Friday, September 26, 2014

Birth Story: Aurelia

If you'd read my previous pregnancy updates you'd know that we were getting pretty anxious for little sister to arrive. I was also getting nervous about the possibilities of facing a medical induction if the ultrasound showed she needed to come out or I made it to 42 weeks pregnant.

Thankfully, our fears were not long lasting as labor started the very next day at 40 weeks and 1 day. I had been having pre-labor for weeks and braxton-hicks contractions for months. I was discouraged that by my 40 week appointment the contractions hadn't made any progress since 38 weeks. I knew labor could start at any time and I don't usually put much merit into the weekly "progress" because I was used to it being actual progress! 

We were told the entire pregnancy that because of how early (39 weeks) and quickly my last delivery was (6 hours) that this one would likely be earlier, just as quick and possibly faster. So image our surprise when we saw 40 weeks for the first time in 3 pregnancies. It surely made us feel like she was overdue. Although our house has never been more clean and organized (and recleaned and reorganized). 

So back to laboring...last Friday I had tried to take a nap after dropping off Malakai at school and getting Desmond to down but I just couldn't sleep. Once it was time to go pick up Kai I crouched down on the floor to change Desmond and had a pretty intense cramping in my belly. I didn't think too much of it as I'd been having similar pains for a while, I just figured it was ligaments stretching because of my heavy belly. 

When we got to school Desmond announced that I had an "owie on the floor" to a friend of ours and I had to explain what happened. As I got the boys back in the car I had another one, but figured it was just the same cramping from bending over to get into the car. 

When we got home the boys settled into snack time and ironically I was texting with a friend of mine who happens to be a doula, asking her advice for how to get through an induced labor in case that was what the future held. While chatting with her I had a more intense cramping with back pain that made me realize I was having a contraction...or at least I had hoped. It was 3pm and Ben was going to be home in an hour, so I called him and asked if he could come home now but discreetly if possible. He was able to nonchalantly head home early. I didn't call my mom to come watch the boys right away because I hadn't had very many of these cramping/contraction episodes to absolutely convince me that it was time to go. However, it quickly picked up to every 10 minutes so I gave her a call and started to get our bag and the house ready. 

The whole thing felt off as the top of my belly wasn't really contracting, I was feeling all the pressure and cramping in my lower belly and back. I had back labor with Desmond, as he was turned incorrectly, but this felt considerably different. Still, I tried some pelvic rocking in hopes she needed to turn and the back pain would lighten up. I tried laying on my side as well but that just felt terrible. I was doing so when Ben got home and thankfully he was able to explain to the boys what was happening because my groaning was confusing them. Desmond pouted, shoving his hands in his pockets and shrugging his shoulders saying "I'm scared" which was sad and pretty adorable. They were both fine when we explained that I'm ok and this was good. 

When my mom arrived Malakai didn't want me to leave. I hadn't seen him all day between him being at Ben's mom's that morning and school that afternoon. When I explained that we'd be bringing baby sister home soon he asked if it could be tomorrow instead. Bittersweet for sure. I distracted him with an activity with Mima and we were off. 

Ben teased me to be quiet so the neighbor lady who has told us she's been on "labor watch" didn't come running out. I despise laboring in the car but the drive wasn't too terribly long, and while I said "this is the worst part!" I had no idea what I was in for. 

When we got to the hospital we were offered a wheel chair several times but I just wanted to move. Sitting was the last thing I wanted to do during a contraction. They were coming about ever 5 minutes and I'd only been laboring an hour by then, it was a little after 4pm when they put us straight into a delivery room. We asked why we skipped triage but the lady who checked us in just said "they must think you're ready". After she got our info and left we waited a while for a nurse to come get us settled and check my progress but it was taking too long so I just told Ben, get me in the tub! Which ended up being kind of funny because when the nurse came in she said were weren't even checked in all the way yet! They were good sports about it, and I knew I'd be staying anyway so they rolled with it. They were persistent about putting in a "hep-lock" IV, making sure I knew I'd be at increased risk of bleeding with this being my 3rd child but I stayed my ground and got my way. 

When we finally got checked in closer to 5pm I had progressed from 3cm and 50% effaced the day before to 4cm and 80% effaced. Finally, progress! When I was out of the tub I was mostly up and on my feet, leaning over a counter or the bed. I'd get intense shivers and when I was standing my knees would tremble through contractions. I did a lot of side lunges through contractions in additional efforts to decrease the back labor, but nothing was working. I spent a little time on the birth ball, but because the contractions were so low it hurt to be seated at all. 

When I got checked again, maybe around 6:30 pm I was 8cm and 100% effaced. They rolled in the carts and the Dr. and labor nurse were at my side. I was having contractions on top of each other and moving around as much as I could to get through them. They were more intense than either of my previous labors and I kept thinking that we had to be close to pushing if it was progressing this fast. Unfortunately I stuck around at 9cm for a very long time. The Dr. broke my water to speed things up but I barely noticed that she did it, no gush at all. I labored for longer but no real progress so the Dr. had to leave but the nurse stayed in case things picked up again. 

The entire time Ben was at my side to push on my back through every single contraction. He didn't complain once, even though I knew his wrists were aching. I could not have made it through a drug-free labor with out his love and encouragement and his physical support. I also prayed a lot, through each contraction and especially the harder ones I found myself asking God to be my strength in my time of weakness. As things got harder and I got more exhausted I kept asking him to strengthen me, and He did. Although I felt exhausted and discouraged when progress slowed but labor stayed difficult, I had a peace knowing that I could get through it and we'd soon be on the other side. 

By 8pm the nurse checked and there was still a small amount I needed to progress, which she was able to manually move out of the way to get things going. She declared me "complete" and called the Dr back in. When she called I overheard her say something technical that I didn't understand but that it meant I could have a lot of pushing ahead of me. 

As I got to pushing, the Dr. came in and was getting her scrubs on when I felt baby begin to crown. I let them know that it was happening and she rushed over. As I pushed Dr. K said "Oh, there's still membrane here!" meaning, my water wasn't completely broken. Then I felt a terrible pain as I was pushing and she was poking to break the water. I let out the most horrific scream, it was an odd out of body experience for a moment and then she was coming. 

The entire labor Aurelia was moving like crazy. It hurt a LOT when she moved and Dr. K even mentioned that she'd never seen a baby move that much during delivery. She was moving through her entire birth. 

As I delivered her head Dr. K discovered the reason for my back labor, it wasn't that her position was turned, she was actually faced the right way, it was that her hand was at her head, so I delivered her head and right hand/arm at the same time. One more push and then the rest of her was out at 8:27pm. I pushed for a total of 5 minutes. 

I reached for her and she was up on my chest and still wiggling wildly as the nurses looked her over and wiped her down a bit. She let out a scream and I asked "is she still a girl?" because no one had mentioned her gender and I could only see the top of her head at that point. They laughed and Ben helped me flip her over to confirm that we had a daughter.  Ben cut the cord and she settled against me under the warm blankets as we marveled over our little girl as the nurses and doctors worked around me.

A few moments later the room went from loud and crazy to calm and quiet, just the three of us and our labor nurse. Around 9pm I attempted to nurse for a bit, she latched but didn't nurse at first. She got frustrated a few times so I gave her a break until trying again and she got it soon afterwards. Meanwhile Ben called up family to announce her arrival and let them know we'd be taking visitors the next morning after the boys got a chance to meet their sister. 

After 9:30 Ben + our nurse took her stats, footprints, and bathed her. Aurelia was born at 7 lbs, 15.2 ouches, 21 inches long, 14 inch head (plus that fist!). She screamed through most of the bath, but then settled once she had some skin to skin time with daddy while I got to take a shower and get ready to move to our room for the night. 

We moved just after 11pm and were settled in just before 1am when Ben went to sleep. Aurelia nursed often and in between I couldn't really quiet my mind to sleep. I was having a lot of contractions while nursing and the adrenaline rush of childbirth kept me wide awake. Nurses were in and out of our room all night for stats and labs and such, so it was probably a good thing I wasn't asleep anyway. I took a small nap somewhere between 5-6am and then I was wide awake again.

I handed Aurelia over to Ben and they took a little snooze together. I texted my mom that we were ready for the boys to come see us whenever they woke up that morning. A little while later I texted our news to some friends + family, but waited to share her name until Malakai + Desmond and our immediate families had come to meet her. 

Later that morning my mom came with the boys and waited with the rest of my family while Ben brought Kai + Des to meet Aurelia for the first time. They walked in with such excitement, this picture of Desmond's anticipation at the chance to hold her perfectly portrays their feelings. 

Malakai got right down to business and wanted to know her name. He wasn't sure about it at first but he's grown to like it. They marveled at her tiny hands + feet and then quickly asked for a snack. 

Shortly after the rest of my family came in and then Ben's family. It was crowded and noisy but that room was so full of love for our sweet baby girl. A lot of photos were taken and the nurses did tests all around us to prepare us to go home. We were in the car by 1:45 Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours since we had arrived to labor and delivery the evening before. 

That night, at the boys' request, Ben's mom had them over for the night. It was almost luxurious to be able to focus on just caring for her and getting some rest for ourselves that first night home. Ben made dinner, we watched the football game and even had some evening visitors before crashing hard. 

Ben had a week off of work, which was so wonderful while settling in and recovering from delivery. The boys loved having him home so much that the following Monday was ROUGH when they had to say goodbye. Such a bittersweet moment. 

It's been 3 weeks since our little sweetheart was born and we are falling more in love with her every day. I have felt an overwhelming feeling of completeness since her arrival, especially once our boys were back home with us and settled in. We are getting into some sort of routine with taking Malakai to school in the afternoons, although Desmond has decided this week that he doesn't want to nap. I'm hoping it's a phase but being that he's nearly 3, we could be seeing the end of his naps around here. Malakai has loved helping out, he'll bring me anything I need while I'm nursing or changing a diaper and while it took him 3 days to be ready, he now wants to hold her all the time. 

Thanks for all the well wishes, to those of you who brought meals or are signed up to bring them in the coming weeks, the gifts for baby girl and all the love on social media. We feel so supported and blessed by our community of family and friends. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Aurelia Ann: 2 weeks

Hey look- a blog post that is actually timely! Somehow 2 weeks have flown by since our little Aurelia was born. It feels like she's always been in our lives but that she's still brand new at the same time.

She has been an AMAZING newborn. I don't believe in jinxing things but I'm sure we are due for some rough patches pretty soon in terms of sleep and fussiness as she gets older. Still, we've been blessed by the sweet sleepy newborn phase while still getting quite a few wakeful moments. Ben + I love to lay in bed with her when the house is quiet for the evening (AKA when her brothers are finally asleep) and watch her look around and wiggle her arms and legs while making those precious and fleeting baby cooing sounds. 

The boys are so taken with her. She will sleep in a couple hours past when they get up (I know, I'm spoiled...but for real we have never had a good sleeper so I'm praying she's it!). When I get her out of bed in the morning Malakai + Desmond come running to see her. They shower her with kisses and talk to her in the sweetest and most gentle little voices. 

She has had 2 baths (other than the occasional sponge bath) since we brought her home. The first one was a family affair and she hated it. Today I gave her a 2nd bath while the boys were at Grandma's for the morning and she loved it. It was calm and sweet and she just cooed and wiggled in the warm water. 

Naturally since she was all clean and the house was peaceful, we did a little 2 week photo shoot before she passed out again. I'm obsessed with this little outfit (thanks cousin Valeena!) and since summer will be gone soon and she will be too big for it before we know it, I had to get some photos of her in it. 

I'm surely not a pro at photographing newborns, I don't have fancy props or skills to get her in any fancy positions but goodness I think she's pretty cute in these. In case you missed it, earlier this week I posted a few photos my mom took of her at just 5 days old

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Aurelia Ann: 5 days old

My mom did some photos of Aurelia last week that I'm finally getting around to posting here. Aurelia is now 12 days old, but she was only 5 days old when we did these photos. Malakai loved helping out with choosing headbands for her to wear. Nearly every day he asks if we can "play dress up" so he can pick something out for her.

So here are just a few photos of our sweet girl...

Some of you may have noticed her nickname on Instagram. We rarely call her anything but Aurelia besides "sister" because that's what we were used to calling her for so long before she was born. However, with such a long name we knew she'd need a nickname. Ben + I wanted to choose one that was unique like her name and also true to the pronunciation of her name, which is sometimes confusing for those unfamiliar with the name.

For clarification, her name is pronounced Aw-Ray-Lee-Uh. Her nickname is Raeli (Ray-lee) to reflect the pronunciation of her name we added the letter a.  Reli is true to the spelling of her name but could get all sorts of confusing and just didn't look right as stand alone name. So...there you have it. Our sweet Raeli who is already bigger today than she was when these photos were taken!

I've almost completed writing out my birth story for those of you who (like me) love reading the details. I'm waiting to share it until Ben can write out his version so that reading mine doesn't affect his at all. So it could be tomorrow or it could be next week, we shall see.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Introducing Baby P #3...

Well it's all over Facebook and Instagram by now so it's likely not news to anyone that our sweet baby girl was born this past week. Still, here is the official blog announcement with photos that we haven't yet posted anywhere else.

Our 3rd child and our first girl was born on Friday September 5th at 8:27pm. She weighed in at 7lbs 15.2 ounces, is 21 inches long with a 14 inch head circumference. She has plenty of fuzzy hair that is a light brown/dirty blonde sort of color, and big grey blue eyes. 

Aurelia Ann 

Aurelia is pronounced aw-rey-lee-uh and means golden in latin. Ann means grace and  is a family middle name. It's my mom's middle name and is part of the name's of all the girls on that side of the family (mine is LeAnn, my sister's is LouAnn, etc). 

My mom submitted her birthday to the local news and the anchor pronounced her name correctly so for those of you wanting to hear it pronounced watch this little snippet. (The other birthday is her uncle Cody! )

We were so surprised at how much she resembles Desmond when he was brand new and joked that her name was Desmond 2.0 when the family came to meet her. She is developing her own look as the days go by but is still very reminiscent of her big brothers. 

We came home Saturday afternoon and have been enjoying our time as a family of 5. I feel so complete.  I'll be sure to post more about labor and delivery soon. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Baby P#3: Due Date

How far along:  40 weeks 

How big is baby: hopefully not too big! I've started to lose weight. 

What have you been up to: getting Malakai ready and off to school
Maternity clothes: I only have a few tops that are long enough anymore!
Sleep: I'm convinced it'll get better with a newborn than what little sleep I'm getting now. 
Milestones:  reaching our due date, I've never been pregnant this long! Malakai was born at 39 weeks, 5 days and Desmond was born at 39 weeks. 

Best Moments: Being able to see Malakai off to his first day of school. 
Worst Moment: False labor, I'm so ready for sister to be here!

Food cravings: I don't have much of an appetite lately. 
Food aversions: none
Symptoms: lots of varied discomfort, false labor on the daily

Movement: normal

Gender: girl
What I’m looking forward to: finding out her birth day!
What I’m nervous about/praying for: Facing an induction if we go too far overdue. 

What I miss: sleep. I can't even get comfy enough to take a nap to catch up these days.

Next appointment: I had my 40 week appointment this morning and a non-stress test. Everything looks good. Scheduled an appointment for next week with an ultrasound to check on her growth and fluid levels. 

Weekly wisdom: Trying not to let the constant check-ins from everyone get on my nerves!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Off to School: Malakai's 1st day of Kindergarten

I've been so anxious about today for weeks. I was fearful that I would be in labor or stuck waiting to be discharged from the hospital after giving birth when Malakai's 1st day of school arrived. For a long time I convinced myself I would be okay but it built up and I realized it was just as okay to be sad about the possibility of missing such a big milestone. An even bigger step for us than some because we've homeschooled up until now. Malakai has never gone to day care or preschool outside of the home. For years he has attended church between 1-3 times a week and this summer he went to a week of VBS and Day camp, but school is so much bigger!

Nobody thought that I would still be pregnant at this point, we were convinced we'd have a newborn on his first day of school. Although I have been almost as anxious to meet our little girl, I am pretty relieved that I was able to focus on Malakai so intently for his first school experience.  He was so ready to go. Daddy was even able to take a little time off work to see him off...

{this kiddo LOVES green!}
Desmond was just as excited about seeing Malakai off to school, of course he had to wear a back pack too! 

We got to the school early enough to take a few pictures around the buildings

{this boy's facial expressions are just darling to me}
He kept asking, "can we go to my class now?!" but we were still early so we waited outside and took some more photos until the teacher came and let us in. Malakai sweetly listened to instructions of what to do first and excitedly followed through...

Once we unloaded his school supplies and found his cubby we said our goodbye's so he could go do his "morning jobs". We each gave him a squeeze and headed out the door. Not a tear was shed, we were all just so happy and excited for our big boy today. 

And my big Kindergartener was just as thrilled about school before and after class... He talked on and on about the things they did and the kids he met. When he went to VBS and Day camp this summer it was like pulling teeth trying to find out what he learned and what he did, so I was pretty shocked at his eagerness to share his experience. 

I'm so happy for him and this big milestone! Happy 1st day of school Malakai!
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