Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boo, Baby Norah!

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, our third little miracle, Baby Boo, joined the world.

Here's her birth story. If birth stories make you squeamish, read no further, though I'll keep it as graphic-free as possible.

Norah Rachelle joined our family on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 2:42pm. She weighed 9 pounds and was 21 inches talk upon arrival. 

At my midwife appointment on Monday, I was 40 weeks, 3 days gestation. I had not slept in over a week due to nightly contractions and other discomforts. So, when I was checked and nearly 4cm, a sweep was done to try to jump start labor. I was measuring well and she was moving well, but everything was favorable for induction. So, if I was not already admitted into the hospital overnight, at 7am on Tuesday, I was to check-in for induction.

Well, despite some contraction increase overnight, the sweep didn't really jump start anything, so after yet another night of about 3 hours sleep, Jake and I headed to the hospital. I felt pretty calm about the entire idea, with an odd combination of relief knowing she would soon be here, and anxiety over the fact that for the third time in four years, much sooner than we had planned, I was about to be going through the childbirth process again. When I was being induced with the boys, I didn't have the anxiety as much, and after much personal reflection, I decided it was likely because they were very much planned, whereas this pregnancy was a mind-blowing surprise. I just wasn't really prepared yet.

Paradoxes aside, here we were, getting ready for the arrival of child number three.

Our nurse was a friendly face we both recognized, though we couldn't initially pinpoint why. Later on, after Norah arrived, she said she checked and saw that she was one of the nurses during Collin's labor! So cool.

Initially, upon being hooked up to the monitors and checked, I was having somewhat sporadic contractions (still) and by this point was 4.5cm. So, the iv was placed and pitocin started. 

I walked 1/4 mile. Sat around. Walked another 1/4 mile. Attempted to nap. Walked 1/4 mile. Text some friends. 

Came back and was monitored a whole. Checked and was at 7cm. Woohoo! At this point the contractions were every 2-3 minutes and really starting to hurt. My hips were taking the brunt of it, it seemed, and when walking with then it felt like they were going to possibly crack in half. Fun times. So, I decided walking was done. Jake and I relaxed and had some lunch, and at noon-thirty-ish, my midwife came by to check on me and break my water. 

It didn't take long for the contractions to really pick up in intensity and frequency despite the pitocin being decreased by half. And good golly, that was wretched. I had come into the hospital with an "open" birth plan, meaning I was just going to see how things went with no real plan at all. It was pretty much the same plan I had with the boys, and it just works very well for me. This time, I decided that I was going to probably go without an epidural, because with Spencer, it wore off way top early and I felt pretty much everything by birth time anyway, and with Collin, I waited too long for it to actually kick in and I delivered before it was really useful.

So, as the contractions worsened and I thought my hips might shatter and my back might snap, I moved to the tub. My nurse said it would likely help with the hip and back pain as well as the increase of pressure with each contraction. 

I think she was probably right. At least at first, she was. I sat in the tub for I don't know how long. After a while though, I thought I was going to be super sick, and so i got out and went back to the bed. 

I could hardly concentrate on breathing at this point, but was at 8.5cm, so I knew  it was getting close to the end. The pressure and pain was so intense I thought I was going to lose my mind and I could hardly think straight, so the nurse offered me a dose of Fetinol at 2:15pm.  I think that's what it is called anyway... as she said it might help with my hips and back. 

Well... It made me feel like I was drunk and dizzy and not much else. Things hurt just as bad, so I changed positions on the bed, and it just continued to intensify.  I was to the point of tears and fear that I wouldn't be able to finish going through with it all, not that I realistically had a choice. It was at this time that my midwife told me I could push.

But... I couldn't. I honestly could not figure out how. I was on my knees upright and just could not process in my mind how to do it, even though she was coaching me through, so I panicked. I started crying and stating I couldn't figure out how and was shaking and nearly hyperventilating.

Jake was across the room in shock, I think, that it was so close to happening, and I cried terrified for him to come to my side.

So, I resorted to the way I had the boys, "normal" fashion, on the bed. But it was still so intense that it took me a contraction or maybe two to figure out how to get my body to do what it needed to.

Then, I pushed through two contractions. Everyone in the room told me it was a short process, realistically, probably about 5 minutes. But it felt like the most painfully agonizing period of my life and I was unsure it would ever end. I cried out that I didn't know if I could do it. I begged for help. But at the end of the two contractions, she was already born.

My first words to Jake were "is she really a girl?!" I guess, deep down, I really did have worries they were wrong and we would have a baby boy and no infant boy things. I think my heart skipped a beat when Jake paused a second before saying "yes," with a giant grin. Turns out he was in shock it happened as quickly as it did and he was not mentally prepared for her to be here already, and she came out facing downward so he hadn't even seen yet. Haha.

I also asked nearly immediately after, if I could take a good nap on Subday, and a Reese's blizzard. Jake promised I could, and I'm pretty sure the whole room laughed at me. 

They placed her on my chest, and I proclaimed to the room how "wretched" and "horrific" and "absolutely horrible" that was to go through with basically no pain medication. Jake told me over and over how great and amazing and wonderful I did, and how awesome it was that it was so fast. I just couldn't believe how much it hurt, and how I actually did it. 

I held her to my chest for a while. I don't know exactly how long, as she cried a minute, and then just looked at me. Jake and I both just gazed at her, still somewhat in disbelief that we had a daughter. We greeted her, kissed her, told her she was beautiful. I told her that some day, she would understand how much I went through to bring her into our family and just how hard that process is. We laughed. 

Eventually, they took her to clean her to and weigh and measure her. She nursed a while. Daddy held her the first time and grinned with tear-brimmed eyes as she cried at him. And we fell in love.

So far, she's been a fairly happy little girl. She's a good eater and sleeps through most of the noises the boys have made while visiting. Her brothers seem to like her well enough. Spencer is excited to talk about her and point her out to people. He calls her "baby Norah" and "baby sister." Collin, with daddy's help, held her. Spencer, as expected, refused.

I'm excited for she and I to join all of our boys at home tomorrow.

Norah Rachelle is a name that carried a lot of significance. Nora is a name on my mom's side of the family, through her mother, who was one of my best friends, that has been used somewhat frequently in multiple generations as a middle name. We added an H to the end as a way to honor one of my very best friends and beloved cousin, Tarah, who has an H. Rachelle, pronounced a bit like Ray-She'll, is a name we chose to combine the names of the two women friends that have been like sisters to me for the longest periods of time in my life, Michelle and Desirae. I do not know if either will ever have a daughter, but I love being able to honor our friendships this way.

Thank you to everyone for all of the well-wishes, thoughts, visits, and prayers!  We are open to visitors at home as well!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dear Diary.

My very first diary was given to me in 1991. I was 8 years old. 

Somehow, through the years, I managed to hold onto it. Not only that, but it's in dang near perfect condition over 20 years later.

I generally forget that I have it. Tonight, however, I found it beside a stack of games I have stored high up on a shelf.

I decided to open it up and read it. It's amazing to look back and see the hand writing of a little girl in elementary school, and the things I thought important enough to pen for future memories.

Here's my first ever diary entry:

It's so simplistic. No stresses or worries. No fears. Just simple daily joys. Such innocence and silly grammar. 

I kept journals off and on through high school and college, as well as online ifs for the last 13 or so years as well. 

Life has become much more complicated since then, of course. My pen and paper journals are stored away in a box somewhere, as I used to dream someday I would have children, and hopefully a daughter that loved to journal, and I could leave my thoughts, fears, joys, wishes, and dreams on paper to them. They would get a chance to know a younger version of the "old lady" that raised them.

It was fun and refreshing to read through my diary, even if it was only a few entries, not a full book worth.