pics by LavendaWow, it has already been three weeks since Annalise was born. I had no idea how hands on she would be during the day. This girl is not a sleeper during the day but thankfully she does sleep for 2-4 hour intervals at night. It's still earlier in the morning and she's asleep so I'm going to try and type out the birth story...
Annalise estimated arrival date was June 22. However, that day came and went without a hint of an oncoming delivery. My first Braxton Hicks came 7 days later on the dawn of June 28. That day I was a little panicky and had that rush of adrenaline that makes you clean the house, pack your bag for the hospital, and make sure everything is in order before a baby comes. Although other than the early morning contraction no other contractions came along on Monday. In order the help me pass the time, Lavenda invited me over to hang out with her that afternoon and do a little shopping at IKEA. By Monday evening, the house had been cleaned and more groceries bought "just in case".
On Tuesday, June 29, at 3am in the morning I started having contractions that came 13 minutes apart. As much as I wanted to wake Jared up and tell him. I also thought I shouldn't since it might be a long labor and he would need his sleep. But as soon as the first alarm went off I was telling him about the contractions. At 9am that morning I was scheduled to see the doctor. The news I got was neutral. Or at least that's how it felt to me. I had finally started to dilate and was somewhere between 2-3. I was told not to hold my breath though because with the contractions that far apart, they may stop all together. If they stopped and the labor didn't progress, I would be induced on July 1 at 12am. Jared let a few people at work know what was going on but I didn't want to jinx the whole thing so I didn't tell anyone.
The contractions stayed at 13 minutes apart all day. I took an hour long walk right before lunch. It was good for passing the time. When Jared got off work at 4pm that day, I convinced him that I needed to climb stairs. We had heard during our birthing class that it was a great tool to progress labor. I would have climb them indefinitely because I wanted it to work so bad. Good thing I have a level headed husband when it comes to me. After an hour he convinced me that I need to conserve some energy and we needed to walk the mile back home. We enjoyed a cup of Skinny Dip chocolate yogurt on the way back.
When arrived back at the house my contractions started coming closer together at 8 minutes apart. Yay! Climbing stairs really does work. About an hour later our friends Kim and Phil dropped by. They got to see when the labor was 7 minutes apart and really starting to make me stop and breath during them. I used the birthing ball for the majority of the time while I was at home. Dancing with Jared also seemed to help ease the pain and help me focus on breathing. Without a doubt breathing is the key to getting through the contractions. Jared was the perfect partner. He would suggest new positions, keep me focused on breathing, and then help me relax between the contractions.
At 2am the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. You can go to the hospital when they are 5 minutes apart for an hour. We wanted to labor at home as long as possible though. The hospital is only 4 blocks away so distance and time getting there wasn't a factor. By the time the contractions came at 2am I was already getting tired and feeling ready to go to the hospital but we needed a sign. That sign came with my water breaking at 2:30am. Of course my water broke when Jared just happened to go put all of our stuff in the car. He was so sweet. He took the water drenched clothes and washed them off before we headed to the car. While we were walking to the car, I had a contraction and labored on the birthing ball in the middle of the sidewalk. Jared actually took a picture. It was a memorable moment.
It's 3am when we check into the hospital. Our room could almost pass for an over sized hotel room. For the first hour, I labored in the hot tub which was great. The hardest part about being at the hospital and laboring is that they would have me lay in bed every so often for what seemed like 30 minutes to monitor the baby. I felt like every time I had lay on the bed the contractions would get farther apart and yet feel more intense. It was miserable and really wore me out more than anything else. The nurse got in touch with my dr. and the dr. told them to put me on pitocin (a drug that quickens labor) at 7am. At 6am the nurse checked me and I had only dilated to 4. It was a breaking point for me. I was so tired (even falling asleep between contractions). Also once I was on the pitocin I would be bed ridden for sure. So I did what the majority of women have done before me and called for the epidural. I have no regrets. I honestly went as long as I could before getting the epidural. Jared was extremely worn out too. While I was getting the epidural, I had two contractions and my legs were shaking like crazy. Jared was holding one hand and my nurse was holding the other. At last the epidural was in and taped like mad to my back and the numbness started to take over.
At 7am there was a shift change with the nurses. I have to say that I think I had the perfect nurse for laboring and the perfect nurse for delivery. They really made the whole hospital experience a positive one. I expected to labor in numbness until that afternoon. But when Jen came to check on me at 11am I had dilated from 4 to 10 in just 4 short hours. Short because I was sleeping that whole time. Hallelujah! Jared had left the hospital in order to take our dog out. He walked back into the room just as Jen was telling me to call him.
For the delivery, I had two helpers; Jared and Kim. I had asked Kim before if she wanted to witness the birth. She didn't know they would put her to work and have her hold one leg as Jared held the other all the while I was pushing. I loved the delivery part. I couldn't feel a thing so why wouldn't I? haha. I asked for a mirror and Jen brought in a huge mirror so I could see the birth. It was amazing! The mirror helped me to push more effectively. It was incredible to see the progress. Here again they had to tell me when to push because I couldn't feel it. Jared was beside me counting and making sure I pushed for the right amount of time. So half of my pushing was done with my nurse Jen. The last half with the dr. on call that day. It took 45 minutes total but honestly felt so much shorter. The last image I have is of her head popping out, pushing half a second, and them placing my beautiful baby girl on my chest.
We had 2 plus hours admiring our little Annalise before they put the eye drops in her eyes. Even then, they did it in our room under a warmer. So she never left our side. After I nursed her for the first time and things had quieted down. Jared had his own kangaroo bonding time with her. Kangarooing is a term they use for skin to skin time with baby to help with bonding process and to get babies to nurse. I'm sure there are other benefits to kangarooing as well. We still use it three weeks later to help calm her stomach. One detail I would hate to leave out is how enamored I was at her cute little baby bottom. It was the cutest thing in my hand.
She's growing and changing everyday. We have had a few eating issues. We think she has a sensitive stomach. For now I'm cutting out dairy so hopefully that will help. I think in a few more days we'll be able to know for sure if its the dairy upsetting her stomach. For most of this I've written with one hand as she sleeps in my arms. But as long as she's getting the sleep she needs I'm happy. I hate seeing little dark circles around her eyes. Other than that things are going well. Jared's great at making her copy his smile. I've yet to catch it on camera but they are very sweet moments. She loves being walked around, taking baths in her tummy tub, and laying on her changing table looking at a white wall and black lamp pole. Jared jokingly says I walked too much with her when I was pregnant because she doesn't like to be still.