Saturday, March 19, 2011

3 weeks

How in the world has three weeks gone by! Everybody says the same thing, but it's so true. It's so hard to imagine that Kate was still inside of me three weeks ago today.

We've had a very good three weeks. Of course Mom was here when Kate was born that Sunday, but then had to leave on Monday afternoon. John took off work most of the rest of that week, and that was really nice! Then Dad came over that Saturday, spent the night (after grilling some fabulous venison-YUM!) and went to church with us the next morning. It was Kate's first Sunday morning!

Dad headed home after treating us to lunch and then John's mother came that evening. I was grateful to have her help since that was the beginning of spring break! She stayed through Wednesday before heading back to Searcy.

The weather was absolutely fabulous during that week, so we spent a lot of time outside.

On Friday, we went to Faulkner park for a picnic! PER. FECT. WEATHER. I love spring time in east Texas!

Saturday night, the Deans kept the older 3 kids while John and I (and Kate) went on a date, courtesy of our friends the Rambins! Chelsea coordinated people bringing us food 3x per week all through March, and Saturday was her night, so she sent us on a date! What a great idea!

This week has been all about getting back into a routine and figuring out our "new normal." It's been both challenging and refreshing, frustrating and encouraging. Going from 3-4 kids really isn't that big a deal. It's having a newborn that takes all of your time whether or not you have any other kids in the picture or not!

Johnathan, Kalleigh and Jonas love "loving" on their little sister. Johnathan, my talker, uses his talent and just talks to her while he holds her! She is so content to listen to him. Kalleigh talks about how they will play together when Kate gets bigger and showers her with kisses. Jonas keeps asking to "pet Baby Gate," and so we have the opportunity to teach gentleness. :)

Last night Kate went with Clearly Vocal to restaurant night. She rode in her sling and did great while we sang for a couple of hours!

Today my Aunt Karla and cousin Alissa came to meet Kate. They had been staying at a bed and breakfast nearby and made some time to swing by! It was great to spend time with them. The boys got out of the house, so we had some good girl time.

Tomorrow will be the first time that John and I will get all four kids ready and to church by ourselves. We'll see how that goes!

We're looking forward to next weekend when my brother, Kreg, and his family come to visit as well as my mom and her hubby!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Kate Evelyn: A Birth Story

She's here! Finally, thankfully, she's here. Kate was born on Sunday, February 27, at 11:46 a.m. weighing 9 lbs., 12 oz., and measuring 21 in. long. My biggest baby! We're doing just great, and in my own biased opinion, she's perfect. :)

The rest of the story ... for those who want ALL the details:

Mom had driven in the previous Tuesday and had planned on staying until Kate arrived. This was going to be just perfect since she had never been able to make it to one of my births before because of how quickly my labors have been! And since I was sure I was going early, Tuesday seemed like the best time.

Saturday night I had pretty much given up on Kate arriving while Mom was here. We had spend Wednesday shopping, Thursday housekeeping, Friday walking and working on Ladies Bible Class and her pharmacy admissions work, and Saturday we all went to the zoo. I had eaten strawberries every day that week, since I had eaten strawberries the day before I went into labor with all three other kids. I had done everything I knew to do to get labor going, and it just wasn't happening. She wasn't dropping. I was going to be pregnant forever.

I began making my list of clever remarks back to people who would see me at church the next day. "You're still here?" "I can't believe you haven't had that baby yet!" "Are you sure there's only one in there?" "Every time I look at you, it just makes me miserable!" "I thought you would've had that baby a long time ago." "Oh, your face is really swollen. You've got 'the look.'" "Any day now!" "Are you sure you're pregnant? I'm starting to think you made this all up as an excuse to get fat!" Aren't they funny?

When I saw my cousin Deborah when she saw pregnant for the first time, back before I had ever been pregnant, I felt at liberty to say, "You're huge!" Deborah, I'm so sorry. That was awful!

Thankfully I didn't have to use any of the comebacks I knew I would've regretted saying. About 5:00 Sunday morning, I had a distinct cervical change, to put it tactfully. At first I thought my water had broken, and I dashed to the bathtub expecting "the gush" I had when my water had broken with Jonas. But there was just almost nothing! Not even enough for a steady leak.

But it was enough to get labor going. Sure enough, some little contractions began about 30 minutes later. I called my midwife, who agreed that I was headed that way, and then I took a shower. Because everyone knows you should take a shower when labor begins. (?) Then I woke Mom up to give her some time to get ready before we left. The bags were packed, and had been for about 3 weeks now, Kate's car seat was in, even my snack bag was ready. So I got dressed and put my makeup on, which is what I was most concerned about. There would be pictures, of course. We got the kids up and dressed for church and headed out the door! It was baby day!

On our way we texted friends and family, including Jerry Frazier, who was on call to lead worship for John! We dropped the kids of at the Dean's house around 7:00. What would we do without church family? They were ready and would take them on to church. And of course we kept Facebook updated!

When we arrived at the birth center, I was already dilated to a 6! But sure enough my water had not broken. Contractions were coming consistently, but I had good breaks in between during which I could rest and even joke around a little. :) We used one of the breaks to take a "last pregnant picture ever."

My "labor team," as I call them, arrived one at a time. The line up was as follows, in the order of arrival: My midwives, Vicky and Sarah, John and Mom, Chelsea (friend and photographer!), Terry Dean (my Tyler mom), and Kaulie Keele (the kids' favorite babysitter who is on the health track at REL HS and plans to be a neonatal nurse). I was so thankful for this team who each contributed in their own way! What a blessing!

I labored in one of the L&D rooms for a while, moving around as I pleased from the bed to the birthing ball to just walking around. I kept my water bottle close and took small sips between contractions to stay hydrated, since I wasn't hooked up to any IVs.

After a while I moved into the birthing pool and enjoyed the relaxing warm water. As suspected, I think it did slow my labor down somewhat, but it was worth it! I was so relaxed between contractions that I was actually dozing off! It was nice and warm, and sometimes a little too warm. I called for a cool rag for my face and neck and proceeded to wash off the afore mentioned makeup. Pictures shmictures.

Not long after I was an 8, finally, finally, my water broke with a noticeable "POP!" causing everyone to jump up and see what was going on! It was the last comical moment for a while!

Warning: Birthing a child is not for the weak or the faint of heart or stomach.

Contractions picked up. Boy howdy, did they. I felt like I needed to change positions, so I moved from being reclined in the tub to over on my hands and knees. Then had a huge contraction, almost to the point of pushing. Vicky checked me and said that my cervix was starting to swell and that I needed to get back to my back. Having heard horror stories about that happening, I quickly obeyed!

Two contractions later, and not wanting to risk pushing on a swollen cervix, I "calmly asked" if I could push. Yes! was the answer, and with the next big contraction I pushed Kate's head right out! I was hoping to wait for another contraction to push the rest of her out, but her head starting retracting, causing her circulation to be cut off. She started turning blue. Bad blue. At this point, Vicky charged into the water, shoes and all, got me to my feet and yelled, "Call 911!" as she drained the tub. I was now standing/squatting, bent over with my hands on the side of the tub. Everyone was "calmly encouraging" me to continue to push. I was SO tired by that point, and wasn't having another contraction to help! I was pushing as hard as I could, but she was stuck!

Then Vicky just did what she needed to do. She reached up "in there" and pulled Kate on out! I think Papaw Curtis would've been proud! How many times had he had to reach up in a cow and pull out that big calf?! Ha!

Now she's behind me, having just pulled the purple, non-responsive child out, and she plopped her up on my back. All of this was very surreal, as I was still bending over the tub with my child on my back. No sounds other than the chorus of "Breathe, Kate!" being sung behind me.

Then John said he saw her eyes flicker open, at which point, he stopped calling 911. Obviously all of this happened within a matter of seconds, since the call had not even gone through yet! And then we heard that precious gurgly cry. Praise God! They suctioned out her mouth and nose and the crying became stronger. Yea!

Now my crying child is still on my back and still attached to "my innards," so Vicky hands her to me through my legs and I sit back down in the now-drained tub to examine my new daughter. She was just perfect! We had a nice long cuddle time while we waited for another contraction for the placenta to make its adorable entry into the world. It took its sweet time, but that was okay. I love that they don't rush that at the birth center. I knew that Kate was getting every last bit of goodness from the cord! Having completed it's job, it decided to come on out, and John did his traditional daddy duty of cutting the cord.

Over the next couple of hours, we cuddled and took pictures and all of those fun things. Kate and I had an herbal tea bath, soothing and healing. Amazingly, I did not tear. Sarah and Vicky were both amazed. Sarah even said, "You have, like, I super-perineum!" I was like, "Yeah, that's going on Facebook!" jk ;) Looking back, I'm so grateful for being at the birth center for that somewhat chaotic delivery. If I had been in an hospital and she had gotten stuck like that, they would have given me an episiotomy before I could've blinked. I would still be in a world of hurt today instead of playing outside with my other kids! I'm so thankful to Vicky and her midwifery skills! And for my super-perineum. ;)

We went home a couple of hours after Kate was born. It was nice to recover in my own bed. Mom was Super Nana that afternoon and evening taking care of the other three kids, fixing supper, and keeping the laundry going.

We did it! And I never want to do it again! I will do whatever I can to keep our family of 6 a family of 6 and no more!

I know, famous last words, right?

Please, no.