Sunday, January 1, 2017

Act 7; Scene 8: Josie Jane's Birth Story

Mostly because I love reading other people's birth stories, and because I feel it's important to document those of my children. Warning--the is really long, with lots of details, mostly for myself. So here goes.

It starts out just before 36 weeks. We wanted to go up to Moses Lake for Thanksgiving. The Dr. told me to come in the day we were planning to leave just to make sure I wasn't too dilated. Well, I was dilated to a 4 (surprise, surprise). The Dr. strongly advised me not to make the long trip--he even said he would probably see me in the hospital having a baby on Thanksgiving Day (yikes!). So we decided not to go. And considering how uncomfortable I was, that was probably a good idea! I did not, however, have any intention of having my baby as early as Thanksgiving. We had too many plans in December to follow through with.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to my next Dr. appointment. I didn't want to get checked that time, because I didn't want it to further anything along--what with having a horrible cough and cold that had kept me home bound and mostly bed-ridden (which, if you know me, is a BIG deal) for a couple of days, I also had a concert to attend, a Polar Express to ride, and a showcase to get my little drama kids through. Keep that baby in till December 17th was my goal. However, they had to take the strep test...so they had to check me. And discovered that I was dilated to a 5 at 37 weeks. The Dr. was amazed, and contemplated having me go to the hospital. I assured him I was not in labor, so he didn't have me hooked up to the monitor to see if I was having contractions without knowing it. He did tell me to not go anywhere within 15 minutes of the hospital--even asking where I lived to make sure I was close enough. I timidly asked, "So can I go on the Polar Express in Heber?" He looked me right in the eyes and said "Absolutely not. If you go into labor in the canyon, you will not make it to the hospital in time!"

So we gave our tickets to my parents, and they took the kids on the Polar Express. Even though Tommy and Scarlet were still pretty sick with that nasty cough. We did not, however, forego our trip downtown to the Tabernacle Choir Concert. We even got to stay the night at the Hilton Hotel, walk around to see the lights, eat out at a restaurant for breakfast, and wander City Creek in the morning. Even though I was STILL sick and hacking, it was a magical weekend. The perfect "date night" before a baby coming into the world. 

I continued lacking in energy and hacking into the 3rd week. To compound it, my ear was now really sore and clogged--I thought I had an ear infection, but the 10 days of antibiotics did not seem to touch it. Finally, by Thursday, I had a day when I felt ok. I had more energy--I was still coughing and my ear was plugged, but at least I didn't feel miserable, I could go kick the soccer ball with Tommy in the backyard for a bit. Then I went to Broadway Bound--my kiddos last rehearsal before the big December Showcase the next evening. We got everything ready and packed up, then said, "See you tomorrow for the big show!" to the kids.

At this point, Robert and I were pretty convinced that I would be having the baby on my induction day, the next Wednesday. I mean, I had been dilated to a 5 for 2.5 weeks, and still no labor signs. 

We went to bed a bit late on Thursday, and finally started drifting off to sleep just after 11pm. I woke up around 11:45, feeling very uncomfortable in my back. I tried rolling over, but that didn't shake it. I started to pay attention, because I have learned that pain in the back could definitely be labor. But I didn't feel it easing up and starting again, like contractions. There was just pain. But it was not going away. I nudged Robert, who, on the verge of deep sleep, rubbed my shoulder and told me to take deep breaths and it would go away. Then, my neighbor texted me. What she was doing texting me at midnight I do not know, especially since she knows we are usually in bed by at least 10pm. She even prefaced the text with, "If you're not in labor, can you tell me..." So I answered her text, and ended it with, "And I'm actually trying to decide if I am in labor!" To which she replied that she could come over if we needed it. But I was thinking we didn't.

10 minutes later the pain was worse, and I told Robert we needed to get up and get ready to go to the hospital. Though I was still unsure if it was actually labor. When I got up and started moving around, I could feel the coming and going of the pain. Contractions. I called my friend who had fortuitously texted me, and she came over. By the time she was there, I was pretty positive it was labor. 

We got in the car and headed to the hospital. It's funny how you can still be unsure if it's actually happening--I told Robert that if this wasn't labor I was going to feel really stupid. He replied that if it wasn't, they would just put me into labor. 

But by the time we walked into the hospital, there was no question. We were having a baby.

The nurses were wondering what kind of drugs I wanted. I wasn't sure if I should have a spinal block or an epidural. I explained my reasonings to the nurse, and she seemed hesitant about the spinal block. They checked me and I was at an 8.5, so I decided to try an epidural, since it might be longer than an hour and a half to get the baby here. 

I was getting very excited to get that epidural, too! But man, having two other babies (and prepping for a natural birth) sure helped me with coping methods through the contractions. And Robert's coaching was SO MUCH BETTER this time than ever before. I was also nicer--no frustrated words to him. I guess we are learning!!!! 

Anyway, the epidural came, but after a while it was apparent that it didn't work on one side. Which was very discouraging for me. The anesthesiologist said we could try to redo the epidural--it might fix it, it might not, or it might make it worse. Hmmm. Well, I decided we should just try to get it in again. It would be worth it if it worked. And guess what--IT WORKED! I was so happy. Both of my legs were tingly and numb, but I could still wiggle my toes, and move my legs a tiny bit. When I had an epidural with Tommy, I was completely disconnected from my legs for hours. 

After a long time (longer than it needed to be--not sure what the Dr. was up to. Tea and crumpets?) Around 3:30am, everybody came in, because it was time to push. I was wary about this, because I have heard a lot of things about pushing--to ease up, to not push at all, etc etc to avoid tearing. And I really didn't want to tear this time--which I told the Dr. When it came time to push, each time I took a deep breath, I started coughing. That was no help. The Dr. asked me if I was scared of pushing. I told him I was! He coached me a little bit more after that, trying to help ease my fears. After two rounds of trying-to-push-but-coughing-instead, Robert said, "Oh, lots of hair!" I think when I heard that I realized how close we were. So I started taking smaller breaths and smaller pushes, which helped a lot. I only had to do about 3 of those, and the baby came right out!

I was happy that I was elevated enough that I could see the baby come right out--and saw at the same time as Robert that it was a GIRL! And she was as purple as could be, with bright white-blonde hair on her tiny little head.

They laid her on me while they vigorously wiped her off with a towel. Then they took her to weigh her and get a diaper on. I was a little frustrated that they were over at the weighing thing so long--mostly because Robert was trying hard to get a picture of her with her weight (6 lbs 8 oz) showing in the picture. I just wanted to hold that baby!

It doesn't even show up anyway!

But soon enough she was with me, and nursing. Like a little shark. Lucky for me, all of my babies have known exactly how to suck the instant they were born. 

We named her Josephine Jane. My name of choice, since Robert consented to the Josephine after he got Scarlet. The Jane part is two-fold--one for Jane Eyre (especially since I became pregnant with her during Jane Eyre), and so that Robert could call her JJ. 

Although calling a newborn baby by their name is really weird. It was the same with Tommy and Scarlet. You just feel like calling them "baby." It takes a while for their name to fit them. Meanwhile you wonder if you made a horrible mistake in naming them, lol. 

We mostly called her Scarlet for, like, a week. Every time Robert referred to her, he called her Scarlet. Talk about parent brain! So funny how that just came naturally to us! 

Then I went on to texting my coworkers that I would actually not be at the December Showcase that night. THAT NIGHT! I was soooo close! I almost made it! But little doll decided to come on Dec 16th instead of the 17th. And what can you do?

Unfortunately for me, I was still hacking and my ear was hurting like crazy. I finally pretty much demanded they send some sort of Dr. in (since the told me a Dr would come check on me before noon, and by 5pm no one had come or was going to come) to help me feel better. One finally came, and gave me sudafed and some other breathing contraption. And told me to keep taking my ibuprofen longer than I might think I need it to be able to heal my sore ribs (they felt cracked from all the coughing--not fun). So I was happy that I could get some of that figured out at last!

The hospital felt so boring. At AF hospital, there were nurses and doctors coming to check on my and visit with us, and we had some visitors as well. the nurses hardly ever came in to check on us, and the only visitors we had were my kids and parents who came for about 25 minutes or so on their way to SLC. And we didn't have books to read or anything. On Saturday morning, the Dr. asked if we wanted to leave that day, or on Sunday morning. I said let's go today! So we left the hospital nearly a whole day before we really needed to. It felt SO nice to go home, and have the house to ourselves for the evening. I even made Christmas gingerbread cookies (in peace!) and it felt very therapeutic. 

The next day we ventured to a family Christmas party in the afternoon, where I sat on the couch and felt the torture of engorgement and my milk coming in. We took our worn-out, tired kids home that night and went on with our new life as a family of five. Can you tell that Tommy and Scarlet basically had new parents (my Mom and Dad) for the first half of December?!

Anyhow, we are adjusting now, and trying to help Tommy and Scarlet get along with each other and get enough energy out. We adore our little Josie, JJ, Jo Jo girl. Hopefully soon we can start getting more Zzzzzs at night. 

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