Thursday, September 30, 2010

Birth Day

**Disclaimer: This is an actual, full-details birth story.  Don't read it if you're offended by stuff like pain, blood, and afterbirth.**

Anyone who has had any contact with me in the last week knows how ready I was to have a baby.  While I would never say it was a bad thing to go a little early, having every one of the kids early did condition me to think this last one would be early, too, no matter how much I kept telling myself otherwise.  So when I had contractions all Wednesday (Sept. 22nd) evening, and then woke up at 2:00 am Thursday morning to painful contractions 2 and 3 minutes apart, it was pretty disappointing when they stopped completely by 4:00 am--after I had showered and gotten ready to go to the hospital.  I was battling a bad attitude the rest of the week, but by Sunday I had stopped pulling out my iPhone to time every contraction I had, and I made plans for the coming week (made a hair appointment, volunteered to take dinner to someone else who'd had a baby, bought supplies for a new crafty project, etc.) to keep me busy. 

It's no surprise, to me at least, that after all my pleadings for the baby to come quickly, it is when I gave it up to Heavenly Father and let His timing be enough for me that He answered my prayers.  (Of course, that's not to say I wasn't still trying everything to get things going myself.  I have always loved to walk, and do you know how yummy raspberry tea is?) 

Monday morning, I woke up to go to the bathroom at about 3:15, and had a painful contraction.  I tried to get settled back to sleep when another one hit.  And then another.  Knowing I wasn't going back to sleep any time soon, I sighed and grabbed my iPhone off the nightstand and started timing them.  After a few that were less than 2 minutes apart, I realized how hard I was concentrating to breathe through them without waking Adam (and Katie, who was asleep on our bedroom floor).  At about 4:00 am I got up and put the last items into my hospital bag.  When the contractions still didn't stop by 4:15 am, the magical one hour mark from when they had started, I woke up Adam and asked him to put Katie back to bed so we wouldn't wake her, and we finished getting things together.  He called Shelli to come sit with the kids until they got up, and we left to go to the hospital. 

The whole way there, I was praying that they wouldn't send us back home.  Somewhere around 4:30 the contractions had slowed to 3-4 minutes apart, with the occasional longer interval, but they were hurting more, so I was hoping they were still doing something.  We went into labor and delivery and they hooked me up to the monitors to watch me for an hour and make sure I was progressing.  At that point I was dilated to 4 centimeters and 90% effaced, at a zero station.  The contractions slowed to about 4 minutes apart, and Adam and I sat quietly, each with our iPhone and iPod Touch (thank heaven for wifi at the hospital!), hoping something would change as I breathed through each contraction.  At 6:00 am, just before a shift change, the nurse came to check if I'd progressed.  At that point, she said I was maybe at 4+ centimeters, and it was decided they would give me another hour to progress.  If I didn't, they would send me home.  Again, we sat, mostly quietly, for another hour, as the intervals between the contractions didn't change much.  When the nurse came to check again, she said she could maybe say I was at 5 centimeters, but she didn't think that was enough progress alone to admit me, unless Dr. Winward felt otherwise.  So off she went to consult the doctor, and again I prayed they wouldn't send me home. 

When she came back about 20 minutes later, it was with the on-call doctor, Dr. Astle, saying she couldn't get Dr. Winward on the phone, so she was consulting him instead.  Dr. Astle checked me, and immediately declared I was dilated to a 6, and at a +1 station--we were going to have a baby that day!  He asked if I wanted him to break my water when we got to the delivery room, and I agreed to try that to get my contractions closer together. 

While I waited for them to move me to delivery, we called my mom so she could come over, and I sent Adam off to eat breakfast.  I was settled in delivery around 8, and around the same time my mom arrived.  Then the nurses tortured me by digging around in my veins three times before finally getting an IV started (that was easily my most unhappy memory of the day).  Adam came back from breakfast.  My contractions stopped, almost completely.  The nurse went off to find Dr. Astle to break my water to try to get things started again.  While we waited for him, my contractions started again slowly, about 4 and 5 minutes apart.  At about 9:00 am, the nurse came in with a bag of pitocin saying Dr. Astle was occupied and would be a little while. I asked for a small dose of pit so that they wouldn't start too hard and fast.  If I could still avoid an epidural, I was going to do it, and I knew too many contractions all at once after this rest would break my confidence. 

Finally, Dr. Astle arrived and broke my water at about 9:30 am.  At that point I was dilated to 7 centimeters.  Again, Adam, my mom and I sat talking and playing on our electronic devices quietly while I labored with contractions about 3 and 4 minutes apart.  I was having to breathe and concentrate with each one, but with so much time to rest between, I was still talking and laughing and feeling pretty good.  My mom went to eat, and Adam and I talked about names a little more.  It was around 10:30 am that I had a really painful contraction.  The pain was pretty distracting and I told Adam I needed to squeeze his hand.  I felt burning in my lower abdomen, and thought maybe if I used the restroom again it would take the discomfort down a notch.  We called the nurse in to help me and as I stood to wash my hands I had to really grip the sink to get through another really awful contraction.  I just kept whispering, "I can do this.  I can totally do this."  But I was shaking and I wasn't sure I could do it much longer.  The nurse was gone when I came out, so I got back into bed and Adam hooked up my monitors again before I had another contraction that freaked me out.  I told Adam I wanted to be checked.  Right then.  He called the nurse, this is where things got really fuzzy. 

I know my mom came back right around then.  And my nurse wasn't the one to come in.  It was a different nurse, and she kept asking me stupid questions like "what is your name?" and "what number is this for you?" and telling me annoying things like not to bend my wrist that way so the pitocin could get into my IV and that I needed to breathe.  I'm pretty sure I was involuntarily yelling and/or screaming a lot as the contractions rolled through me, flattening me like a freight train.  I asked her/told her to check me, and she said she would, after the contraction, but I told her that I was having another one, they were on top of each other, so she needed to check me.  She was assuring me that this is how it gets, that they just get closer together and longer, and that yes, she was going to check me when it stopped. 

Finally, the pain went down a tiny notch and I tried to catch my breath.  She checked me and said, "Oh, were going to have a baby right now, we need to call your doctor to get here!"  The panic in her voice mirrored my own panic, and I knew the doctor wasn't going to be there.  I had to push right then.  There was a lot of hustle and bustle and lots of people coming in, but all I remember then was screaming and pain for the longest moment, then pushing once, and then twice, like an explosion, and feeling her slide right out of me.  It was the most intense sense of relief I could ever describe.  Luckily, they hadn't taken the bed all the way apart, so she landed on the bed, and I remember hearing her cry and looking down as the nurse scooped her up and checking to make sure she was, indeed, a girl.  Not that she was okay, mind you, because it hadn't registered in my brain that no one had caught her. 

Dr. Astle came in from the next room over and told a nurse to call Dr. Winward back, that she could turn around and go back home.  I told Adam to get the camera, and he and my mom moved away.  Someone asked if Dad was cutting the cord, and I said no, but that Grandma could if she still wanted to (Adam is really not fond of the blood-and-guts stuff, he stays well out of view of it all).  I heard nurses discussing what time she was born, and they decided on 10:56 am.  Around this time I jokingly, but shakily, told the nurses I was ready for the pain meds.  I held the baby, so white from the vernix because she was so early, as Dr. Astle declared not that I had ripped to pieces as I thought, but that there would be no stitches at all.  The baby and Adam (with the camera) went with the baby nurses, and Dr. Astle delivered the afterbirth.  He took the time to show the placenta to me and my mom, which was really cool since even though this was my fourth baby I had never seen it before.  It was the most amazing thing to be able to move as they put the bed back together, and not have to rely on everyone to lift and move my legs.  Even though I was in pain, it was so much better than being completely numb and helpless.  I was shaky and tired, but it was over, and I felt pretty much okay. 

Slowly things calmed down, they weighed and measured the baby--6 lbs 10 oz and 19 inches long--and brought her back to me to nurse.  She was perfect, healthy, and beautiful.  I marveled at her pretty dark hair, like Katie's when she was born, and how when she cried, her mouth looked just like Max's. 

After the room cleared and it was just our family, Adam told me about the SUU student who had been shadowing my nurse.  She had come in with her when I had asked to be checked, and had witnessed the whole thing.  She stood across the room, her mouth agape in shock and horror when the baby came, and stayed that way for a couple of minutes after, he said.  Poor girl.  She will probably never want to have children after that!  I wished later, after I knew the shift was long over and she was gone, that I could talk to her.  I wanted to tell her that as scary and painful as it looked from across the room, for me it was the most wonderful, surreal, amazing, and fleeting experience.  One I am so very grateful for and will try to hold on to the memory of forever, despite the realization that my memory of it already feels like it's fading.  This was the experience I had hoped for with every baby, and never quite got to because I panicked and had an epidural when it got scary.  I finally got to have my perfect birth experience, as painful and unpredictable as it was.  And that I would do it again because of the result: the most beautiful, perfect, tiny child laying in my arms. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nesting Project #5: Blankets

You would think that after having a girl, I would have a million baby blankets, but when I went through them I realized they were almost all the little teeny receiving blankets that can swaddle a newborn for a week or two and then are too small.  I had a couple of great ones my mom made, but two is just not enough.  And, I didn't have any warm blankets.  So I supplemented what I had a little (I may end up needing another warm blanket for the car seat, but this is a good start). 

Here's a double-sided flannel blanket I made out of my stash.  I buy up flannel from the $1 table at Walmart when I see it and stash it for when someone has a baby.  But no one has had a girl in a while, so this has been hanging around for almost two years! 

Just an easy-peasy blanket: face right sides together, and stitch around, leaving a small opening to turn.  Clip the corners, turn right side out and press, then top stitch. 

These ones were even easier.  I happened to be at JoAnn when they had flannel at 50% off, which was dangerous.  I bought up a bunch of this because it was so pretty, and made two receiving blankets. 

This one just has to be cut to size (I like mine 44 in by 44 in, great for swaddling for months), and then the corners rounded (I use a small bowl), and then serged.  If you have access to a serger (thanks, Mom!), this takes about 5-10 minutes including cutting, tops. 

Now I have some soft, pretty blankets to wrap Baby Girl in when she decides to make an appearance!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Favorites: Crafting Blogs

You want to know the source of all this crafty inspiration I've had while I've been nesting?  It's this blog that Haley told me about and I have become addicted to: Make It and Love It.  Seriously, fun stuff on that site.  You should check it out.  But don't blame me if you go out and buy a bunch of fabric and start going crazy making stuff! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nesting Project #4: BabyLegs

I saw that had BabyLegs up today, but of course they sold out fairly early.  At 58% off retail, you could buy 4 pairs for $20--$5 each, plus shipping, which if you have ever bought or coveted BabyLegs, you know is an awesome deal.  But, what if you could get them even cheaper?  For less than $5 and 45 minutes of my time, I made three pair:

Now, I couldn't be as choosy with the cute patterns, but that was only because I was shopping for little girls' knee socks in the off-season.  I did find some cute ones in women's sizes at Target on clearance for $1 or less a pair, and made Katie some leg warmers for dance as well.  This tutorial describes exactly how I did it, although I also clipped my seam close to make the seam less bulky. 

If you're wondering why anyone would want these (I have had two people ask me), here's a link to all the great reasons listed on the BabyLegs website. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nesting Project #3: Bibs

These maybe should have been posted with the last two projects because they are so small and just use the leftover fabric from those projects.  But with any extra fabric I have I intend to pop out some bibs because they are my favorite type of bib and you can never have too many of them.  I am somewhat impared with sewing around curves, though, so I don't make as many of them as I could if it were easier for me.  So silly, I know, but it's really a problem. 

I totally ripped the design of these bibs off some that my friend LeAnn made for me.  The only reason I feel the least bit okay with it is that hers are so much cuter, better-made, and I would buy them from her to avoid having to make them.  This are a couple that she made for Max: 

See what I mean?  Super cute!  And just the right size to handle the big messes, including Max's uber drool while he was teething.  And, they have button closures so Baby can't rip them off and they don't stick to everything in the laundry like with velcro. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Katie is 5! (A very pink post . . .)

My Katie girl has turned 5!  I am amazed at how quickly she is becoming a little lady.  She is my best shopping buddy, my biggest helper (usually), and has the best sense of humor and easy going attitude of our kids.  She is very smart and verbal, and has always been inquisitive.  I hope she is always trying to figure out "why" (but I hope she learns some other ways besides asking every 5 minutes!). 

Miss Katie is our princess, and loves being girly.  She would prefer to wear a dress every day, but wearing dresses and being pretty doesn't stop her from a lively sword fight, Bakugan battle, or mad Lego session.  She has always looked up to Isaiah and I hope he continues to look out for her and set a good example for her. 

This birthday is the birthday of pink.  Pinkalicious to be exact.  If you don't know what Pinkalicious is, you need to read the book.  You won't be disappointed, it is a darling story that is great for emphasizing how great it is to be yourself. 

Check out our Pinkalicious!

And our pinkalicious decorations:

And here are our beautifully pink guests:

We had lots of fun decorating pink crowns and star wands,

then we headed in to read the book. 

After all the girls were clear on the story we could play some games!  We played "pin the green stuff on Pinkalicious,"

"hot cupcake,"

and we had a (very short) pinata. 

(Whoops!  Did you miss it?  That's about how short it was!  Katie opened it on the first pull!)  While the girls enjoyed their candy, Katie opened her presents.  Then we dished up cupcakes and strawberry ice cream and the girls sang to Katie. 

(We also enjoyed pink cookies and pink lemonade.)  It was such a fun day, and Katie is still coming down from the pinkalicous high she was on Friday! 

A special shout out goes to Shelli for being the most excellent helper of the day, and for lending me her camera when my lens decided to stop autofocusing (and who can take candids while trying to manually focus?!).  I couldn't have survived the pink overload without her! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nesting Project #2: Car Seat Canopy

It seems like with every baby I have there is the cool new baby product that everybody wants to have--mostly because it's such a good idea and so useful, but partly because it's trendy and a fashion statement.  The hooter hider was it with Max, and it seems like this time around it's the car seat canopy.  I see them everywhere, and there are so many cute variations.  Here's mine:

And, of course, the matching burp cloths:

I used this tutorial at as a basis for mine, although I looked at the one at our local Ace Hardware's craft section for ideas (hence the rickrack).  Here's the tutorial for the flowers on the straps, and I just made covered buttons for the centers.  I have admit that I could have probably bought one off Etsy for cheaper, since I bought the fancy fabric at Quilted Works (at full price, gasp!), but I really love it, and it always means more when you make it yourself, right? 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nesting Project #1: Hooter Hider

Okay, I'm 36 weeks today, meaning I'm on the final countdown.  (And baby is finally head-down, hooray!!)  I have been nesting like crazy for the last few weeks, and I've still got more to go.  When I nest I do a little of the cleaning-things-out, organizing insanity that is so common.  But for me, nesting means sewing and crafting--making things to wrap and dress and cover baby with.  I thought I'd share my maternal insanity with all of you!  I'm not posting these projects in order of importance or even in order based on when I completed them, just at my picture-taking and posting convenience.  If you're interested in how I made something and I don't describe it in enough detail, let me know and I'll try to point you in the direction of a tutorial or explain it myself.  No guarantees, though, I do a lot of just figuring stuff out as I go along. 

So, for today's nesting project, a hooter hider:

and no nursing cover is complete without matching burp cloths (actually, I was having a hard time not making matching burp cloths with every project, but when you have enough burp cloths to last a month without washing, it's time to stop):

This is my favorite hooter hider tutorial.  I have made a bunch of these for everyone but myself, so I've had a lot of practice.  I obviously embellished a little with the ruffle on this one.  It's also double-sided.  The burp cloths are just Gerber cloth dipes from Walmart, prewashed and with a strip of fabric top stitched down the center.  Easy peasy! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Braces Day

Yesterday was what the kids have been calling "braces day."  It was time for Isaiah to get braces to make room for those crazy giant teeth he has coming in.  We've had lots of discussions with the orthodontist and assistants and at home about what would happen and what to expect, and despite his nervousness, Isaiah woke up excited and ready to go!  He got to miss school since it was a short day and the appointment took up half the morning, right in the middle of the school day.  We went to the orthodontist's office and Isaiah learned all about how to brush his teeth and care for his braces, and we both signed a lot of paperwork.  Isaiah was so attentive and asked all kinds of intelligent questions so he would know exactly how things worked and what was expected of him.  Here he is, ready to go in and have an x-ray: 

Then they got to work!  He had to wear this funny thing to keep his teeth dry while they cemented the brackets on:

He got to choose the color rubber bands he wanted: blue glow-in-the dark and gold.  He was so patient while they got everything glued on, the wire threaded, and the rubber bands in place.  Here he is, our braces boy! 

We went to McDonald's for lunch afterward to celebrate.  Everyone has asked if they hurt, but so far he's always said, "Nope, not at all!"  (He has had a very little pain, but all in all it's been relatively easy.  Way better than going to the dentist!)  I just can't believe how grown up he looks and seems with braces in his mouth.  Where has my little guy gone?!  I'm so proud of how well he's done and the great attitude he's had, especially giving up hard and chewy candies with Halloween right around the corner. 

Way to go, Handsome!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Favorites - Footwear Edition

I am not a shoe person.  I don't drool over Jimmy Choos, and I generally rotate between 2-3 pairs of shoes during a season and wear them to death.  This summer I have invested in about 4 pairs of different flip flops that I like, which is really branching out for me--I don't think any of them are worn out yet!  Here are my favorite flip flops from this summer, the most comfortable, cutest, most versatile of the ones I've bought:

So, they're nothing fancy--I bought them at Ace Hardware--but I love them!