Monday, June 27, 2011

Sierra's Birth Story-Through Her Mama's Eyes

My water broke on June 25th at 8:15 am.  It started much the same as Peyton's birth in that I wasn't even sure it was my water breaking, but by afternoon it was very obvious that was the case.  I was keeping in touch with the midwife on call because I had 24 hours to go into labor or we would need to go in for a stress test for baby to make sure she was still tolerating things ok.  Laura, the midwife on call, also asked that we come in at 7:30 pm to be checked to see if my water really broke and to check if any progress had been made even though I wasn't having any contractions.  We determined I hadn't really made any progress since the previous week, but she stripped my membranes again with hopes of triggering contractions.  Whether that worked or they started naturally I woke up around 1:30 am having "real" contractions finally.

After determining I wasn't going to be able to sleep in between contractions because I spent the 10 minutes in between each one anticipating the next (and I don't do contractions well laying down), I decided to get up.  Around 2:30 Zack woke up to me walking around the room.  I labored squatting on a stool for several hours and Zack got me food around 2:30 am because I was ravenous.  I was very pleased at how well I was relaxing through my contractions and felt a lot more in control than I ever did during labor with Peyton.  Around 3 I was really feeling the fatigue of only about 3 hours of sleep and decided to lay down, even if it did slow things down.  It sure did.  My contractions went from between 4 and 6 minutes apart (I never had them consistent in duration or spacing) to about 10 minutes apart again. I would just begin to doze off when one would wake me.  I got up again sometime during the 4 am hour and Zack and I decided by 6 am we wanted to be at the birth center to be safe.  I didn't feel like things were really progressing, mostly because I was handling the contractions so well still.  We decided Sierra was going to be a lot slower coming into this world than Peyton was.

At 5:30 we left for the birth center to meet Tracy at 6 am.  That's when they changed midwives on call.  I was very excited because I really had wanted Tracy to be at Peyton's birth.  I always felt she really could guide me should things get hairy.  As it turned out, I was very glad she was there.  When I got there I was only between 3 and 4 cm dilated, but 90% effaced.  That was the last time we checked.  Zack, Peyton and I went for a walk to try to recover the consistency that we'd lost in the contractions from the car ride and change of scenery.  It worked, I started having them pretty frequently again.  She monitored Sierra's heart beat about every 30 minutes and otherwise marked my progress by changed in the intensity and spacing of my contractions.  It was very obvious that she is really good at what she does.  It was very casual labor.  We'd talk, I'd excuse myself from conversation every once and a while and have a contraction.  At one point Tracy had me take cotton root bark tincture to try and increase the contractions.  It was amazing how fast it did that.  The very next one was much more intense.

Finally I felt like I was ready to get in the water (I hadn't wanted to get in too soon and slow things down).  Tracy was on board so I got in.  It felt wonderful for a brief time and then I hit the transition state.  I asked Tracy if she thought that I was in a place that I could begin pushing.  She said she thought so based on the noises I had made during my previous contraction, it sounded more like I was fighting pushing.  I started to gently push, which initially was a relief, but then things got really intense.  I started to feel like I was going to throw up with each contraction, they got extremely painful, and I felt a strong need to push all at once.  This was my meltdown.  I started crying and was having a really hard time getting ahold of myself.  Tracy and the nurse, Shawn, were awesome, as well as Zack.  They were telling me I was strong and could do it, were giving positioning advice and advice on how to push and noises to make.  Tracy physically helped me get Sierra to descend to crowning when I didn't think I could do it myself.  Once she crowned it only took about two pushed to get her head mostly out.  They tried to hear her heartbeat with the doppler while she was in this position and I was waiting for a contraction and couldn't.  I was feeling a sense of panic, wanting to get her out, but not having the strength to push without a contraction to help.  Finally I felt the surge and with two big pushes and a loud grunt I pushed her out.  I was so much more present in the moment than I had been at Peyton's birth, where everything was a blur.  Sierra came out into the water, I turned over at Tracy's instruction and heard her say the cord was wrapped around Sierra's neck, which it had been with Peyton, but not nearly as tightly.  She lifted her up into my arms and she was blue with really low tone and not trying to take a breath.  Tracy asked the nurse to get the oxygen and took Sierra's pulse, which was down to 80.  I held her while they performed the resuscitation which was amazing.  I was crying, Zack was frozen by the video camera, and the nurse and midwife did their job to perfection, alternating giving her oxygen and checking for a good breath, and I never had to let go of my little girl.  She suddenly started breathing on her own, her tone came back and she immediately turned pink and started screaming at the top of her lungs.  It took less than a minute, but it felt like an eternity.  It was music to my ears.  We were all crying with relief and joy.  My mom and Peyton came in the room (smartly staying out of the room during the commotion) and joined the tear-fest.

We moved to the bed and got to spend time as a family.  They don't cut the cord for about 30-45 minutes to give the baby the chance to soak up as much nutrition from it as possible, so we just ate a snack, talked to my sister on Skype, and hung out as a new family.  Sierra took to nursing within 20 minutes of being born and hasn't stopped since.  She is a nursing fiend.  She became very content after that, not crying again except some whimpering last night when she was hungry.  We left the birth center 4 hours after she was born.  By then my adrenaline/endorphin high was gone and the stress of the day along with the physical exhaustion of giving birth and waking up at 1:30 am were getting to me.  As soon as we got home we all napped and I remembered how hard it is to let go of your newborn and trust that everything will be ok while you sleep.  I ended up sleeping holding her because I couldn't bring myself to put her in her bassinet.

So far everything has been great with her.  She is eating well, sleeping well, pooping and peeing really well and makes the cutest little noises and faces.  She's already lifting her head like her brother did, and although she was more lethargic than he had been after the birth due to the trauma, at 2 am she woke up wide eyed and interested in the world around her.  We love her so much already and so does her big brother, who is actually upset that he can't hold her constantly.  He proudly professes she is "my baby."  So now our family is complete and we couldn't be happier.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Ok, we have a 6 lb. 12 and 1/2 oz, 19 and 1/4" baby girl! Bigger than her big brother was when he made his appearance. She was born at 9:55 am. Mom and baby are still doing great and looking beautiful!

She's here!!

No sooner did I publish the last post than I got a call. Sierra is here!! She's perfect and beautiful with dark hair! Mommy Connie is doing great. I can hear the crying in the background, this kid has some lungs! I'm crying with Maw Maw, Peyton is confused, and Sierra is screaming bloody murder. Happiness!! More to come!

Getting close now.

We're all a bit nervous in watch and wait land, knowing someone we love is in pain and there's nothing we can do. Even Peyton is showing his concern, telling Maw Maw that "mommy crying." Must be hard for the little guy not understanding what's taking place. It's hard for the rest of us KNOWING what's taking place! Poor Maw Maw is even more nervous this birth than the last one. And I get nervous knowing everyone else is nervous so it's one big family ball of nerves! Hopefully it's all over with soon and we can relax and enjoy the miracle of a brand new life wrapped in a mother's arms. But for now....It's Tense!

Tired, but hanging in there...

Good morning again everyone. Since things got started so early this morning I think everyone is feeling a bit tired, especially Mommy Connie. I just got a picture from Zack via the magic of cell phone technology showing Connie has moved into the birthing pool. Peyton is out in the other room playing with Maw Maw and getting a little restless. He had to wake up early and leave the house in his PJs after all! It's a tough life for a 2 year old.

We hope to meet Sierra within the hour I've just been told. Connie is having speedy contractions and is...unhappy in general with the world at the moment. A sure sign of progression! Keep up those positive thoughts and maybe we'll hear the cry of a baby very soon!

Come on, Baby!

Good morning friends and family, Aunt Cathy here again. Looks like it's time for me to take over the blog for a bit because we have some progress! Mom, Dad, and Grandma (or Maw Maw) are at the midwifery and baby Sierra has decided it might be time to make an appearance. Yay!

So far Connie is 4 cm dilated (which, yes, is far from 10, but I'm gonna go with "is better than 2!"). It seems Sierra may decide to progress a bit more slowly than Peyton, but you know it takes girls longer to get ready sometimes so who can blame her. Positive thoughts and prayers are welcome for this special event, so send them this way!

I'll keep you posted as the news comes in to me, so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Update on midwife check

At 7:30 we went to the midwife to "humor her" as she put it, to make sure my water broke.  It has...duh.  We listened to baby Sierra's heart beat which was still strong and steady, checked my blood pressure which was 110/80, my temp is normal and I'm still only dilated and effaced exactly the same as I have been for 3 weeks.  So, since I was there, we had my membranes stripped again, which already seems to be increasing my Braxton Hicks contractions at least.  The plan is tomorrow, if we don't have a baby by then, to go in at 11 am for a stress test on the baby to make sure it's OK to stay pregnant another day.  If I'm not in active labor, we'll start some herbs and make a plan.  I think Sierra is just too comfortable in there.  We drove over every bump on the way home to try and make her less comfortable.  So anyway, we'll update again should things change.  Oh, and we picked our room for the birth, the tent room.  I wanted the log room, where Peyton was born, but they had another mom in there earlier tonight and it may not be cleaned in time.

New Plan

We've got a slightly new plan in place.  In order to give me peace of mind and a good night's sleep if contractions don't start here soon, I'm going over to the midwifery at 7 pm to be checked.  She gave me a choice of 6 or 7, so I chose 7 to give myself time to eat dinner and to hopefully give myself time to go into labor (it's 4:30 right now).  I have no doubt that my water broke after how things have been for the last hour or so, but apparently they do.  Leave it to a healthcare provider to plant the seed of doubt that I know what's going on with my body.  I'll humor them, but there is no doubt in my mind I'm right.

This is it! Finally.

It seems like the day is finally here!  This morning, around 8:15 I noticed my water breaking in much the same manner as it did with Peyton, just a slow leak that I wasn't sure was actually my water breaking.  To confirm, I laid down for 30 minutes and then stood up.  When I felt the surge again, I called the midwife on call (Laura) to tell her what was happening.  I had a feeling last night that today would be the day.  I had a lot of low pelvic pressure and Sierra was extremely active (even more so than normal).  When I talked to Laura she said to call back in a couple of hours to tell her if anything had changed.  I did and nothing had, so we decided on a plan that will go as follows...check my temp every four hours to make sure I'm not showing any sign of infection, call if contractions start, if by tomorrow morning nothing is going on I will go in to have the fluid tested and an ultrasound done to be sure all is still good with Sierra and some sort of herbs will be started to try to start contractions.  I explained to her that with Peyton my water broke at 7 am and I didn't have contractions for more than 8 hours afterwards, so I expect to have a baby today, just not in the next couple of hours.  Since I spoke with her last my "water breaking" has significantly increased, but still no contractions at 1:45 pm.  Right now we're just going about our normal day at home, making sure everything is ready to get in the car as soon as the time is right.  We went for a walk around the block and sat outside while Peyton and his neighbor friend Max played in the kiddie pool.  Now I'm just chillin', trying to make sure I don't expend too much energy to save up for what's to come but also wanting to be up and moving to try and get things going.  I can't wait!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

39 week addendum

Just a little blurb about my appointment yesterday.  There had been no progress since the following week even though all day yesterday I felt exactly like I did the day Peyton was born, having Braxton Hicks contractions like crazy.  I was so sure that they were going to tell me that active labor was going to start soon.  No such luck.  So instead I had my membranes stripped (or swept if you prefer that term) which has led to a whole lot of nothing.  I had some mild cramping yesterday afterwards, but have had a decrease in contractions today.  We walked all over the place this morning and I hardly had any, which is very unusual since a ton of contractions when I was being physically active was why I quit working.  And I've been lightheaded and nauseated again which seems to be blood sugar and heat related.  All I do is eat, eat, eat.  We've got many predictions of a Father's Day baby.  I can only hope at this point that that is true because now I am imagining that I'm going to go overdue and the thought of being pregnant that much longer is not something I wish to entertain.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

39 weeks-Didn't think I'd see this day

So here I am, 39 weeks, one week from my due date.  This time with Peyton I was two weeks away from giving birth and had just stopped working.  With Sierra, I stopped working a week and a half ago and thought she would be born by now from all the signs (and so did both midwives I've seen in the last 2 weeks).  The only thing that is a constant at this point is that I'm extremely tired, am bored out of my head because of stopping working, but know I couldn't physically do it if I tried, am constantly fixated on when she'll decide to make her appearance, and I made my mom come early for nothing (well, not for nothing, she's had a great time with Peyton).  I have tried every wive's tale and natural trick for inducing labor, short of using castor oil, but I am a case study that shows that until the baby is ready, the baby won't come no matter what you do.

Last night was a full moon and I hoped that might trigger labor.  Nope.  Tomorrow I have a midwife appointment where I'll have my membranes stripped, a procedure I had done to try and entice Peyton out, but didn't work for him.  I'm hoping that sometime today contractions will start and I won't have to go to the appointment tomorrow.  It is so hard to be patient at this point when everything my body is doing is indicating she's ready except for actually having active contractions and having labor begin.  She's enormously active, stretching around in her cramped home, my GI system is a wreck, I am having lots of nights like last night where I just can't sleep for no apparent reason, I'm crampy, my low back is achy on and off, and I get nauseated and lightheaded on and off.  I'm so ready to just be sleep deprived.

So I'll continue to be fixated on every little cramp, every Braxton Hicks contraction.  I will continue to do my visual imagery of a smooth, beautiful delivery and the first time I will get to hold her in my arms and nurse our new little life.  I will continue to use some of the natural labor inducing techniques and walk, walk, walk because it makes me feel like I'm doing something.  And mostly, I will continue to let my love grow for our new little one and my family and try to not let frustration get the best of me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

38 weeks, emotional, and ready

I'm really getting tired of overanalyzing every twinge, cramp, and tightness I feel in my body.  I analyze every GI issue, every low back pain, every swollen extremity.  I have felt for a lot of this pregnancy that Sierra would be born early.  I think she's meant to be a Gemini based on all the discomfort she has caused me during this pregnancy so I think she will come before June 20th.  Last Sunday and Monday I was certain I would have a baby by the end of the next weekend.  I was having Braxton Hicks contractions that were really strong and really frequent.  They were so uncomfortable and my mind was so preoccupied by them that I decided to stop working.  Then, they stopped.  Then I had two days of crazy nesting and lots of energy, as well as several other signs that things may be coming to a close that I won't go into details about.   I definitely feel there has been a hormonal shift which is showing itself to my family through my lack of patience for 2 year old antics and tears at the drop of a hat.  I'm ready for Miss Sierra to make an appearance.  I'm mentally (and hopefully physically) prepared for labor and birth and I think it needs to be soon, or I might just go crazy!  I know, I know, I've still got 2 weeks until my due date and Peyton was born a week late, but she's trying to push her way out through other places like my belly button and my side and, by God, it hurts!  I'm pretty sure she's ready too.

So today I had my 38 week check at the midwife.  I decided I really wanted to be checked for dilation since I feel like labor should be soon.  From what I was telling the midwife, she agreed and even said she would strip my membranes if I wanted.  Because Maw Maw (my mom) wasn't going to be here until next Wednesday I said we'll just check, not do anything drastic yet...if I'm still pregnant this time next week, then absolutely.  When she checked, baby Sierra's head is in station zero, meaning she's fully engaged in the pelvis and probably won't drop any lower until labor, my cervix is soft and dilated about 1-2 cm and is mostly effaced, which she stated doesn't matter as much with your second baby, you can go into labor without being fully effaced.  I was thrilled!  All of the sensations I've been feeling have been things progressing.  She said she thinks that labor will be quick once it starts and to expect it soon.  Woohoo!  Another positive to me, I lost 2 pounds in the last week so I'm still under 30 pounds gained.  I'm still not swollen either, so I look much thinner than I did right before Peyton was born.

So on the way home I called my mom and let her know that Sierra might decide to come before she was planning on coming on Wednesday.  After a little bit of agonizing, she decided to change her flight to tomorrow.  So as long as Sierra waits about 24 hours, Maw Maw will be here to watch Peyton and see Sierra's birth.  Yay!

I'm still trying to not get my hopes up too high that it'll happen this weekend, but I certainly hope so.  The last two days my rush of nesting energy has worn off and I'm exhausted.  I can't stop fantasizing about holding little Sierra in my arms.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just testing

Auntie Cathy logging in to see if this works, because little Sierra could come any day and I want to be ready!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

37 weeks and full term!

It's finally here, full term.  This has been an incredibly long 9 months, but this 10th month is flying by.  All of the sudden there is a sense of urgency now that Sierra's presence could be made at any time.  There are still quite a few things on my to do list, but most of them don't necessarily have to be done before she's born, it would just be nice to have done.  I'm going to try and tackle the "have to do's" today.  I only work for one more week from this Sunday with decreased hours and then I will have about a week and a half (if she's born on her due date, which I'm not banking on) to try and relax.  Grandma will be here on the 15th to help out, so I have been asking Miss Sierra daily to just try and hold out until then, and then she's allowed to come whenever she wants...earlier rather than later would be great.

She repositioned herself yesterday, moving her bottom more towards my left side instead of the right like she has been, which caused me all kinds of stomach issues (I'm assuming from all the squirming pushing on my GI tract) and pain yesterday.  I spent the entire evening on self imposed bed rest because the only position I was comfortable in, and I use that term loosely, was in sidelying.  Thank goodness for Toy Story and a well behaved Peyton.  Today feels uncomfortable to bend over, but not painful.  I've been able to be quite productive this morning without any problem.  I've been talking to her a lot lately and hope she knows we are very ready to meet her and already love her very much.

So here's another invite for those of you joining me from the Facebook link to join the blog.  We will be blogging when baby Sierra makes her appearance if all goes as planned.  Just go to the main blog page and hit follow.  That way you'll get email updates when we blog.  I did finally get the blog to sync with my FB, which is why my 34 week post was reposted a couple of days ago, confusing those of you who thought I was further along (I am).  It has quite a bit of delay from writing to publication on FB, so if you want the most current info, join the blog.