January 25, 2009

Brooklynn's First Photo Shoot

During our hospital stay they do a photo shoot right in your room. It is great because you can capture these precious moments before you're ready to actually leave your house and get professional pictures taken. I loved this service! These are the best 8 from the shoot. Of course little Brooke slept the entire time.

January 24, 2009

Kidney Stone vs. Childbirth

Kidney Stones
+doesn't kick me constantly
+recovery time=2 days, tops
-I never "tried" to get kidney stones
+in and out in about 3 days
+morphine=sheer bliss
-no "kidney stone showers" whatsoever
+only kept me up at night once
+total cost=$150 (ER visit plus prescriptions)
+delivered in the privacy of my own bathroom
-was surprised at how much it hurt
+recovered after about 36 hours
+never caused me additional symptoms

+pregnancy jabbing pains were cute despite the uninvited pain
+we tried to get pregnant on purpose
-took 9 months of it being inside me
-contractions=hell on earth
+epidural=sheer bliss+love all those baby showers and presents! It's so fun!
-still recovering after 1 week
-struggled with constipation, gas, sciatica, charlie horses, cramping, fatness, stretch marks
+I came home with a beautiful baby girl--NO CONTEST

So to sum it up, when I was admitted to the ER with kidney stones, I ranked my pain at about an 8. There were parts in childbirth that were in the hundreds when it came to pain, but also many moments that were pain-free. The kidney stone hurt without a break. But childbirth HANDS DOWN is more painful. There you go, spoken from someone who had both.

January 23, 2009

My 40-hour labor story

The long awaited birth story is finally here! Sorry it took so long, I've been a little busy taking care of a tiny little pumpkin.
So since labor was exhausting enough, reliving it is also kinda draining and takes forever to tell the story since it's so long. So here is the long, detailed version for those who want to hear it.
TUESDAY the 20th I had many contractions throughout the night. They were more than my usual cramping, Braxton Hicks contractions. I had to breathe through them, and was thinking about timing them to see if I had to go in to the Birth Center. I decided to try and rest if I was in labor and I'd time them later. I was CONVINCED I would go to my appointment Wednesday morning and they'd make me stay because I was for sure in labor. The contractions eventually stopped and I slept for about 3-5 hours Tuesday night.
WEDNESDAY the 21st I had an appointment in the morning. I was hoping I'd be a little bit dilated finally so they could sweep my membranes and hopefully get labor going for me. Turns out I wasn't dilated AT ALL...still. She said the baby was really low and my cervix was really soft. I was so frustrated and was thinking that I would end up having to be induced after all.
I forget what else I did Wednesday, I think I might have taken a short nap? I was looking forward to watching Lost that night.
My contractions started up later that afternoon again, I was so frustrated that I was getting excited for nothing that I put them out of my mind. Around 4:30 I started sorta timing them just to see what they were like, they were pretty random times so I stopped. Then around 6 I started timing them again and they were averaging about 8-10 minutes apart.
6:30 they were starting to get stronger, I had to slowly breathe through them to stay relaxed and was thinking maybe it was the beginning of labor so I started to casually keep track. They were almost all around 8-9 minutes apart. By around 8:00 they were all regular, about 8 minutes apart and I had to breathe through all of them. Lost was taking my mind off of them a little, at least. I was pretty sure it was labor, but really hoping it wasn't prodromal (sp?) labor which is real contractions that don't really progress, this can go on for days.
We went home after Lost and I took a warm bath. That is supposed to slow down contractions which is what I wanted to do so that I could sleep a little bit before labor. I had contractions the whole bath, and if anything it sped them up. I tried to go to bed and I ended up feeling so bad that Josh wouldn't be able to sleep that I went out and slept on the couch. Except I didn't sleep...AT ALL...cause I was in active labor by then. The contractions continued to get worse and worse, I was leaning on the birthing ball, trying to lean against a table, trying some of the different positions. I wanted Josh to sleep as long as he could so he could help me better. I made it to about 5:30 and woke him up. Mainly I wanted advice about calling then or not. We are supposed to wait until contractions are 4 minutes apart. Mine were 5 minutes apart, but then sometimes 2 minutes apart. I didn't know if that could mean it was around 4 minutes apart. I waited until about 6:10 to call my mom because we thought she would be up by then. She left to drive out (from Indiana, about a 10 hour drive) around 7:30 am because she really wanted to try and be there as soon as possible after the baby was born.
We called the Birth Center around 8 am and they said to wait a little bit longer and see if they got more regular. We called again around 9:45 and they gave us the go ahead to come in. (even though they were still around 5 minutes apart, but they were getting so much worse).
We got to the Birth Center at 10:30 am and I was dilated to 4 cm and 90% effaced and a -1 station. I was excited I was actually dilated, but a little annoyed that I wasn't even more.
My final pregnancy picture!
Another contraction
We were at the Birth Center for a while, in between contractions we were watching Friends on our portable DVD player, listening to music. I really liked leaning against the table and also the bed during my contractions. They recommend I walk or squat or even stand, and also to try and eat and drink as much as I could. I remember opening a pack of crackers that I never did finish, because whenever I had a contraction I felt like I was going to choke on the crackers with my breathing. It was kinda humorous.
I spent a lot of time leaning on the bed and leaning on this counter
Every time I would go to the bathroom it seems that I had about 3 contractions until I could get back up. It was annoying.
I loved the jacuzzi; but not as much as I thought I would. It was still painful and I was relaxed enough that I just realized how much I wanted to be done already.
The contractions became 3-4 minutes apart at 1:00. Around 2:00 I asked them to check my dilation again, just for some encouragement to help keep me motivated. I was still the same, 4 cm, etc. What a bummer.
3:00 my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. They kept getting worse so I was just trying to get through it. I was sorta encouraged by their getting worse because that means I'm more dilated, right? I took a jacuzzi, which encouraged me at the time because in all the videos they did that at the end of the first stage of labor. I thought maybe I was close to that and was pretty excited.
At 5:15 they checked me again and this time I was now 5 cm, 90% effaced and -1 station. (By the way, I am referring to my labor notes for all these details.)
6:30 pm my Mom gets to the Birth Center. That was fun to take my mind off the contractions a little. She was excited she got to be there now. I was glad to have her there, and secretly was thinking that maybe my baby was just waiting for her and then would promptly come out in a few minutes. Gazelle (midwife) had to go to the hospital with another girl then so Peggy (another midwife) took over.

Me, Gazelle, CNM and Sue, RN
Gazelle was the first midwife who was helping oversee the birth. She left for the hospital around 6:30 to go to another birth with complications. I was sad because I really like her. She was the one to predict the baby's weight at 8 pounds just using her hands.
7:15 they recorded my contractions lasting 93 seconds. 8:55 they decided to break my water, because that can sometimes get things moving a little bit. I was like, "yeah, go for it" and then of course they had to ask me if I was sure and explain the risks. I didn't even know there were any risks, but they recommended I consent. I was fine with it. It was totally weird and was pretty grossed out that they did it right on the bed. I took a shower to rinse off. I continued to have contractions, they continued to get worse, but all the while I was thinking, "well, I've GOT to be getting close now, especially with my water broken. Maybe next time they come in it will finally be time to push and then I can sleep."
11:00 they checked me again and I was 5-6 cm, 100% effaced and -1 station. I was SO discouraged. They talked to me about slow progress and told me that I needed to transfer to the hospital to get pitocin and epidural. So we tried really hard and I was so sad because I had done all that work and then I had to get the epidural anyway. Why didn't I just get one before? I knew from the beginning that sometimes labor doesn't go the way you want it to, but I would do whatever it takes for me and the baby to be healthy. So we packed up our stuff, I continued to be in desperate pain, and now that I knew I had to transfer I was starting to feel so discouraged and helpless and it was much harder to handle them.
11:30 we left the Birth Center in our car and Peggy sat in the backseat and drove over with us.
Waiting patiently to get my epidural and pitocin (it took like an hour?)
Before they could give me an epidural they had to hook up an IV. I had to sign all this paperwork, which was hard because my legs and arms were still shaking uncontrollably. They finally got the epidural in around 1:30 or 2:00. As soon as I had a contraction and didn't feel a thing I was just in total love with everyone involved with recommending the epidurual, giving it to me, inventing the drug in the first place...you get the point. I asked, "why didn't I want one of these again?" I still have my reasons but MAN it was a relief. They told me to try and get some sleep. I was of course so excited that I wasn't in pain right then that I talked Josh's ear off and wanted to process my labor so far.
Side note: the girl that left the Birth Center around 6:30 had come over with the same problem as me, and she still hadn't had her baby. I now had a challenge that I would race her, because we remained neck & neck the whole time.
Also, since we came to the hospital and Gazelle was already there, she took over and Peggy left. I told Gazelle that it looks like she got to birth our baby after all!

Me and Josh talking; I was not feeling a thing at this point, and couldn't figure out why I didn't want an epidural. It rocked my world and I loved it!

My actual thoughts during this picture: "I'm going to try really hard and look awesome in this picture so I wouldn't be one of those people who just looks HORRIBLE during labor. I tried really hard and then I saw the picture...how depressing!
They put the pitocin in (FINALLY) at about 2 or 2:30. My mom went to the waiting room and took a nap from 3:00 to 5:00. Josh tried to sleep in a rocking chair and then moved to the hard hospital floor and tried to sleep.
Josh switched with my mom and left to take a nap from 5:00 to 7:00 am. They checked my cervix again and I was dilated to 8-9 only 2 hours after the pitocin! Yay! PROGRESS!!!!!
Feeling contractions AFTER the epidural wore off a little. This picture pretty much says it all.
Sadly, I started to be able to feel my contractions again with the epidural around 5ish? It started to get a lot worse but figured I was almost done so I kept breathing. I was frustrated I wasn't allowed to get up and move around, but I just kinda dealt with it. I also kept staying at 9 cm...for a long time. I asked for a boost in my pain drugs and they said they weren't sure if they could do it because if I had to push soon it would be harder if I couldn't push with the feeling. They checked me again and of course I was still at 9 cm so they let me. (which was annoying because of course now I know I'm still a ways off.) They explained that it might not work, and I might still be in a lot of pain so not to get my hopes up. Well it did work and I didn't have pain anymore. Aaaahhh. I was able to sleep a tiny bit at this point. I secretly started pushing just a tiny bit at a time with my contractions. I thought maybe I could squeeze her out of there. If anything it would put pressure on it and maybe get on with the show. I remember at several points thinking that I would be doing this FOREVER and there never would be a baby and it was so hopeless. I kept praying that God would get me through this and give me the strength that I needed.

I was so glad to have my Mom with me! She left for the 10-hour drive after my first 12 hours of labor, so we weren't sure if she would make it. She ended up being there for a long time with us and was such a big help! Her and Josh had to change shifts because even they were exhausted!
9:00 am (37 hours after going into labor) I was FINALLY fully dilated and ready to push! YAY!!!! I was also at a +2 station. (probably because I was already secretly pushing and didn't tell them.)

Time to PUSH!
8:00 Gazelle ended up leaving her shift so we ended up having 3 different midwifes! I felt so bad because we were so close! Now Nancy was taking over. Gazelle said we were in good hands because she actually delivered her granddaughter! That was cute.
Pushing didn't hurt, I still had the urge to push which is good. When she got a little closer to the bottom everyone kept talking about how there were tiny curls from her head sticking out even though she was still pretty far up (well, a couple inches). I kept thinking, "Let's admire her cute hair and style it all up AFTER WE GET HER OUT OF ME!!!!" Actually, when Josh saw the curls he came over and said, "It's a girl." I still am not sure how he knew that, but he ended up being right.
Side note: Nancy observed my pushing progress and said I was pushing so good that we were going to have this baby before the other girl, so she went to tell them she'd be back. She took forever and when she did come back she said she would be in the OR with her. That poor girl, my similar labor that had to end in C-section. I consider myself very lucky that at least it wasn't as bad as hers.

Evidence that it is SO much easier to be a Dad.
Then she realized I was going so she told them she'd stay with me. The last few pushes were absolute horrible. I ended up getting a second degree tear. When she came out Josh was supposed to be the one to tell me if it was a boy or girl. Right away Nancy said something like, "she..." I said, Josh tell me if it's a boy or girl! He couldn't tell and since her vagina was staring me straight in the face I pointed at it and said, "Um...it's a girl." I guess that didn't go according to plan but now that I write this and he told me when he saw her little curls I am going to take that as him telling me.

She is finally here!
So on FRIDAY, January 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm we welcomed our beautiful daughter Brooklynn Ashley Bean into this world.

Brooke, I know how you feel...
Right away she told me I tore and even though I knew I would I was glad it was over and I was glad they didn't have to cut me. SO GLAD.

8 pounds, 1 ounce.
We found out later she is 22 1/2 inches long.

Brooke's first art project. (Getting her footprints.)

Josh calming Brooke. When she was in my tummy whenever Josh would put his hand on her to feel she would hold really still but when I did she would kick all the more. I have had a theory that just his hand on her would calm her and sure enough I was right!

With 3 shift changes of midwives and nurses, we weren't sure who would end up delivering my baby! This is the final team of nurse, midwife and student nurse who helped deliver Brooklynn. (It was the student nurse's very first delivery!)
I remember feeling totally upset and like our whole bonding after birth was ruined. I didn't realize how important that was to me but all these random hands were shoving her head onto my breast and she wouldn't take it and was WAILING! I don't blame her, I wouldn't have either. I also felt like she was so scared the first time she saw me and it actually makes me cry every time I think about it. It also sucked because during that time they were stitching me up and it was horrible (actually not as bad as I thought) and they were trying to rush it along because they needed to take her to do an IV. While I was pushing I developed a fever of 101.7. (I think: it was something like that.) They were worried that little Brooke might develop an infection or they thought my uterus might have an infection? I'm still not really sure what the deal was. But they had to take her to the NICU and do an IV with anti-biotics as a preventative measure. The good news was that it would only take a couple of hours and then she could even stay in our room with us after that.
They explained that the sooner they take her the sooner they can bring her back. I needed to go up to the maternity wing anyway so they would admit me while they worked on her.

Look how sad her tiny arm looks! It made it kinda hard to breast-feed and it was so sad because she kept trying to suck on her fingers and she couldn't find them. She settle for the tube that came out of it. It was actually kinda funny.
So after about 3 hours they brought her to me to try and breastfeed again. Then they said that her temperature dropped so much during her bath that they needed to warm her up and observe her to make sure she was stable. They didn't bring her back to me until around 8 or 9! I was so sad.

Brooke under the warming light.

Brooke FINALLY made it back to my room so I could hold her! I was so excited and finally felt like I had a baby. Until this point I just felt like I went through hell, but I didn't really feel like I had anything to show for it. This was when I finally felt like it was all worth it.

Proud Daddy holding up our banner for the outside of the birth center. Look at all those babies! They pretty much all came and delivered before I was even close. Every time I heard a cry I would just think, "It's NOT FAIR!! Where is MY baby?!?!" I felt like Rachel on Friends when she had her baby.
Brooke with Grandma Ashley! We are so glad she could be here for the birth of our beautiful daughter! I think that will help them always have a special bond.
Josh changing his first diaper ever! And it was a poopy one!

Josh is such a proud Daddy.

Kim, Brooke and me. Kim was my final nurse during my maternity stay and she was SO NICE! We loved her.
We got to leave on Sunday, early evening.

We made it home! Brooke had a special sign waiting on our door!

Brooke's first birthday breakfast. (The first morning when we got home.)
She really is such a good baby. I am now convinced that she is so precious and lovable that even my cervix wanted to hog her and not let her go. I'm also blessed with the most well-behaved, easy baby. I'll take a hard labor any day if it gives me such an amazing baby. Now to work on Brooke's first week of life summary blog. Stay tuned....