Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Birth Story (Welcome Baby Amelia!)

She's here!!

The love of our lives, Amelia Harper, was born at 9:42 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, weighing 7 lbs., 4 oz., and measuring 20 in. long. Mommy and baby did very well and are perfectly healthy and happy.

The Golden Hour with mommy, moments after she was born.
This is our story.

All day Tuesday, after my 38-week appointment, I cramped and contracted and thought things must be getting close. Wednesday, things quieted down quite a bit, and baby was moving slightly less. 

Uncle Brian came over to play games with David, thinking it would be the last time they would in awhile. He felt bad, like he was imposing, but I had a feeling that if anything were going to happen, that it would overnight. (Maybe it was bc Braxton Hicks were always worse at night, or I just had a feeling). I watched a "Bones" marathon on Netflix, fixed an easy spaghetti dinner and Rice Krispies for dessert. That was the only sign of things to come - restlessness - but nothing completely out of the ordinary. 

Little did we know...

Around midnight, we laid down for bed, and after a quiet day, I started feeling contractions. At first, I thought I was having digestive issues, so I went to use the restroom, but had no luck. Next, I took a bath. Usually, that makes me feel better, but brought no relief this time. Back in bed, I tracked contractions with an app on my phone, and noticed that they were about 2 minutes apart. I still wasn't convinced this was it, but told David that I thought we might consider heading to the hospital. David freaked a little, but we gathered our senses and packed the car to head in. 

After checking in, completely calm, they took me to L&D and hooked me up while David waited in the waiting room. I was measuring about a 3.5, basically what I was at my last doctor's appointment. By the time David was sent in, the contractions were getting much stronger, but they still monitored me for an hour to see if I would make any progress. I tolerated the pain fairly well, I thought, but David watched as they grew stronger and stronger on the monitor. Closer to 6-7 cm, I started losing it. The contractions were worse than anything I'd felt before and they were lasting about a minute and a half, with no down time between. I never "screamed" per se, but I moaned loudly with each breath, which I struggled to catch, and I'm pretty sure everyone in the entire wing heard me. The nurse who checked me in gave me some IV pain meds to bring me relief between contractions, but it really didn't work long. While I waited for the anesthesiologist, I kept yelling "I need help - I need help!"

Once that epidural showed up, things were a breeze. Soon after, around 5 a.m, the nurses had a shift change and a friend of mine from days past turned out to be my L&D nurse (the previous one didn't even say anything about leaving). By 6 a.m., I was more than a 9, and we practiced pushing. (Confession: It felt a lot more like a bowel movement than I thought it would :/) Since my doctor was off Thursday, they thought she would be delivered by one of two on call doctors, but contacted mine anyway to let him know. Initially, he said he could be there after 10:30 a.m. (his wife was busy and he was watching the kids). Right near the end, the two on call doctors were switching shifts, when I got word that my doctor was about 7 minutes out. I felt relieved because I really like and trust my doctor, but when it took longer than I thought it would, it became harder and harder NOT to push. Anything I was doing at that point felt involuntary. I thought for sure Renee (the nurse) would end up delivering her, but just then my doctor showed. 

Not long after, at 9:42 a.m., she was born. They put her immediately on my chest and David stared lovingly at her. I couldn't really see her face she was so close, but I looked at her hands and feet, and already knew she was perfect. While we were doing that, the doctor delivered the placenta and showed it to us, along with what was apparently an extraordinarily long umbilical cord (which was only loosely wrapped around her neck twice). He made some joke about jump roping with it. :) After that, he sewed up a few superficial tears and took off a skin tag I've had since birth, and then it was over. 

Before heading to recovery, we watched another nurse give her a bath, which she hated, and then we went to rest in one of the postpartum rooms. She also didn't like when my mom put clothes on her for the first time, but now she loves them!

The next two days in the hospital flew by, even though neither David or I got any sleep. We passed the time staring at our little girl, squeezing in intermittent naps, learning to breastfeed and watching seasons 2 and 3 of Friends on DVD. Thursday, both sets of grandparents, all three uncles and a soon to be aunt visited, as well as my aunt and uncle. Friday, all of my aunts and some friends popped in. 

The nurses at the hospital were great. Every time Amelia needed to eat, one of them came to the room and helped us. We really struggled. My body wouldn't cooperate and it was hard for her to latch on - that, and, my milk obviously hadn't come in yet. I wasn't sure she was getting anything. Apparently she was, though, with the help of those ladies. She even gained an ounce at the hospital, which they said was really strange. 

Saturday morning, we waited for my doctor to come in and discharge us. We were ready to go home, even though my doctor invited us to stay through the evening. We checked out around 1 p.m. anyway. It was a cool 75 degrees outside, even though the previous two days had been abnormally hot.

Looking back, I sort of wish I had stayed in the hospital as long as possible. We have the rest of our lives to be home, and this first week has been quite the adjustment. We've had several visitors, and my mom even took off a few days to be at home with us so we could get some sleep. But I have been battling some serious baby blues - like that depression you get after Christmas is over and everything goes back to normal - only I'm also running on a week of nearly no sleep. I feel lonely a lot, especially since David went back to work, and there have been bouts of hormonal crying, especially at night. Today, my dad stopped by to check on us a few times, so it wasn't so bad, but sitting here waiting for David to come home is depressing. That, and I think we hit a growth spurt last night, because she fed for 4 hours almost consecutively, and STILL had to take some formula to go down for a few more hours.

Amelia is as sweet as ever, and we're getting the hang of breastfeeding. We love our little angel face, who turns one week old today. Time is already going too fast!

Here is a proof of my favorite hospital pic by Mom 365 :) We bought this as a keychain for each of us.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Early Maternity Leave

I had my 38-week appointment yesterday morning (38w, 3 days), and came home on early maternity leave.

Everything, for the most part, looked good - baby's size, her heart rate (a steady 155, as per usual), etc. I was even dilated a little past a 3 and 50-60% effaced. My OBGYN seemed pretty impressed, and said things were moving along nicely.
In case this was my last chance to take a photo of my pregnant self, at 38w3d.

He estimated her size and weight around 7 pounds (my fundus height was 36), but then he had me sit up, bend over and lay back down so he could double check. This time, fundus height was 38, and he adjusted his estimate up. I never did catch the number, though I understand guessing is not always very accurate ;)

One small hiccup - my blood pressure, which had been consistently fabulous this whole pregnancy, was a little high when the nurse took it, at 140. When my OB came in, he checked it again, and again, 140. He took it a third time, this time in my right arm instead of my left (after a few deep breaths), and it was 130, which he seemed comfortable with.

He asked me if I felt like I wanted to induce or go into labor naturally, noting that while my original due date was Sept. 15, her ultrasounds had her at Sept. 7, which is Sunday.

I replied that I thought it would be great to go into labor naturally, so he set another appointment for me on Friday morning to check my blood pressure, and sent me home with a doctor's note to start maternity leave right away. He said he figured my bp would normalize if I laid around and took it easy, but that they would check again on Friday, and induce if it was still high. I don't necessarily have a problem with that.

All day yesterday and last night I had some cramping and light spotting, which apparently is normal after a cervical check this far along. Overnight I didn't seem to notice, so if anything happened it wasn't too strong. This morning, I had a bit of bloody show, which is an encouraging sign of progress - but today, things are moving along quite slowly again.

This week is basically a waiting game, but I have a feeling that if we make it to Friday, we'll probably end up inducing. I trust my body and I'd rather go naturally, but at this point, I'm using up sick time without her, not to mention we're eager to meet her and bond with her and take care of her on the outside.

Wish us luck!