Monday, January 20, 2014

I am holding our baby!!!!

I am holding our baby...

G I R L !!!!

Can you believe it?!?  I can't!!!  A GIRL!!!  Our pattern was broken...and I wouldn't have it any other way!

The Lord was beyond good to us.  Beyond.  As a matter of fact her middle name reflects that.  Every prayer was answered!  Every. One.

For the men folk I have the *clean* short version:

Her name:  Merida Mercy
Her weight:  7lbs 3oz  (NO weight problems there!!)
Her length:  20 3/4 inches
Date of birth: Jan. 18th
Time of birth:  9:55 PM

The baby is doing great, and so is mommy :-)

Now for anyone who wants all the details.....and men, if you are still reading this don't blame me for any psychological damage that may ensue :-)  Be prepared, this is very long, and I am sure it doesn't always flow well.  But, I was trying to write things down when I had the time, and if something came to me I threw it in there too.  But for the long version:

I've written so far about some of the *somethings* that were going on over the week...all working toward labor, just not labor itself.  Jeremiah was to be out of the house for the day, about 45 minutes away, accessible by phone at all times.  He was gone before any of us woke up.  I woke up cranky, as I have been for the last week (a sign my hormone levels were changing, getting ready for the birth).  I got a few things done, all slowly, taking breaks here and there.  I felt bad that it was really cold out and I didn't have the energy or inclination of dressing up 3 little boys to play outside for 15 minutes.  I really did feel bad about that, but I knew that would put me over the edge.

Around 11:30 AM I started having braxton hicks contractions.  Definitely just the 'regular' ones, but they were coming every 10 to 20 minutes.  They were nothing to take note of, and I never timed any of them.  They stopped around 3:30 PM.  The last two however, were much stronger, and they ***definitely*** moved the baby down!  Oh. My!  But then they all just stopped.  I consoled myself that they at least didn't start at 10 PM like my other ones that kept me awake a few nights this past week.  

Jeremiah called me at 4:30 to check in on me.  I told him what had gone on that day, and that I was not in a happy mood.  It didn't help that he said that they were being served dinner, and that he would probably be home around 9 or 10 PM.  My evil thoughts were....You are being served dinner, while I have to figure out what to feed everyone here?!?  Um, yeah, like I said, I was *cranky*.  I had a feeling something was up, because that was pretty petty!  But thankfully I knew I was being hormonal and I kept those thoughts to myself :-)

An hour later I had finished up with a bunch of dishes and needed to lie down because my lower back was sore...a VERY rare thing, something that happened right before the other 'working' braxton hicks early that week.  The girls made a quick and easy dinner, and as I took the first bite I had a contraction. It was not of the braxton hicks variety, but more like the working ones.  Again, hey, at least they are coming now, and NOT at 10 PM, thankyouverymuch.  I looked at the time, it was almost 5:30 PM.  

About 10 minutes later or so, another one, and then a bit sooner another.  Hmmmm.  Well, it was starting to get dark out, and though I could have sent the girls out to feed the animals, I knew that getting up and walking around would have been one part of the "Is this official labor?" test.  I got up and fed the animals, with a few more contractions along the way.  Hmmmm. Well, the next part of the test is to take a shower, and then to lay back down.  I had a contraction when I went into the bathroom, had one in the shower, and one as I was leaving the bathroom....that all took place in 15 minutes.  Oh. My.  And, for the record, these had a bite to them, they were not pleasant.  I had a very bad, horribly, sinking feeling that this was going to go like my last two births! Those both started off with painful contractions from the first one.  I wanted to cry.  I looked at the time, and thought, well, this could be good or bad, at least labor wasn't starting at 10 PM, like I prayed it wouldn't....BUT if it is like my past two labors that still meant that I could be giving birth early the next morning.  I prayed, "Oh, God, please NO!"  And I thought/prayed/hoped/whispered almost....if only I could be done by 10 PM!!!

I was on my way to lie down, when I decided to call the midwife, since we have a land line phone and I would have to get back up again.  I called her to say I thought things were starting, and that I was giving her the heads up (something she requested).  I called our friend who was coming to sit with the other kiddos to give her the heads up as well.  I told them I would call them back in a while to let them know what was going on.  I decided not to call Jeremiah as I really didn't want him to have to leave where he was if this was all a false call.

I lay down in my bed.  I didn't have a contraction for 10 minutes and when I did, it was seemingly quite long lasting.  But the next one, though closer in time, was shorter.  A few shorter ones followed by a bigger one.  These bigger ones led me to empty my bladder, which always led me back to bed with a bigger one, followed by a couple of smaller ones, and then a longer one.  I decided to time the second 'batch'.  The long ones were 1 min. 15 seconds, the shorter ones, 30 sec.  I really couldn't stand the getting up to potty every two long contractions.  So I got up.  And that brought on contractions every 2 to 4 minutes that lasted only 20 to 30 seconds.  Oy, what was my body trying to do?!?

These clearly were not going away.  I was clearly not handling things well, because my whole thoughts revolved around...labor JUST started, it's already painful, and I might have hours and hours and hours of this left to go!  I wanted to cry.  I think I probably did.  I figured that was my cue to call the midwife back.  I believe it was around 8 PM, or so when I did.  My doula, who works along with my midwife, literally lives less than a mile from me.  So the  midwife said she would send her over, and did I want the doula to assess me first, then call her...or did I just want the midwife to head on out.  I asked her to please head on out as I was totally unsure of myself and a bit freaked out. The funny thing was one of her questions for me was if I had to breathe through any of them.  Nope.  I got off the phone, walked to the living room, started having a contraction....and I needed to breathe through it!  Ha!  I had to breathe through all the ones that followed as well.

The midwife went on to remind me what I told my friend about the herbal uterine toner...that even though these may be hurting, I may have a shorter labor.  Somehow it was easier to give that advice than to receive it!  I hung up and decided to call Jeremiah.  He picked up the phone and I said, "Things are starting, you need to come home."  I was really, really hoping he would not ask for details to see if I was really *sure*.  I didn't think I could handle it. Thankfully all he said was, "I'm on my way right now!"  He did call about a little later from a gas station to tell me he would only speed enough to not get a ticket.  Ha, ha.  I told him things were not that imminent, and that I would rather he not risk things.  

Our friend and our doula made it to my house about the same time.  Huge blessings I tell you!  The kids don't quite get it that mommy needed some quiet :-)  I don't remember hearing a peep from them after my friend arrived.  The doula asked what she could do.  I think by this time, or soon thereafter Jeremiah came home.  He and the doula got to work on setting up the birthing pool.  Which I really should name, labor pool, as I've never given birth in it!  I really, really needed water right then and there, so I jumped in the shower.  Our water heater isn't the best, so I asked the girls to start boiling water on all 4 stove burners.  Jeremiah jumped in the shower as well, as he had been outside all day.  

By this point the pool was set up in my room and in the process of filling.  I had remembered that I planned on leaning forward during contractions this time around as I always have an anterior cervical lip come transition time, and I was hoping to avoid that this time around.  I also remembered to use the 'tummy lift' technique as well, which helps the baby's head to line up properly with the force of the contractions, making each contraction more effective.  I found standing made handling the contractions much easier to deal with.  But again, this was just like Jonah's labor, where I had to stand....all night long!  Not only did I have to stand, but the contractions, though they only lasted about 20 to 30 seconds were very painful at this point and I only had about 10 seconds in between them!  I have never had that happen to me in any of my other labors.  This was scary!  I mean, would they get stronger and longer, with that same 10 second break?  I was freaking out to say the least.  Then during one of the contractions, right in the  middle of it, it was like someone threw a switch and all of a sudden, I had to vocalize to get through them.  They changed from being short and closer together to being longer and a bit spaced out....a bit more.  

Now, although things were painful, it has been much worse in my past labors, and with this labor moving along so fast (note to self, that probably means that labor IS progressing along fast as well!), I just couldn't comprehend things getting much worse.  The midwife was still on her way, she lives over an hour away, and the doula couldn't check me.  Was I only 5 cm's, was I 8 cm's with a bulging bag of water (what has happened to me in most of my labors, that makes transition last 1 to 2 hours!!!)?  By this point I was having Jeremiah push on my lower back, the very first time I've had back labor.  That really helped.  It also really helped that I could finally get in the birth pool.  We didn't have a lot of water in it, but it was enough, and it really helped with the pain.  But after a little while I *HAD* to get out.  I *HAD* to stand.  After a handful more contractions another 'switch' got flipped and mid contraction the intensity skyrocketted!  I have never experienced anything like that before, and it totally caught me off guard....I started screaming.  After that the next contraction left me feeling like I needed to push.

Now that may have been a welcomed thought..its pushing time, but for 7 labors, this time has been met with, "no, you are not ready to push, you are 8-9 cm's with a bulging bag of water."  The midwife was still not here so I tried really hard to get through these excedingly  horribly painful contractions, but at the end of every one I couldn't help but push a little.  Thankfully the midwife arrived with the 2nd or 3rd of those types of contractions, by the 4th she was finally able to check me.  The verdict?  "The baby's head is *right* there, you are all set to push whenever you want."  WHAT??  Did I hear her right?  So asked her, "Are you sure?  Are you sure I don't have a cervical lip?"  The midwife: "No, you are all set, the baby's head is right there."

I had been using my be to lean against, so I just hopped right on it, only inches away from the edge before another one of *those* contractions hit me.  And I pushed.  And no pain!  All but one of my pushing stages have been very painful, and very long (one or more hours).  The second push and I had Jeremiah and doula on each side of me and the midwife all ready.  The third push and I could NOT believe what I was feeling!  As the contraction started to let up I felt the baby's head starting to move past the pubic bone (that is where all my other baby's get stuck and sit there for an hour!).  Jeremiah could tell I started to relax, and told the doula to let my leg down.  But I yelled out, NO I need to keep pushing.  There was no way I was going to let that head slip backwards!  And sure enough her head crowned.  I was in total shock.  Can this really be happening?  For some reason the contraction intensified instead of stopping.  So out popped a head!  The shoulders seemed to take longer than it should have, but I guess she had her cord wrapped around her neck and the midwife was trying to deal with that.  I saw her as she was half way out with the cord over her shoulder, and then it was over, she was out!  I kept repeating, "Oh my God!" over and over and over again.  I think I said that for the first few minutes.  I was truly overwhelmed with the idea that my biggest prayer (besides health and safety) for this labor was answered....a baby in three pushes.  I was almost speechless, except that I was truly calling out to God in complete thanks and worship over what just happened.

In the past Jeremiah has seen the gender of the baby as it slips out, but this time he didn't.  The baby wasn't crying, or really moving much as she came out and the midwife said, "Kerri, talk to him, talk to the baby."  And Jeremiah asks, "It's a boy?"  The midwife replied, "Oh, no, I don't know."  She had said "he" only because I've talked about this baby always with the gender "he" :-)  Jeremiah wanted to see, but I said to get everyone else in the room first, and we would find out as a family.  The girls and Jonah had wanted to watch the baby being born, but everything happened so fast we never called them in!  As we waited for everyone to come from each corner of the house, I looked at the time.  And I cried.  I cried and cried, and the only thoughts that went through my head right then were, "I don't deserve this!"  That thought just kept running through my head over and over.  The time?  Ten o'clock on the dot (the baby was born at 9:55).  That prayer/thought/whisper, my total fear of *starting* labor at 10 PM and going all night it was 10 PM, and I had our baby in my arms.  

Everyone finally made it in, and I looked....A GIRL!  We all just laughed and whooped and hollered.  I looked again just to be sure!  How could this be?  Ha, ha!  I thought, this is our Merida.  My name 'thing' coming to pass for the 8th time?  We were still undecided about names, and Jeremiah had suggested that I re-think some his favorites.  But all the kids kept calling her Merida.  We told them her name was still to be determined.  But, you can see, we kept that name, and after a brief discussion of virtues for the middle name, Mercy was decided on by both of us as the perfect fit.  

The placenta came quickly, about 10 or 15 minutes later (that is quick for me).    I realized that I was still on the edge of the bed, and that I really wanted to lay back and stretch my legs out.  So we set things up for that to happen, and then it was just time to look over the baby, talk to her, smell her....ahhh, that beautiful special time after all is said and done!  

The midwife did the newborn exam as I watched on.  And then it was time to snuggle up again.  The baby slept great that night, me?...not so much.  I was on cloud nine and couldn't fall asleep!  All the kids got to bed really, really, really late!  We had a few cranky kiddos come morning, but that was fine.  Who would want to miss out on such a special time of meeting their new sibling.  

Recovery has been SO MUCH EASIER!!!  Oh. My. Goodness.  When you don't spend hours in transition, and then an hour or more of pushing?  Wow, that really makes a HUGE difference :-)  I'm still taking it easy, in bed most of the day with the baby, getting up for the bathroom only.  I've got my little nest over here, and I'm settled in for the week :-)  

We are all smitten with the new babe.  Aubrey was a bit upset that it was a girl and not a boy!!  Ha, ha!  But he's starting to get over it now.  All the kids, boys included, keep asking for a turn to hold the baby.  Jonah is very insistent about having a long turn holding her.  Jonah spent the most time talking to the baby while she was in the womb. I had told him only a couple of weeks ago that the baby was going to recognize his voice.  All three boys wanted turns holding her and so I had Aubrey take a turn first. He was talking, but the baby just kind of did her looking all over the place thing.  Jed was next, and he really didn't say much of anything, nor did he when I was pregnant (to the baby in utero).  Again, she just looked all around.  Then it was Jonah's turn.  He started talking to her, and immediately she turned to look at him, and kept starring at him!!!  That made his day!  I said, "Jonah, look, she recognizes your voice, she's looking right at you, she knows who you are!"  He looked so amazed and so proud that his baby sister "knew" him.  It was very, very sweet.

Well, this post has taken me forever to write. I've been writing it a paragraph or two at time :-)  That is the long of it!  Right now I only have a couple of pictures of Merida, I'm hoping I'll have more soon.  But here she is:

 This is a bit grainy, but you can see her face the best.  Jeremiah and I first thought she looked like Isabella, but after the first day some of the puffiness went down and she most certainly looks most like Aubrey!

A bit of a close up, I was trying to get a snap of her long hair!!  The girls have her nicknamed, Chipmunk.  Not because of her cheeks, but because her hair is a bit matted down right now on top, but she has long hair all around her lower head, like a monk.  But they said that 'monk' didn't cut it, so they made it chip-monk :-)   


Christy said...

Congratulations! She is precious!

momof4andmaybemore said...

Congratulations! I'm not sure how I found your blog, but have so enjoyed following the end of your pregnancy. This post made me cry AND want another baby! :)

Sarah Faith said...

Aw, I got all teary from your story!! What a great blessing! Congratulations and welcome, Merida! Happy babymoon!! <3 <3

Tracy Scarpulla said...

She is gorgeous!!! So happy your labor and pushing finally got easier and faster!!! :) Love to all!!

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

Thank you to all of you! I wanted to make sure to put up Kelly's comment, a bit edited:

"Congratulations! She is so beautiful, and Praise God for her being big and healthy and that your wishes for labor came true! Enjoy these precious newborn days!!"

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