Friday, February 11, 2011

Labor....My Side of the Story

I think Ty did a fantastic job of reporting the basics of the labor story, but since this is really my only form of journaling for the present time I would like to present my side of the labor story before I forget it. I'm warning it will be long and may contain information which people, mostly males, may consider too much information, so read on at your own discretion. I threw in some pictures of the handsome devil for those of you who don't read posts without pictures.

Thursday morning I was busy, out and about with the kids. We went to a friend's house, went to story time at the library, and went to Costco, where I ate a slice of combo pizza for lunch. (Does that old wives tale about eating spicy food to start labor actually work? Maybe in my case!) I ran into tons of people I know at the library and Costco and was lamenting the fact that I was still pregnant, even though I was only 38 wks 4 days pregnant. After our Costco run, we came home and miraculously both kids went to sleep at quiet time, and so did I which was a huge blessing in hindsight. I woke up at 3 pm and went to the bathroom. I walked out of the bathroom and felt like I peed a little more. "Hmm, that's odd, I don't usually pee my pants" was my thought process at that point. I went in the bathroom again and tried to empty my bladder again, but the same thing happened again once I left the bathroom. I started thinking that maybe my water had broken, but since it wasn't a huge gush of fluid all at once and both other times I'd had to have it broken in the hospital I wasn't sure.

I grabbed my phone and went upstairs, put on a pad and called Tyler as I was still leaking fluid every few steps and I was pretty sure at that point I definitely wasn't peeing my pants. Of course, he didn't answer and I was starting to freak out because when they broke my water with Luke I delivered him an hour and a half later. Luckily, he saw that I called (he was in a meeting) and texted me to see what was up. "I think my water just broke" was my response. He called about one minute later :) He called the neighbor to come down with the kids and I called his sister to come get the kids from the neighbor and stay with them until my mom came. I grabbed my bags, kissed the kids who had just woken up, and ran out the door. I wasn't feeling any real back pain at that point (that's where I feel contractions) but I was expecting at any minute to start feeling them.

I got to the hospital still pain-free and checked myself in to labor and delivery. The triage nurse took me back, hooked me up to the monitor, asked me what had happened, and took a few swabs to test for amniotic fluid. Tyler got there just after that. She left and was gone for seriously 15 minutes at least, which was when I was getting really concerned that I really HAD just peed my pants. I was going to be so embarrassed if I had to tell everyone that my water hadn't broken, not to mention my mom was already on her way to Portland, etc. The nurse came back and said that she couldn't get a positive test for amniotic fluid off the swabs but my story sounded too good so they would watch me for a while. I said, "Are you sure? I have a whole pad soaked with the stuff." She took a test from the pad I had been wearing and was back about one minute later to say that it definitely was positive for amniotic fluid. Whew!

I still wasn't contracting regularly at that point but they put in the IV, took me to a room, and the midwife came in to see me. Her name was Lindsay and she was fabulous. They got my first dose of antibiotics for GBS going but I was still not really feeling any contractions, so Tyler and I started walking. We decided after the 15th lap of the L&D floor that they need an eliptical machine or treadmill for that unit--the scenery gets old really fast. I was serious about wanting to give Ian and Lydia separate birthdays. The midwife had offered to start pitocin if I really wanted to get him out, but remembering my not-so-fun experience when I had it with Lydia I wasn't wanting to start it right away. We decided if at 10 pm I wasn't pretty close to delivery we'd start the pitocin. After multiple more laps the midwife finally checked to see how dilated I was. I was at 6 cm, which was disappointing to me since with Luke and Lydia I had been contracting pretty regularly with fairly minimal pain and had been at 8 cm both times with them. (If you are a woman who has had children and has a typical labor, please don't hate me because of the previous sentence. I realize my labors are not normal.)

After more walking and bouncing on the birthing ball, and starting the second dose of antibiotics, it was about 9:30 pm and I was realizing that labor was not going to start on its own any time soon. I was baffled because this labor was so different from the previous two. After talking it over with Tyler I decided that we should "get the party started" as I put it and start the pitocin. They started it at 10:30 at a low dose per my request and put me on a telemetry monitor so I could still walk the halls. My mom got there just after they started it I think and we walked for a while. I started to be able to feel when I was having contractions but they weren't bad--I could walk and talk through them. They bumped it up every half hour, and just before midnight we went back into the room. The contractions were getting stronger but not too bad. At that point I was so frustrated that it was taking so long; at the rate I was going I felt like it was going to be several more hours before he was out. I was also feeling bad that we had someone at the house with the kids who had to work the next day, and my mom had been up for a long time and had a long drive and would have to be up with the kids the next day, so I suggested that since it didn't look like things were going anywhere any time soon that she go home. I will forever feel bad that I did that, I'm sorry Mom! She left just after midnight and that's when things started picking up. Quickly. (Ironically, my mom had just been telling her labor story with my youngest brother Aaron and how fast she dilated and was ready to push with him.)

The contractions really started to pick up in intensity and I had Tyler pushing on my low back to give some counter-pressure to the back labor I was having. (That's been his job for every labor and he does it fabulously!) I was reaching the point where I was thinking "this isn't fun, I don't like this, why am I doing this without medication again?" Yes, I know that sounds wimpy. I'd been in real labor for what, 20 minutes or so? I asked to be checked again, thinking I must be really close to pushing because last time when I felt this way it was almost time to push. Lindsay checked and said I was at 7 cm, but the baby was really low now. I about cried when she said the number 7, and then I asked if they could turn off the pitocin. The answer was no, they didn't want my labor to stall. After two or three more contractions I felt like I had to pee, but I couldn't go when I went in the bathroom. With every contraction I felt a lot of pressure. She checked me again and I was at 8-9 cm. They had me lay on my side and I really wanted to push with the next contraction, but she wanted me to pant through them to dilate the rest of the way. I made it through two that way but by the third I said "I have to push now" and just started pushing. I pushed through two contractions on my side (I think) and it felt really awkward so I rolled onto my back. I think it was a total of three or four more contractions with pushing before he came out. Once his head and shoulders were out she had me reach down and pull him up on my chest. It was the best feeling ever, not just the relief of pain/pressure but to have my healthy newborn baby crying on my chest with my handsome husband right beside me. I don't think words can describe the feeling you feel after giving birth! He was born at 12:48 am, and the nurse told me later that they considered my "active" labor to be about one hour and I pushed for 7 minutes. Not too shabby, but at the time it felt like waaaay longer than that! I feel like a sissy compared to others who have long labors and terrible contractions--I definitely won't win any labor story contests but that's okay by me!

(I just had to throw in this picture of Luke, who came up with the outfit all by himself and asked me to take a picture. This will be Ian's role model...should I be worried? Another side note--Ian was 9 days early, and so was Luke. He shares the same birthday with one sibling and same gestational age as another. Odd but true.)

All in all I feel really good compared to the aftermath of the other two births. Ian is a really laid-back baby so far, and besides a little bout of jaundice (par for the course for my kids) he is doing great. We love having him in our family. Lydia and Luke love him too, and love to hear his baby noises and his hiccups especially. We feel so blessed to have three beautiful kids and to have had so much help from family. Grandma Shannon was here for a week taking care of us like only a mom can do, and Grandpa Dave is here now for the weekend playing with the kiddos and rocking the baby to sleep. Grandma Shirlene will be here next week and we're excited to see her. In the words of a Primary song we sang for FHE this week, "we are a happy family!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Now We're Five!

Ok, perhaps this is a bit more exciting news than the destroying of a snowman. Yes - it definitely is. Ian Tyler Stoddard was born just after midnight Friday 2/4/11. The stats: 8 lbs. 15 oz., 21.25 in., 3 in. biceps, 12 in. waist, blond hair/blue eyes ... ok, ok, no hair/brown eyes.

It was a pretty exciting start to labor before things settled down. I was in a meeting at work when I got the text that said, "My water just broke, I think." :) I showed it to my boss, who was sitting next to me, and told everyone I'm out! as I hustled back to my desk. I hadn't really planned ahead since we were a week and a half from the due date and had ridden my bike to work. Nice. Ashley was handing the kids off to our neighbor then driving herself to the hospital while I was peddling as fast as I could to meet her there.

She got there just before I did, and I found her in the triage room. She looked concerned. She said the contractions weren't really consistent yet and so she thought maybe her water really hadn't broken. Fortunately, the nurse ran a test that confirmed it was amniotic fluid. Whew. She was checked into her room and then we started walking the halls. Because the contractions weren't consistent she wasn't in much pain or discomfort yet (she can amend this later if she disagrees). All the nurses were very impressed with how fast and how much she was walking. I estimated that we walked a few miles in total. My feet were getting sore, but that's not really very manly to tell my full-term wife that I may need a break because my feet are sore. I tucked my skirt in and kept walking.

Ashley was hoping to get him out before midnight so he'd have his own birthday. But Lydia was hoping he'd wait so she could share her birthday with him. She said it'd be the best present ever! (I'm sure you can picture her tone and expression when she said it.) In the end, the birthday wish of a four year-old carried more weight. We were told that active labor lasted a little over an hour and she pushed for a whoppin' seven minutes (I'm sure it seemed longer for her) before Ian joined us in the outside world. It was just as beautiful as it was when Lydia and Luke were born! Ashley reached down and grabbed him and put him on her chest. He cried for a little bit and took a peek with his left eye to see the world around him. Both mom and baby are happy and healthy. Lydia and Luke are both excited to have a new baby brother, too. Enjoy a few photos and videos.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Death of a Snowman

This took a little longer to produce than I had hoped but here it is. The fitting end to Mr. The Snow Man referenced earlier that we made at Christmas time. Good times.