Sunday, January 31, 2016

Theodore's Birth Story

*I wrote this post earlier this week, it just took a few days to get around to going through pictures but here it is, all 3,000+ words!*

The past 4 days have been nothing short of a whirlwind. The past 9 months have been nothing short of a whirlwind. However today has been the most wonderful laid back day I can remember in quite some time. As I type this I have a snoozing 4 day old breathing grunty little breaths on my chest. He’s not moving anytime soon and neither am I. I seriously contemplated not typing up his birth story… I don’t have the time. Is it really that significant? But then I remembered how much I love reading Harrison’s and Oliver’s story. How much I love reading anyone and everyone’s birth story. And just because he is the third doesn’t make it any less significant. So here it is, in one swoop, I am not getting up until I finish, Theodore’s birth story.
The two weeks leading up to Theodore’s delivery were a flurry. I started a new position in the medical ICU which meant full time hours, Monday through Friday 7am-3:30pm. After the first week I was mentally and physically exhausted. I don’t know why I thought starting a new position 36 weeks pregnant was a wise idea, however I tend to do that. Throw all big life events into a teeny span  of time. So come the first weekend after orientation I did nothing but rest and attempt to gather a few newborn items. The whole weekend I thought to myself “How am I going to do this for 3 more weeks until my due date?!” A huge part of me was hoping that I would have the baby the next Monday purely for the fact that I wouldn’t have to work.
However Monday rolled around and no sign of baby coming anytime soon. Tuesday, no sign of baby. The texts started to roll in from friends and family wondering if I thought labor was anywhere near since Ollie was born at 37 weeks, but my answer continued to be no. That I really wasn’t too uncomfortable, and that baby seemed quite content right where he was. Other then being tired, I felt good. I wasn’t swollen, my back didn’t hurt. I could still bend and tie my shoes. I was sleeping through the night. All of the typical 9 months symptoms seemed to missing, so I equated that to baby must be no where near.
Wednesday and Thursday were slower days at work, so much of the topic of conversation seemed to center around babies, labor, and delivery.  Every person I would meet would try and convince me that I looked no where near 37 weeks pregnant, and if they had to guess maybe 31 or 32 weeks. All day long I heard of coworkers attempts to start labor, and that if I really wanted this baby out castor oil was the way to go.

Come Friday I had another shift in the ICU, then went straight to my 37 week midwife appointment. Candace, my midwife, and I went to nursing school together, she witnessed the early stages of Brian and I dating, she was at our wedding, at Oliver’s birth, and was now going to be the one to catch this baby. Most of our appointments usually ran over, you’d think an hour would be enough, and this one was no different. We chatted about how I felt too comfortable to be delivering anytime soon, and my thoughts on how I wanted this delivery to go. Would I go natural again? Would I have an epidural? I still had not made up my mind. The pain of Oliver’s birth was still seared in my mind. People say they forget the pain, however I am not one of those people. I could still vividly remember the pain of transition, the ring of fire, the mashing of the uterus after delivery along with the stitches. Having had an epidural and knowing how sweet the pain relief is, a big part of me was leaning towards going that route again. But the fact that I knew I was capable of a natural delivery was in the back of my mind. That and I knew that I didn’t want anything that could lead to a c section. We came to the conclusion that we would just see where my head was at the day of delivery (so much for a birth plan) and go from there.

 Come the end of our appointment I asked Candace if she would do a cervical check just out of curiosities sake, and was found to be dilated to almost 2, 50% effaced, and -2 station. We made an appointment for the following Tuesday, and joked that this weekend would be a good time to have a baby so then I wouldn’t have to go to work Monday, and she was free all weekend.

Friday night I went to bed at 8pm (which had now become my norm) and thanks to a Unisom slept soundly till about 6:30am. I woke up Saturday morning to a contraction which wasn’t all that odd, but come the next half hour continued to have contractions every 5-10 minutes. Nothing overly painful, but enough to notice something was going on. While laying in bed listening to the boys play in the living room, I tried to figure out if that was actually labor or not. The contractions didn’t seem painful enough, so I finally made myself get out of bed and resolved that today was not going to be the day to have baby.

Over breakfast I mentioned to Brian that I was having some contractions, but nothing that I thought would amount to anything. However about a half hour later I suggested to Brian that maybe he should message his brother to be on call to watch the boys. I decided to hop into the tub and see if that would make the contractions ease up.

While in the tub I messaged Candace:
Still not convinced that this was actually labor, but starting to wrap my mind around the possibility that it could be, I asked Brian what his brother said and if he was good with watching the boys today. Turns out Brian’s brother took off for a last minute trip to Colorado, so most definitely would not be available. So while still in the tub I messaged our nanny to see if she could come over if need be, and thankfully she was more than willing!

After about an hour in the tub and now about 9:00am, contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, enough to make me notice them, but not enough to stop me in my tracks. Realizing that our house was in disarray from a full week and going to bed early, I decided to start cleaning, do some laundry, and get the house somewhat in order. I slipped my phone with the contraction timer app going into my pocket, and got going on my to do list.

2 hours into cleaning I still didn’t know what to make of all the contractions. Another message was sent to Candace.
Then from 11:00 on something changed. All of the sudden the contractions were no longer easy to ignore. Each one seemed to get more painful, and now instead of walking through them, I would have to stop and hold onto something. While cleaning our bedroom I found that leaning against the dresser and swaying my hips was the only way to find some relief. However as soon as the contraction was over, the pain was gone and I was able to keep on cleaning and figured I should finally pack a hospital bag.
That’s the funny thing about the third baby, having a hospital bag packed in advance never seemed like a priority. I also told Brian that maybe now was a good time to get the infant car seat out of storage and install it in the van. Telling Brian that was like reading between the lines of “I am actually in labor, this is for real.” Suddenly the immensity of the day was realized, and both of us wide eyed picked up our pace.

A little after noon I messaged our nanny:
Brian and I put both boys to bed for naps, and while laying with Harrison in bed in-between contractions I finally clued him into that today mom and dad were going to go to the hospital and hopefully have his baby brother. For the first time this pregnancy Harry asked “And how is the baby going to come out of your belly?” To which all I could come up with is “He’s just going to come out….” Such a good answer of mine.

Just after we put the boys down our nanny showed up, I had Brian pack the car, and I leaned over the kitchen counter, swaying my hips with contractions while deep breathing and hugging a pillow.  Just as we were about to head out the door I told Rachel that I was afraid that I was going to be the third time mom that was sent home not actually in labor. She reassured me that this was actually labor, and wished us the best and we headed out.

Just a few weeks prior we purchased a new (to us) minivan, and never have I been so thankful for such a spacious back seat. Since being on my back/sitting through contractions was extremely painful, each one I would flip onto my hands and knees, sway through, the flip back over and sit in the captains seat. It still is so strange to me that the pain with labor is only with contractions. That as soon as one was over I was able to go back to talking and joking with Brian and have normal conversation.

This pregnancy we opted out of the hospital tour (third child problems) so walking into the Mother Baby Center Brian and I still was not sure exactly where to go. I wasn’t convinced that we should even bring our bags inside in case we weren’t staying, but we eventually found our way and made it up to the labor and delivery unit.

The sent us to the triage rooms, and immediately a nurse hooked me up to all the monitors and performed a cervical check. With excitement in her voice she told us that I was 6cm dilated,  90% effaced, and had a bulging bag of waters . To which I replied “That means we are staying right?!” To which she laughed and guaranteed us that we were staying till we have this baby.

Finally we sent out the text message to family and friends that today was a good day to have baby, and that the little man was on his way. They transferred us over to a labor and delivery room, and started the admission process. Shortly there after the on call midwife greeted us, letting us know that Candace was on her way, and asked us what our birth plan was. Our only plan was to hold off on the epidural as long as possible, but certainly was an option, and to have the option to labor/deliver in the tub.
Since we were in a room that only had a small shower/tub, they brought in the inflatable soft sided tub/pool and started to fill it up. I got into the smaller tub and had Brian spray hot water on my back with every contraction. After about 30 minutes in the tub I hopped out and changed to sitting on the birthing ball. About 1.5 contractions later learned that this was not comfortable at all, and switched to putting the ball on the bed, and leaning over it.
Come about 4:00pm Candace walked into the room, and something about having a familiar face/friend put us at ease. With excitement we talked about how we are having a baby today, and how funny that less then 24 hours prior labor didn’t seem to be anywhere near, but now here we were! During pregnancy people would ask me if it was strange/weird having a friend be my midwife, to which I would reply it is anything but strange/weird. Why wouldn’t I want a dear friend who I know has my very best interest at heart, be the one to deliver this baby.

For the next hour while the tub filled at a snails pace, Brian and I walked the halls, and continued to labor in our room. Since baby was still high, Candace had me labor through some contractions on my side while stretching the ligaments in my hips with hopes that this would help baby move down.

At 5:00pm I asked Candace if she would check to see if I had made any progress, only to be checked and told that I was still at 6cm and 90% effaced. That meant 2.5 hours at the Mother Baby Center with practically no change. I asked Candace and the nurse their thoughts on breaking my water, to which the both agreed would likely speed up the process, but would make contractions much more intense. With Oliver’s birth I remembered them breaking my water, and the rest of labor was like hell, but only lasted a little over an hour. Remembering the pain I inquired about getting an epidural, to which Candace said was certainly an option, I just needed to decide.

Since contractions were still tolerable, I opted out of the epidural, but decided to have Candace break my water. Around 5:15 Candace broke my water and with the next contraction I could tell something had definitely changed. The contraction hurt, it wasn’t all that tolerable, and instead of just breathing through it I moaned through it. Hoping that the water would bring some relief I got into the birth tub and contractions started coming closer together and stronger.
Feeling overwhelmed by the pain, tears filled my eyes, and instead of doing nice deep breaths, I found myself taking shallow breaths, starting to feel like the pain was too much. I hung my upper body/arms over the side of the tub while Brian and Candace rubbed my back. For the next 20 minutes I don’t think I opened my eyes more then a handful of times, feeling like anything that distracted me from focusing on getting through the next contraction was too much to handle.
This whole time period of being in the tub was a blur, but it felt as though time didn’t exist. That time was going at a snails pace, and flying by. Feeling like I was at my limit I sat in the middle of the tub and cried out “I can’t do this. It’s just too much.” And with the next contraction I could feel that baby had moved down and it was time to push. Realizing that I had just made it through transition, I had Candace check that I was for sure dilated to a 10, to which I was, and she also informed me that baby’s head right was right there and that all that was left was pushing. 

With the next contraction I attempted to push, but just couldn’t seem to find my rhythm. I didn’t know where to put my legs as I felt as I was floating away, and didn’t know how to switch from just getting through the contraction to using the contraction to help push. However with the next one everything seemed to click, and instead of excruciating pain, I felt empowered to use everything in me to push him out. And with the next push followed by the ring of fire, his head was out, and after some adjusting of his shoulders, the rest of him was out, brought up from the water and placed onto my chest. The only words that seemed to come out were “Oh Sweet boy, you are here!” And with a sigh of relief, Brian and I finally locked eyes and welcomed our precious boy.
For the next few minutes I held him close, while he let out a few cries but seemed to settle right into my arms. We looked him over head to toe, marveled at his little body, and Brian cut the cord while I still held him on my chest. After a few more minutes had passed I handed him off, while  Candace and a few nurses helped me out of the tub into the bed. Due to the surge of hormones I was shaking uncontrollably, but after a few minutes and few warm blankets my body seemed to calm down. The placenta was delivered, and for the first time in three babies, I was told I had barely torn and didn’t need any stitches.
Baby boy was placed back in my arms, and after looking him over realized that once again I had managed to bruise another babies face due to some serious pushing through the birth canal. But other then that, he was doing perfectly, and another little boy had managed to steal my heart.

The next few hours were a bit of haze as the bleeding wasn’t stopping as quickly as one can hope. After a shot of pitocin then nearly passing out from standing up, cytotec was given which finally seemed to make the bleeding stop. After a few extra hours in labor and delivery they finally transferred us up to our post partum room.
The next two days in the hospital were nothing short of wonderful; getting to take in all the newborn snuggles and smells. 
Big brothers Harrison and Oliver came to visit, and both were just so sweet with Theodore. Oliver spent a good amount of time pointing and naming all of his facial features, while Harrison was the proud oldest brother, wanting to hold and snuggle him often.

And now that Theodore is 4 days old, I am not wanting this newborn stage to ever end. I would happily spend all my days with a sleepy baby on my chest. The sleep deprivation still hasn’t fully set in, yet, although I am sure it will. If there’s ever a time when I fully sense the presence of God, it is through a newborn. I’m sure at some point we will come down from this high, but for now if anyone needs us, they can find us not doing a whole lot of nothing other then adjusting to our new normal as the Devane party of 5.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Florida 2015 iPhone Dump

While I intended to do a full post about about our week in Florida, I quickly realized that every day would say much of the same thing. We woke up early (not by choice, but because they boys adjusted to east coast time all too quickly), we went for golf cart rides, we napped, swam in the pool, swam in the ocean, watched a lot of Doc McStuffins, and went to bed. Glorious as not exciting as it sounds. Brian had our big camera so some grainy iPhone pictures will have to suffice. 

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