about AMAZING.
- My dad arrived Tuesday, July 28. He was scheduled to stay for a week.
- My last belly photos, on the due date:

Check out my beastly hand under my belly. Dude.

- The day after my due date, with zero signs of labor, I was feeling quite discouraged. Particularly because my parents were here for a limited amount of time and I didn't want to be "wasting" Sean's time off.
- Thursday, July 30, I had an OB checkup. Sean went with me! And the kids stayed home with my parents! Definitely the easiest checkup this whole pregnancy. The doctor wanted to make sure the fluid levels were good, so we actually had an ultrasound. We double checked that she was a girl. After meeting with my doctor, she said she'd love to induce me but my body wasn't quite ready for it. BUT she did strip my membranes, hoping that would get things started. I was 1.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced.
- Sean and I went to Olive Garden afterward to eat Eggplant Parmesan, which I'd heard legendarily induces labor. I also just learned this is my Italian-missionary-Brother-in-law's favorite local meal.
- Sean and I made plans to go see a movie that night.

Enough background! On to the show!

Around 5:30 that night (July 30), I felt another painful contraction. More came as we sat down to dinner. Sean noticed me surreptitiously timing them with my phone and kept giving me excited glances. As the kids' bedtime routine arrived, I became pretty useless, having to pause all the time, so Sean took over as I gathered toiletry items to pack in the hospital bag.

After deciding that we probably weren't going to see a movie that night, Sean called the hospital to let them know I was contracting about 4.5 minutes apart for two hours. At 7:30, we left for the hospital and my mom finished putting the kids to bed. Liam, Dash, and Grey were very excited at the prospect of having a sister very soon.

Contractions in the car just stink, amiright? Luckily, it was just a five minute drive to the hospital! Sean wanted to park in the front entrance, then run back when I was checked in. Nope, I didn't want him leaving my side for a minute. So we parked in the normal lot and walked in, which felt good compared to car-laboring.

By this point, the contractions hurt enough where I had to close my eyes and concentrate on breathing. But I could still listen and talk, which is how I got through check-in. I was assigned my room and nurse, Cindy. Cindy was fantastic. So calm, moved quick when necessary, had all the answers, always helpful. I am thankful for Cindy.

I'm trying to remember, I think she checked me right away? Hmm. At some point between 7:30 and 9, I was 3cm and 85% effaced. Cindy put the monitors on my belly (which is always pretty hilarious with me since have you seen my belly? Extreme curvature, monitors constantly slipping.) and wanted to monitor my labor for about 30 minutes before removing them. Well, it ended up being about an hour of monitoring. As we got closer to 9pm, boy howdy, those contractions were hurting. When Cindy returned (she was watching my monitors from the nurse desk), I was like, "dude, epidural, stat." And Cindy kicked into action, hooking up my hep-lock so I could start on saline. Apparently I was supposed to get through most of a bag before I could get the epidural, which I don't think I ever realized. So, waiting. With contractions getting ever more painful.

My contractions are always primarily painful in my back. I kept trying to find a good position to deal with the contractions but nothing felt good. And I was getting so tired. I finally rested on my side, which helped me not tire out my body. And after a little bit, I sort of went into a sleep state, where I was sort of zoned out between contractions and then breathed really deeply when the pain hit. So it felt like I wasn't fully conscious for the contractions. I didn't want Sean to talk to me at all in between contractions ("Don't talk.") but then give me lots of encouragement during a contraction.

I hadn't ever gotten contractions as bad as this with my other labors and I was very anxious for that epidural, though I couldn't really think about it, I was trying to be as zen as possible. Around 10pm, the anesthesiologist arrived- hallelujah! Obviously, I was still dealing with the contractions, so I barely opened my eyes the whole time he was there- I definitely wouldn't be able to recognize him again! As opposed to my Texas labors, Sean was allowed to stay with me as I received the epidural, which was fantastic. The anesthesiologist moved very quickly but I still had one contraction while I was sitting up and not allowed to move. That was definitely the worst contraction of the whole lot. It pains me to even think about it. But then that was the last one I felt because the epidural kicked in quickly. The nurse was complimenting the anesthesiologist on working so quickly and he said, "well it helps when she's so skinny." Right on, doc! That is a perfect thing to say to a laboring woman. And the epidural was perfect, I couldn't feel the pain, just some pressure on the really bad contractions, and I could still [sort of] move my legs.

So as my pain ebbed, my mood lightened and my smile returned. Sean was so glad. He said the difference between before and after the epidural was so stark. So I talked with Sean and Cindy and laughed and sipped water. At 11:15pm, I was 6-7 cm dilated. Then Cindy let us rest. We weren't sure if it'd be a July 30 or July 31 birthday. Midnight went by and we were excited baby girl would be sharing her day with Harry Potter (and JK Rowling. Have I ever written out my Rowling story? I should)! We also found out that July 31st had a full moon, the second of the month, so baby girl was born under a blue moon!

At 1:40am, I was 9cm dilated with a very bulging bag of water. Cindy called in the obstetrician, one of my doctor's co-workers. When she came, she popped my bag of water and found a little bit of meconium in it. So they called the pediatrician to come just in case there were any complications from her having meconium in her fluid. The doctor said I was very close to 10cm and had me do one push. When I did, ta da! 10cm! So they prepped for delivery.

Somewhere around 2am, the doctor said, "you can push if you feel like it." It was just so passive and without the urgency I associate with giving birth, I really caught me off guard. So I asked them to give me reminders of the best things to do. With that, Cindy set up with my left leg and Sean with my right. I pushed with my next contraction (which I judged by feeling my belly with my hand) and, boy, there was such a flurry of compliments and encouragement! "Good! You're pushing great!" "Oh that's great progress!" "That's right, just give it all you can!" "What a good job!" I have had a laughing fit had I not been in the middle of pushing out a baby. In between pushes, they were all chatting, it was so low-key. After a bit more pushing, they could see that baby girl had lots of hair. Exciting! After one last good push, Wren was born at 2:23 am. They put her on my chest and it was love.


She gave us some good cries (at which point the pediatric NP left, since the meconium apparently hadn't done anything), pee'd on me, and soon nursed a bit. Cindy gave us a nice long while before examining her. We were hoping that Wren would be less than 9 lbs, because otherwise she'd be required to get pricked to measure her blood sugar. With how much Grey had to be pricked after his birth, I really didn't want to start down that path. Luckily, she was 8 lbs 12 oz (and 20 3/4 inches). Huzzah!

After an hour or two, my energy started to fade and I was falling asleep while people were doing things with Wren. Sean took charge of the babe. Cindy's shift ended. At some point, someone bathed Wren.

And Sean got her dressed:


Sometime later that morning, the family came to meet Wren! The boys were so excited!




And grandparents were very anxious, too, of course.


Then the kids turned to eating my food. Once we showed them the Legos Wren had "given" to them, they were happy to return home to work on them. Nothing too remarkable the rest of the day, just trying to catch sleep, nurse Wren, and eat. Sean got to spend some time with the kids at a park. That night, sleep was tricky since Wren wasn't too interested in not being held. She did get taken to the nursery for hearing and blood testing, so there was an hour when both Sean and I slept simultaneously. The next morning, my recovery was looking okay, Wren was doing well, so we were discharged! No jaundice treatment, like the other kids had! We were there a day and a half, awesome!

So the question remains: What was it that induced labor? The membrane stripping? The eggplant parmesan? Or the movie date plans? We'll never know. I will thank all three for helping me meet my precious Wren.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Introducing Wren

Wren Kathryn Bradley
Born 7/31/15 at 2:23 am
8 lbs 12 oz
20 3/4 in.

She's perfect.

Birth story coming up!