Monday, March 28, 2011

Anora Jean's Birth-Day

Moms-to-be usually hear the scary/traumatic birth stories thanks to shows like TLC's "The Baby Story." I know when I was awaiting the birth of Jackson, my first born, I heard several birth stories that made me want to "cross my legs."

Well, I think the normal and uneventful birth stories are just as worthy of being heard. So to you first time mommies waiting for your child's birth-day, you can read Micah's story here and keep reading on for Anora's. (I wasn't blogging at the time of Jackson's birth, but one of these days I should share that one too.) May these birth-day stories inspire you and give you hope for a beautiful birthday for your child. You can do it!

Early Saturday, March 26th -
I had several strong contractions while still in bed that I thought might turn into full blown labor, but then Jackson woke up with a terrible cough and sore throat and the contractions petered out on their own. I spent the whole rest of the day taking care of all three of my boys (including Colin) who were very uncomfortable with head colds. However, I never managed to catch it my self.

You may think that that's not technically a part of Anora's birth story, but I find it interesting how God's grace is so sufficient even in the little things. He knew we needed one more day for me to look after the boys and to have Anora quarantined in my belly while they were pretty sick.

Sunday, March 27th -

The boys did not make a peep and I slept all the way until 3:15am when I started having regular contractions about 10 minutes a part. After an hour they got stronger and I woke Colin to inform him that we may need to get ready to have our little girl.

4:30 am I could no longer lay in bed and just breath through the contractions, although they were still about 10 minutes apart. I got up and took a shower and once I knew the contractions weren't going to subside, Colin jumped in the shower and I began to gather our things for the hospital and get the house ready for the couple we arranged to watch Jackson and Micah who live about 30 minutes from our house.

5:00 am Colin calls the couple to have them start heading over to the house. My contractions are 8 - 10 minutes apart, but I can no longer talk or walk through them. The most comfortable position during those contractions was leaning on a table or counter and standing on my tip toes. Colin and I both eat breakfast.

5:30 am - Jackson wakes up coughing and Colin goes in to his room to give him some honey and comfort him. Several days prior, Jackson told me that he had a bad dream that I left and didn't tell him. So Colin and I both decided it would be best if we told Jackson when we were leaving. Jackson was a little weepy about us leaving, plus he was still sleepy and not feeling well. However, I was able to talk to him between contractions and remind him that there was a present waiting for him that he and Micah could open when we were at the hospital. That seemed to do the trick ... but I ended up having to go up there a second time before we left to talk with him again. That time I didn't make it out of the room without having a contraction and here's how the conversation went:

(Me taking deep breaths and holding on to his bed posts.)

Jackson: Mommy? Why are you doing that?
Me: Because baby Anora REALLY wants to come out.
Jackson: Mommy? You can go now.
Me: (still taking deep breaths) Give me just a minute.
Jackson: Why?
Me: Mommy can't move right now.
Jackson: Oh.
(My contraction stops.)
Me: Okay. We're leaving for the hospital now. I love you.
Jackson: You're going to the hospital right now?
Me: Yes.
Jackson: Okay. I love you.
Me: I love you too.

(I leave the room just before another contraction comes.)

5:30am - My contractions are about 3 - 5 minutes apart lasting about a minute each and we're not sure if we can wait until our friends arrive in order to leave for the hospital so we call our neighbor to come over. Colin says, "I'm going to call the midwives and have them get a hotel room ready for us." (I love that slip up, so I had to put it in the story.) When he calls them we find out that Helen (who also delivered Micah) is on call and will be delivering for us.

5:35am - Our neighbor arrives.

5:45am - We finally have everything we need for the hospital and have the house ready for the caretakers. The couple from our church arrives and we head off to the hospital.

The contractions continued to be 3-5 minutes apart and it helped tremendously to just moan through them. Every other contraction was very hard and longer (closer to 2 minutes long) but I had almost no pain in between contractions. I also had a couple of double peak contractions (contractions that would peak and then never fully subside before the next contraction peaked) and those were challenging especially given the fact that I was sitting in a car.

6:30am - We arrive at the hospital (pausing a few times in the parking lot and foyer for contractions) and go back to the delivery room. The nurse has us fill out some quick paper work, they draw blood, checked my cervix (which was 4-5 cm dilated and fully effaced and Anora was low enough that the nurse could feel that she had a lot of hair)and monitor Anora's heart rate and my contractions for about 15 minutes while they filled the tub.

THE TUB! I love the tub! The hospital we delivered Micah and Anora in has a portable tub that they can fill up for laboring moms while they have contractions, but not for delivering. The warm water and the buoyancy took the edge off of the contractions for me. As soon as I could I got in there.

It's at this point that I lose track of exact time. The contractions continued to be 3 - 5 minutes apart and getting more intense and a little more pushy. I also had some back pain with a few of the contractions as well. Nothing sharp, just radiating pain in my back during the contraction. It helped to be on all fours in the water while I was having the contractions. It also helped to have Colin rubbing my back between and during those contractions. But I still had little to no pain in between contractions. Helen came in during that time to check up on us and see how we were doing. Then left us alone for a bit once she got the low down of how things were going.

After about the third or fourth pushy contraction and feeling a little doubt and nausea, we called Helen in to have her check my cervix again. I was 7-8 cm dilated, but she could easily stretch me to 10 which meant I was ready to push.

9am - Helen broke my water to help speed up the dilation. It took her a few times because the sac was so strong, but that wasn't painful at all. The fluid was clear, but just trickled since Anora's head was very low.

I pushed a couple times through the contractions, but I still had a little lip of my cervix that wouldn't move out of the way. It felt like a had longer breaks between each pushing contraction with no pain at all. I even said between contractions once, "I feel bad that you guys are just sitting around waiting for me to have another contraction." Helen laughed and later Colin told me that he thought that was adorable.

Eventually Helen held my cervix back between and during contractions. THAT was painful, but only when she was holding it. After a few pushes she suggested I move to the toilet to see if I could get the cervix to move with the help of gravity. After a few really hard pushy contractions on the toilet I moved back to the bed. My cervix still had a lip.

Helen held my cervix back through 3 or 4 more very strong and long pushes until Anora began to crown. I had the mirror there to watch her come into the world for the very first time. Helen coached me through those pushes to insure their was a little tearing as possible (I ended up with only one stitch).

9:33am - Anora arrived and was placed on my belly immediately. She yelled right away and pinked up within seconds. She was GORGEOUS! That moment is the most wondrous, most beautiful and rewarding moment God could give to a woman after all of the hard work and pain of childbirth. I'm continually amazed at how God is a just AND gracious God all at the same time in so many areas of life.

After the cord stopped pulsing, Colin cut it and soon after I delivered the placenta. I got my stitch and Anora and I jumped back into the tub (which I guess was bending hospital rules, but ... eh). She nursed beautifully in there for quite awhile. In the mean time Colin called everyone he could think of.

It wasn't until about 2 hours after she was born that we got out of the tub and got all of her stats and by then she'd already had two meconium movements:

7lb 14oz
20 1/2 inches

We are all just smitten with this little girl. We praise God for his grace and provision and protection during her beautiful birth-day and stand, once again, in awe of his sovereignty and providence over HIS creation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big Brother Present

As I've been getting ready for our baby girl I've been preparing the house and the boys for being taken care of by church family while Colin and I are at the hospital.

One of the ideas I had was to wrap a present for the boys and put it out ahead of time and tell them they can open it when Mommy and Daddy go to the hospital.

I didn't want to spend a ton of money, but I wanted it to be a cool enough present that they would be distracted by it while we were away from them for a very short while.

As you know from my previous post, my boys love GeoTrax. I was able to to find THREE tunnels/bridges for the price of one on ebay the other day. I plan on giving one of them as a future present to their cousin in Iowa who shares the same passion for trains, but these two are wrapped and waiting for the day I go to the hospital to give birth to our little girl.

I really want to celebrate the life of our new little girl, but I also want to celebrate this new phase in the boys' life. Micah becoming a big brother for the very first time and Jackson taking another sibling under his wing.

Colin and I have been stressing the importance of their roles as big brothers to take care of their little sister. They are the princes and she is the princess. I believe they are up for the challenge and I can't wait to see what that looks like in reality.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Keeping Ourselves Busy

Here are a few things the boys and I have been keeping busy with lately:

Making Cards:
Ever since Valentine's Day and my birthday, Jackson has especially enjoyed making cards. Here's one he made with his babysitter for my birthday. I LOVE the picture of the two boys in it!!!

Here's the inside of a get well card Jackson made for his friend Patrick.

Jackson wants to be an inventor when he grows up. Here's one he made out of the "project bag" present I gave him for Christmas. It's Rodney Copper Bottom and Wonderbot from the movie "Robots." He assembled it all by himself.

Of course there are LOTS of Lego creations around here too and Jackson is getting REALLY good at coming up with some very creative designs ... he takes after his daddy!

Anything Musical:
Micah especially loves music. He walks around with his guitar and loves to sing songs. It isn't unusual to have playing on my laptop throughout the day around the house.

"Animal Shelter"
It's a game both boys came up with that consists of getting out all of their stuffed animals and putting them in bed or on the couch with them. They pretend to take care of the animals ... Grandma Deb's got her genes in them for sure!

GeoTrax and Cars:
We got a few extra pieces of track for Christmas that allows for a bit more creativity and now the boys play trains almost every day. Jackson loves to build the track and Micah can watch the trains going around for hours ... well for a while anyay.

Getting Ready for a Sister:
Oh yeah ... and the boys have been getting ready for the arrival of their little sister. They are pretty excited to get to see her face to face and teach her all of the things they know and do everyday.