On Monday, September 16th, at 4:51 PM Katherine Augusta was born! She's a tiny little peanut, weighing only 7 lbs. 2 oz. & is 19 inches long- our smallest baby (Emily weighed 6 oz. more). Katherine has a dimple in each cheek & little wisps of yellow hair with a red tint... wonder if we have another redhead in the making? She's beautiful & perfect- we're all smitten:
I've always meant to share my birth stories but I don't think I've ever done so. With Jeanelle & Eric home this week & lots of eager helpers, I'm able to do so this time! You might not care- if that's the case, just scroll through to enjoy pictures & read the last paragraph to know how to pray for us.
Our friends, the Arendse family, arrived from Texas on September 7th because Jeanelle was sure she would miss the birth if she waited. My due date (Sept. 13) came & went and still we all waited. But that was a good thing because both of our families were now battling sore throats, coughs, fevers & even a few children had the stomach flu! Yikes!!! It was a tough week but God was so good to give us peace & just enough energy to make it through. But I'm so glad that's done & over!
On Monday morning around 4:30, a strong contraction awoke me from sleep. This wasn't a new thing- it had been happening for days but this time they came every 30-45 minutes & they hurt a little. I was hopeful that maybe I was finally in labor & enjoyed sleeping in between contractions. Around 7, Eric & I awoke and had coffee together. (Eric was working from home that day & hence the late hour of rising. Praise God that his boss had just told him the night before to work from home!) My contractions stopped completely. :( Eric still thought it might be a good idea to go over near the hospital & walk around somewhere because we had a hour drive. I was so afraid of not being in labor & besides, we had Abigail's birthday to prepare for but I said maybe.
Jeanelle & I left after breakfast to run errands. First priority: Abigail's birthday items at 2 different stores. Twinges of contractions. Then we went to Costco & contractions came on so strong that I couldn't walk. Jeanelle insisted it was time to go to the hospital. (Her & Eric were afraid of delivering a baby in the car; the idea of skipping the hospital sounded kind of nice to me.) I called my mother to have her come over, we went home & unloaded our items, grabbed the hospital bag & started for the hospital.
During the 1 hour drive, contractions came about every 7-10 minutes & were strong enough to make me stop talking & focus on breathing. Prayers went like this in my head: Lord, give me strength to face what lies ahead. Keep us safe. Please don't let me give birth till we get to the hospital! :) Jeanelle had packed us all snacks of cheese, almonds & fruit since we hadn't ate lunch yet. I ate a small bit & commented that I shouldn't be eating anything because I've always thrown up when pushing if I eat while in labor. Yeah, those words would come back to haunt me...
I had two strong contractions that I had to stop walking & breathe through as we walked into the hospital at 1:12. They set us up in a room with a birthing tub in the corner but then realized they had us mixed up with another lady coming in. They hooked me up to a monitor anyways as we went over all that fun paperwork & I sipped juice (remember my comments about how I shouldn't eat... Yeah, I shouldn't drink juice either...). It showed contractions were 10 minutes apart. They seemed to slow up & be less painful whenever I laid down. I prayed I wasn't only 2 or 3 cm dilated but the nurse then checked me and I was SIX cm! I was shocked! That kicked everyone into gear. ;) The midwife was called (the office is just across the street from the hospital), room prepped & they said they would check me again in an hour. I walked around the room but wondered why hadn't they set up the tub? Contractions came closer- sometimes 3 minutes apart & Eric had to push on my lower back. One of the neonatal nurses came in all stressed out because we had denied the vitamin K shot. She said because I was on blood thinner, the baby's blood would be thin & needed this shot. We said we would talk about & she promised to return, stressing the urgent need to get it done. It all sounded weird to us- no one said anything with Emily. Besides, Heparin is in & out of my system within 12 hours. Eric did a quick search on the Internet (yay for iPhones!) and we were right- no need for the shot! The nurse returned & said that after searching, she realized she was wrong.
When the nurse came back, she informed me that the two directors said we could not have a water birth because I was too high risk from my past history of pulmonary embolisms & that they were shocked the doctor let me labor with a midwife. I was shocked & upset. I asked to speak to them but they never came. Chickens! But there was no time to dwell on that because when I was checked, I was EIGHT cm! Strangely, my contractions slowed down when I laid down but Eric told the nurse that last time, I went from 8 to pushing in minutes, so now the nurse scrambled. (But not in a crazy way. she was calm & let me labor.) I was grateful that I wouldn't have to labor long without the water. Lower back labor was painful! And I really wanted my water birth.
I went back to standing and rocking through contractions. The nurse was surprised but I could not imagine being in bed to labor. No thank you- use GRAVITY people & MOVE when the pain hits. My midwife's mouth dropped open when she came in the room & saw me standing. As they started prepping "needed" items, they asked which position I wanted to be in. Not in bed was my response but since I had to be there, I didn't know. They soon had me sitting up in the bed & transition seemed to take forever! Yuck. I wanted desperately to be standing & rocking because in that sitting position, Katherine wasn't quickly descending. I had the midwife break my water at 3:20. The pain in my back plus contractions didn't help me think clearly. I had the midwife check me twice... Still 8 cm... I threw up... Twice (note to self: NEVER, EVER eat & drink juice during labor!)... Now 9 cm... I began to push but it felt ineffective. I commented that it wasn't working. Jeanelle brought cold washcloths for my head. Contractions didn't come right on top of each other like they normally do. The midwife was patient; the nurse seemed anxious to get the ball rolling; Baby's heartbeat stayed strong/steady & she even kicked me several times.
The midwife suggested that I change positions- why not try leaning over the back of the bed? Perfect! As I turned, I felt Baby's head descend & 2 pushes later, she was born at 4:51 PM! She screamed a few times, I turned around & put her to my chest. She was instantly quiet & began sucking her hands & looking all around. Praise God for her safe arrival! I didn't tear- another praise!
I was able to nurse for about 45 minutes- woozier, is this little girl good at sucking!!!! Another praise from God. Eric had to go with Katherine to the nursery for her triage. Errr. That's 2 births at this hospital & no in-room triage. I was told they were busy. I could have cared less & told them we would wait but they didn't like that idea. Anyway, while they were gone, I got transferred over to my room.
Postpartum care at this hospital was awful last time; this time, it was much improved but its still a hospital. It took 6 hours before I got on okay to have a shower. :( During that time, I had to lay still in bed unless a nurse took me to the bathroom which was only 3 times. I also drank like a mad woman so I could get that ok for a shower. The first postpartum nurse threatened a catheter because my output was slow. Yeah, right!!!! Not happening! (Remember how I threw up... TWICE! Of course my output would be slow at first.) She also wouldn't let me cross my legs & wanted those icky boots to compress my legs because of my past history- no doctor or midwife gave that order but she wanted to do it. Nope- not happening. You're not suppose to diagnose. Thankfully, that nurse went off shift 2 hours later. The next nurse was better & didn't come in till morning. Yeah!!! Rest was what Katherine & I needed.
It's just do hard to rest in a hospital! We had a room across from the nurse's station & heard talking and laughing all night. (Only 3 babies/mamas on the whole floor- I think they had a lot of downtime.) 5 AM struck & it was a revolving door of people all day- nurse to check Katherine, nurse to check me several times, pain meds brought, tech to take my blood, tech to take my temp & blood pressure several times, food delivery 4 times (even though we denied it & signed paperwork to not have it), lactation consult, insurance lady, birth certificate info, denial of vaccinations, visits from my doctor & midwife and then to the nursery for Katherine's visit with her doctor. Phew!!!! We we're thrilled to get the okay to come home from both doctors!!!
We praise God for Katherine's safe birth and for the honor of having her in our family! Please pray for a quick recovery for me. Jeanelle is here till the end of the month- what a blessing she's been as she serves our family & hers (11 children!) while I focus on just 1 wee one. :) Well... at least when I can because everyone wants to help. Pray for good nursing for Katherine so she can plump up (she was only 6 lbs. 14.1 oz. when we left the hospital) I call her my little vacuum- I had forgotten how much nursing hurts in the beginning!