Friday, June 19, 2015

Collin's Birth Story

For most of my pregnancy, when asked my due date, I'd say "June 4, but he'll most likely be born in late May."  Specifically, I thought he'd be born sometime between May 21 and May 28.

 I had a cerclage placed when I was 10 weeks pregnant to hopefully prevent preterm labor and to prevent the necessity of bed rest. I had the exact same procedure done when I was pregnant with Bennett because of the combined 20 weeks of bed rest I endured while pregnant with Reid and Camille.  With Bennett, once the cerclage was removed at 37.5 weeks, he was born exactly one week later.  

The cerclage removal was scheduled for May 21 which was a Thursday, and Brian and I treated that as our deadline for being "ready" to have a 4th kid (ha!). After the surgical procedure, the doctor said I was 3 cm dilated, and we joked about possibly having a baby over Memorial Day weekend.  The weekend came and went with only sporadic contractions.  On Wednesday night (almost a week out), I began to think there was a very real possibility that I might be in the early stages of labor.  By about 10 pm I was having contractions every 5 minutes that lasted a minute, but they just never felt quite strong enough for me to justify calling the doctor.  I decided to go to bed figuring that if I was having a baby, surely I'd wake up and know.  I woke up about 5 hours later to go to the bathroom and realized I wasn't feeling a single contraction.

The next morning, I went for my 39 week OB appointment.  I was still 3 cm dilated.  We discussed the options: 1) keep waiting 2) schedule a "pseduo" induction which would just be breaking my water because I can't have pitocin or other labor-augmenting drugs due to having had a previous c-section 3) schedule a c-section.  We decided to keep waiting.  

Friday, May 29 was eventful.  I had been contracting off and on all day, and I also had a headache that was getting worse by the evening.  I finally decided to go to bed in hopes that it was a migraine and it would dissipate with sleep.  I took Tylenol and went to sleep around 9 pm, but I kept waking up with a throbbing headache.  By 1:00am I was getting a little worried about the headache being blood pressure related (even thought my BP had been perfect throughout the pregnancy).  I knew if I called the doctor on call, they'd likely have me come in.  I decided to call my dad and see if I could borrow his blood pressure machine, just to get a reading at home.  My sweet dad came over around 2:00am, and we took my BP several times over half an hour.  We kept getting readings in the 140s/90s range (and even one in the 150s/100s).  This was concerning for me since I'm typically a 120/80 kind of girl.  

So, defeated, I called the on-call doctor.  Of course, they told me to come in to Labor and Delivery triage, and the doctor said if my BP remained high then they would likely deliver the baby. My parents stayed with the kids, we went into triage, and wouldn't you know, my very first BP reading was 116/78, AND my headache had started to go away.  My blood pressure readings over the next couple of hours were all perfect.  The theories about this are that the headache was causing elevated blood pressure at home, the readings at home were taken sitting up whereas the readings in L&D were taken with me on my left side, or that the home monitor was really off (but my dad usually gets very similar readings to what his doctor gets).  In any case, I was very relieved to be able to go back home around 5am Saturday.  

The next several days were a never-ending monotony of extreme discomfort and contractions that never seemed to go anywhere.  I went to the OB on June 2 for my (almost) 40 week appointment.  I was dilated to 4 cm (so at least a little progress!) and almost fully effaced. I also had an ultrasound that showed a big, healthy baby who was unfortunately in the "sunny-side up"/posterior position.  This position can make if difficult for labor to start and make for difficult and extra-painful labor and delivery.  My OB was willing to do the "pseudo" induction/ breaking of water at any time, and it was SO tempting to schedule it for the next morning.  However, after talking with my experienced doula, she encouraged us to keep waiting and to go to the chiropractor and try some positioning exercises to get the baby into optimal position.  

That day, I decided just to settle in for the long haul and not schedule any induction.  I made plans for the next few days like I wasn't going to have a baby at any moment.  I made it to Reid's end-of-kindergarten awards and even his last day of school party on Friday, June 5.  I couldn't believe school was out, and I hadn't had this baby yet!  We spent Friday afternoon over at my parent's house playing with my sister's kids.  I spent the afternoon sitting on an exercise ball trying to bounce the baby out.  Friday night, I felt extra tired, and as soon as the kids were in bed, around 8 pm,  I crawled in bed and slept for the rest of the night.  

Saturday, June 6, Reid had a soccer game at 10am, and we planned to go over to Brian's parents' house later that afternoon to swim and eat dinner.  I woke up around 6:45 that morning and decided to take a hot epsom salt bath because I was achy and crampy. I told Brian I really wasn't sure I wanted to go to the soccer game because I was just huge, and pregnant and achy, and it was supposed to be very hot and humid.  We debated about Bennett staying home with me so Brian wouldn't have to wrangle all the kids at the soccer field.  When I realized that Brian's mom was going to the game, we decided Brian would take all the kids (thank goodness!).  I helped get everyone ready, and they left the house around 9:45.  

I started some laundry and picked up the house a little bit then I decided to take advantage of the completely quiet house to rest.  I curled up in bed with my giant pregnancy pillow, and turned the TV on.  We don't have cable, and the only thing on was a re-run of Criminal Minds.  After resting for a minute, I realized I was contracting again.  No big deal except that this contraction felt lower and more crampy than before.  About 6 minutes later, it happened again.  I just knew these contractions were "real".  By 10:30 am, I called Brian at the soccer game to tell him I was having regular contractions 5-6 minutes apart that felt more real than the previous ones, but that there was no need to rush home.  

I got out of bed and walked around the house for a few minutes, and the contractions continued.  I decided to go ahead and fix my hair and put on make-up in case we were going in to the hospital soon.  The contractions continued and were somewhat painful.  I also contacted my doula to let her know what was going on.  She suggested I take a bath to see if that slowed things down at all so I did.  In the bath, I was timing contractions and they were every 3 minutes and hurting more.  By this time it somewhere between 11:15 and 11:30, and I still hadn't heard from Brian.  I called him, and he said they were just leaving the soccer field.  I told him to ask his mom to come back to our house to watch the kids because I was pretty positive this was the real thing.

I was about to call my parents, who were planning to be at the hospital for the birth, when my mom called me.  It turns out, they had been at Reid's soccer game too, and they were fully aware of the situation.  I told them we'd probably be going into the hospital within the next 2 hours.  I also realized that I was suddenly starving, and I asked my parents to stop and pick up something for lunch for me (random!).  

By 11:45, I heard Brian and the kids arrive back home, and I had just called the on-call OB and left a message with the answering service.  The contractions were getting closer and stronger.  I knew I needed to get out of the bath and get dressed for the hospital, but I REALLY didn't want to.  I slowly made my way out of the tub, the OB called back at noon and I was having such a strong contraction I could barely talk to her.  She told me to come right in.  

The next half hour is a blur--I was back in our bedroom with the doors closed, but I was vaguely aware that  the kids, my mother-in-law and my parents were all at the house.  Brian was packing up the car, and I was trying to give him instructions on last-minute additions.  My parents had my food, but by that point I was nauseated and shaking and did not want to eat anything.  I was trying to get dressed, but each time I stood up, I seemed to have a stronger contraction.  I finally got dressed, and crawled onto my bed.  

I told Brian that I couldn't see the kids and tell them bye because the contractions were so strong and close together and painful that I was afraid I would upset them.  The problem was, I needed to walk through the house to get to the garage and to the car.  Brian came up with the plan for me to go through our bedroom door onto our patio, through the backyard and into the driveway.  He even closed the shutters in the family room so the kids wouldn't see my getaway :-)  

The hospital is about 20 miles from our house, and I was so thankful that it was a Saturday afternoon with light traffic.  That car ride was intense.  When I had Bennett, I made it to about 8 cm without an epidural so I know what strong contractions feel like.  Somewhere between home and the hospital, the contractions completely surpassed anything I had ever felt before.  We made it to the parking garage right outside of Labor and Delivery, but the contractions were so strong and painful I thought I wasn't going to be able to walk in.  I waited through a couple more contractions leaning halfway in and halfway out of Brian's car then found the strength to walk in.  

Thank goodness, the admissions people didn't make me sit in the little cubicle and take all of my information and sign multiple forms.  I think she asked Brian a couple of questions and immediately called a nurse to take me back.  I was kneeling on the floor with my head on a chair when the nurse came out, and she waited until that contraction was over before helping me walk to a labor and delivery room. I remember hearing another nurse ask her if she was going to take me to triage, and she replied that I was drenched in sweat and kneeling on the floor so she figured she probably ought to take me straight to a room.  

My beloved OB who had delivered the other 3 kids was out of town that weekend, so Dr. Tara Dullye was on call for him.  I had met her several times, and she actually assisted on my c-section with Reid so I was comfortable with her, and honestly, at this point, I did not care who delivered this baby!

Dr. Dullye was already at the hospital when I arrived, and as soon as I was able to crawl onto the hospital bed she checked my cervix—9 centimeters!  You would think this was awesome news, but in reality it kind of scared me.  Yes, this was my 4th kid, but the first was a scheduled c-section, the second was a VBAC with an epidural around 6-7 cm and the third was a VBAC with an epidural around 8 cm.  I had planned all along with this pregnancy to go totally natural.  I had hired an expert doula (birth attendant/coach) to help me through the process this time.  (Shout out to Melissa Espey-Mueller with North Dallas Doula Associates—she’s so knowledgeable and good!).  However, the doula hadn’t arrived yet, and I was honestly just scared of the pain and scared of the thought of doing this all by myself. 

The doula arrived about 10 minutes after we did, but truly everything was a blur by that point.  The back of the hospital bed was elevated, and I was on my knees leaning over the back of the bed. It was the only position that seemed remotely “doable” at that point.  I had thrown up a few times, and the nurses were trying to start an IV access which is hospital policy since I had previously had a c-section.  They also had to have me on continuous fetal monitoring so they were trying to get that set up even though it was difficult with the position I was in. 

The contractions.  Oh. My. Stars. The contractions.  I was having major back labor, and I just felt like my hips and lower back were going to explode with each one.  Brian and the doula were doing hip compressions with each contraction, and in my mind, they were the ones causing the excruciating pain.  At one point, I yelled for them to stop then immediately realized that the pain was MUCH worse without the compressions!  I wasn’t screaming, but I was sweating, shaking, and crying.  I know it’s shocking that I wasn’t a zen earth mama laboring goddess ;-)  I believe the only “mantras” that I was chanting were “no, no, no!”, “ please make it stop”, “I can’t do this”, and “Oh God! Please help”.

My water had not yet broken, and the OB and the doula both kept encouraging me to let the doctor break my water to speed up the end of labor.  I understood their point, but I knew I’d have to roll onto my back for her to break my water, and the thought of that just seemed impossible at that point.  After a few more contractions, I think I agreed, and somehow got on my back.  She broke my water, and I was 10 centimeters dilated and fully effaced.  Unfortunately, there was also meconium present in my amniotic fluid (just like with Bennett) so they started calling down a NICU team to be present for delivery for suctioning.  

It seemed like once my water broke everyone thought the baby would be born in a matter of minutes.  The whole room was set up, the doctor was in her gown, and the NICU team was ready.  However, in spite of continuing contractions, I felt no urge to push.  This went on for at least 45 minutes, and the doctor and doula believed that the baby was probably still sunny-side up, or at least partially rotated, which is why he wasn’t coming out.  During this 45 minutes, I upped my “crazy laboring lady” game by repeatedly BEGGING the OB for narcotics.  I knew it was too late for an epidural, but I had that IV access started already, and I just kept thinking that if she gave me something…ANYTHING to take the edge off then I might survive.  Dr. Dullye would sweetly tell me that it was too late and that giving me narcotics that close to delivery would be bad for the baby and leave him “stunned” and possibly struggling at birth.  In all my maternal glory, all I could think in response to that was, “I don’t care.  They have a NICU upstairs.” It’s terrible! Definitely not my finest moment!  But alas, no narcotics were administered. 

The doula suggested moving me onto my side with one leg in a stirrup to try to get the baby into position to push.  Her knowledge really was invaluable at this point.  I, of course, was resistant, because I just didn’t want to move again.  I did though, and around this time, the doctor stepped out of the room for a minute.  The doula had told me at some point that pushing would make me feel better—that I could “push away the pain of the contraction”.  I suddenly felt the slightest urge to push along with a very strong and painful contraction.  I was so fearful of pushing for some reason, but I just grabbed on to that idea of pushing making the contraction go away, and I started pushing with everything I had.  I was told I pushed twice, but I don’t remember ever stopping pushing once I started.  Once I felt the burn of pushing I just wanted the baby out that instant. 

The doctor wasn’t in the room, the nurse started paging her, and she ran in scrubs without her gown on and couldn’t find another one.  She realized there was no time to find another gown, and she caught the baby just as he came out.  I looked down for a moment and saw him coming out, but the doctor immediately cut the cord and handed him off to the NICU team for suctioning. 

For the first 2-3 minutes, all I could do was cry—I almost felt like I was in shock at what my body had just endured.  I would also ask if the baby was okay.  Even though his first APGAR was a 3, he was quickly pink and they told me his heart rate and breathing were fine.  He finally made one tiny cry, and I knew he was okay.  I finally got to hold my sweet Collin. 

The official stats:
June 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm
8 pounds 7 ounces (our biggest baby by 5 ounces)
20 ¼ inches

4 hours and 32 minutes from first real contraction to delivery

In conclusion, the first words out of my mouth regarding natural childbirth after pushing Collin out were “I can’t believe I just did that.  That was the dumbest decision of my life!”  However, I also know that I would have been SO disappointed in myself if I had not followed through with my natural childbirth plan.  I won’t say natural childbirth is for everyone, and if I was having a 5th kid (WHICH I AM NOT. EVER.), I really would have to think long and hard about whether I wanted another natural childbirth or not.  It was painful, it was scary, it was stressful, but it was also empowering.  I liken it to running a marathon (another thing I’ll never do).  I did it, it was insanely difficult, I never want to do it again, and I want a sticker for the back of my car J.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bennett's Birth Story: Part 2

SO, it's 7 am on Thanksgiving morning and my contractions are 3 minutes apart.  I calmly called to Brian who was sleeping soundly in our room.  He stumbled into the bathroom, and I told him that I really thought I was in labor, and that he needed to call my parents to come over and watch the big kids. Brian called my mom and told her Happy Birthday (yes, Bennett was born on my mom's birthday!) and Happy Thanksgiving. She told him to cut the chit-chat and tell her if I was in labor.

I also figured I should call my doctor's office just to make sure I should come in. I had to call and leave a message with the answering service.  While I waited for them to call back, I decided to attend to truly important details.  You see, when Camille was born, my water broke at home and I went into immediate hard labor.  I was so stressed that I didn't stop to shower or put on make-up.  I vowed that regardless of the circumstances, I would be wearing make-up when I delivered my 3rd child.  It's important! So, I had Brian bring me my make-up bag in the bathtub.  The contractions were getting increasingly strong and painful, and I did not want to get out of my warm bath!  When Dr. Fogwell called me back (he was the doctor on call on Thanksgiving, thank goodness!), he confirmed that I needed to come in right away.

By 7:30, I was dressed, I had make-up on, and I walked out into the living room and was greeted by my parents, Brian, Brian's friend Noel and Reid.  I was trying to grab a few last-minute things for my hospital bag.  I was walking around normally and then a contraction would hit and I'd end up on all fours on the floor breathing and rocking back and forth.  The pain was getting VERY intense by this point.  I'm pretty sure that my dad and Noel were tremendously disturbed by this.  I kissed Reid good-bye, decided it was best not to wake Camille, and Brian and I got on the road (after he covered my seat in a waterproof outdoor blanket in case my water broke).

As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I started throwing up.  I threw up a lot while in labor with Camille so it wasn't totally surprising, but it made for a miserable car ride.  Brian and I were SO thankful it was Thanksgiving morning at this point because we live almost 20 miles from the hospital that I was delivering at, and on a typical weekday morning we would have been driving in rush hour traffic.  It could easily have taken more than an hour, but there was no one on the roads, and we made it in just over 20 minutes.  I had to survive the dreaded admissions process while in labor.  I literally could not sit up in the chair in the little cubicle to fill out all the forms so I ended up kneeling on the floor and leaning with my head on the chair while Brian did the majority of the paperwork.  Finally, a little after 8:30, we made it to L&D Room 11.

At this point I met our L&D nurse Mary--she was a great match for me--nice, compassionate, witty and sarcastic.  She was not a perky cheerleader type, thank heavens!  My perfect, Plan A birth plan was to have a non-medicated birth with as little intervention as possible.  To recap, Reid was a c-section because he was breech.  Camille was a VBAC, and I had an epidural around 6 cm then pushed for 3 very painful hours during which I seriously doubted my epidural was functioning as I could move freely and was in lots of pain.  By the time I was I was checked in L&D, I was 5 cm dilated.  Because I had previously had a c-section, I was required to be on continuous electronic fetal monitoring and to at least have IV access started.

What I remember about this period of time is that I was in bed, with the monitors on and having lots of very painful contractions.  I was trying to stay relaxed, and I was breathing through contractions.  I would ask Brian to put pressure on my lower back during contractions only to discover that his touch was causing more intense pain.  I just could not figure out how to manage the intensity of the contractions.  The nurse had a lot of difficulty starting my IV--after an unsuccessful attempt she called in the charge nurse.  It took at least half an hour to get IV access, and all the while the contractions and nausea kept coming.

Honestly, from the time we were in the car on the way to the hospital, all I could think about was the feeling of sweet relief that washed over me when I had my epidural with Camille.  During all the IV drama, all I could think about was--"you don't have to feel this pain--just get the epidural and the pain will all melt away". I hadn't voiced these thoughts at all to anyone so I think they were pretty surprised when they finally got IV access but were about to do a saline lock since the IV didn't need to be used if I wasn't getting an epidural.  I waited until I was not contracting, and calmly said, "I'm not having a contraction right now, I'm not panicking, but I want the epidural.  I've decided I just don't want to feel the pain anymore, and all I can think about is how good the epidural will feel."  At this point, it was sometime after 10 am, and I believe I was close to 8 cm.

I got the epidural, and it was awesome!  A very small part of me regrets getting it because I wonder if I could have done it on my own, but most of me is just thankful for medicine!  Dr. Fogwell came in right after my epidural was placed and checked me (I was 8.5 cm and almost fully effaced), and he broke my water.  As soon as my water broke, Dr. Fogwell told me that there was a slight problem.  Apparently, my amniotic fluid revealed some serious meconium staining (basically, Bennett had already pooped in the womb.  This was dangerous because there was a possibility that he could aspirate the meconium after he was born and started breathing on his own.  This could lead to pneumonia and all sorts of yucky complications.) The doctor told me that it was protocol to have a NICU team present in my L&D room during delivery so that they could immediately evaluate the baby and thoroughly suction him.

The sad news was, this meant that when the baby was born, he would immediately be taken from me (but kept in the room as long as he was okay).  I was a little sad but mainly just concerned about the baby's health. 

The next couple of hours seemed to pass quickly to me because I was feeling good.  Brian watched a little Thanksgiving day football.  We chatted with Allison Duckworth, our birth photographer.  I realized that I had caused everyone to miss Thanksgiving dinner--Brian's mom had been about to put the turkey in the oven when Brian called to say I was in labor.  They decided to postpone the meal and headed to the hospital.  By the time I had my epidural and felt like talking, I realized that Steve and Connie (Brian's parents) and Matt, Cat and Teegan (Brian's brother, sister-in-law, and niece) were all in the waiting room eating the hospital cafeteria version of a turkey dinner.  My parents were back at our house with our kiddos.

By 1:15 pm I was dilated to 10 cm and ready to push.   Brian still had football on, and I remember the TV was directly in my line of site, and all I could see was Kid Rock performing the halftime show.  I told him to turn off the TV because the last thing I wanted was the image of Kid Rock in my mind when I gave birth to our child :-)  By this time, my doctor was having the nurse call the NICU team fairly urgently because although I hadn't started pushing, he indicated that this baby was going to be born SOON.  After the 3 hours of pushing with Camille, I was SO thrilled that I only pushed 3.5 times and out came Bennett James McFarland at 1:28 pm weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce.

Dr. Fogwell suctioned him a lot right away then cut the umbilical cord and handed him to the NICU team. He cried a tiny bit which was such a relief to me! The poor baby was green because he was so covered in poop.  It was in his hair and his eyelashes.  The umbilical cord stump was bright green.  The NICU team suctioned him vigorously, and he started getting a bit pinker and wiggling around.  After about 5 minutes of suctioning and monitoring, the nurses indicated that overall he looked pretty good but that his breathing was much too rapid (normal respiratory rate in a newborn is 40-60 breaths per minute, and Bennett was breathing about 120 times per minute).  He was also using a lot of accessory muscles to breathe.  These factors caused enough concern that the NICU nurses wanted to transfer him up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to to be evaluated.  So, they handed me my bundled up baby for less than a minute and I gazed at his sweet face.  I immediately saw that he looked SO much like his big brother Reid.  I kissed his little button nose, and away he went to the NICU with Brian walking next to his little hospital bed.


Bennett's Birth Story: Part 1

Yes, there are parts to this story. I am a very detail-oriented person, and I'm writing this story for myself and for my family to remember the time surrounding Bennett's birth.  So pardon the lengthy and detailed account.  Our birth story isn't a quick one...  And, yes, it is a birth story so I may refer to things like dilation and placentas...maybe ;-)  

 I had a Shirodkar cerclage placed at 11 weeks of pregnancy to hopefully keep me off of bed rest this time around.  It worked perfectly!  The only issue was, it had to be removed before the baby was born (unless I had a c-section, in which case they could have left it in permanently--weird!).  I was scheduled to have the cerclage removed on November 15 which put me at 37.5 weeks pregnant.  My awesome OB told us that once the cerclage was out, there was a small chance I would immediately go into labor OR I could continue on to full term.  I love a concrete plan ;-)  In any case, Brian and I had been treating the 15th as our deadline for getting everything ready.  I wanted to make sure bags were packed, arrangements were made for the big kids, and, hopefully the nursery was finished.  

On the 15th, Brian and I went to Reid's Thanksgiving parade and feast at his preschool then Brian accompanied me to my doctor's appointment and procedure "just in case". After the procedure was complete the doctor said, I think you may have a baby by this weekend (it was Thursday). I wasn't dilated but I was 50% effaced.  I didn't feel like I was in labor or anything so home we went.

We spent the weekend waiting, being productive and spending quality family time.  With my parent's help, I took the kids to a play date with the Loyds at Chick Fil A on Friday.  Friday night we hit Ikea as a family for a finishing touch for the nursery.  Saturday morning we went to breakfast at Cafe Brazil with the kids and then played at Central Market's playground. Saturday evening we hit Lowe's and Starbucks as a family. Sunday I waddled around and did my church nursery coordinator job, we went to church and we had lunch with Brian's parents at Jason's Deli after church. After lunch, I got some good quality time with Reid. We went to Target to get him a new hat and mittens then to Tom Thumb for some grocery shopping.  That evening we went to our church small group's Thanksgiving celebration.  I was on my feet all day long.  You'd think it would be enough to get labor started!  Sunday night, while I was putting Camille in bed, I started having regular contractions for a couple of hours, and then they stopped.  Basically, as long as I was sitting up, or on my feet, contractions were happening regularly. Then, when I was able to spend time lying down, they would dissipate.

This same pattern of contractions starting and stopping occurred ALL day Monday.  Brian worked from home for part of the day, my parents came over and kept the kids occupied, everyone watched me.  Nothing happened.

Tuesday Brian stayed at home long enough to help me and the kids get ready and in the car, then I took the kids to his parents house and went to my regularly scheduled doctor's appointment for that week.  Driving myself to the doctor's appointment, I started contracting so much that I was sure I was going to end up in "real" labor.  I was calculating how long it would take for Brian to meet me at the hospital and kicking myself for not having brought my hospital bag in the car with me.  I saw the doctor, and he said I was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. By that time, contractions had died down again, and the doctor didn't feel I was in active labor since the contractions kept stalling out.  So, home I went to rest and relax.  That night, after Brian asked me what the plan was for dinner, and I almost hit him, we ended up taking the kids to Chick Fil A so they could eat and burn some energy.  That night the contractions and cramping were so intense that I told Brian at one point that I wasn't sure we were going to make it through the night without going to the hospital. Alas, things died down, and we made it through the night.

By Wednesday, I had decided that none of these contractions meant anything, and that this baby would probably arrive after his due date just like his sister.  The issue I was having is that it was nearly impossible to go about daily life.  The contractions I was having weren't exactly painful, but they were very uncomfortable and made it difficult to physically care for a 2 year old and 3 year old. I felt like I was so close to giving birth, but I kept reminding myself that I was only 38 weeks pregnant and that I could still stay pregnant for another 2-3 weeks. The thought terrified me because I was just SO uncomfortable.

 Brian was taking Wednesday off since it was the day before Thanksgiving, and we made plans to meet my parents at a park near our houses to have a picnic, let the kids play and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.  We had tons of fun, and I spent time swinging on the swing set with the kids--trying to convince the baby to fly out or something. We finalized our plans for Thanksgiving dinner since by this point it seemed I'd actually make it to celebrate Turkey Day with our families. 

Wednesday night, we randomly had company.  Brian's best friend from high school, Noel, was passing through town on his way to a BMX competition in Tulsa. We teased him  that I would go into labor that night and he'd have to take care of this kids for us while we went to the hospital.  He got to sleep in the freshly finished nursery/guest bed room.  We had Chipotle take-out for dinner, the kids watched Cars 2, we read books as a family of 4 up in Camille's room and tucked the kids into bed.  By this time, it was about 8:30 pm, I was exhausted and still contracting, so I was the world's worst hostess and excused myself and went and crawled into bed. 

I slept fairly well until about 4:30 or 5:00 am.  At that point, I woke up and realized I was very crampy.  Reid woke up crying, and Brian went up to put him back in bed, and when he came back, I think I told him again that I thought I might be getting closer to real labor.  He went back to sleep :-)  I started realizing that the "cramps" were occurring at regular intervals, but they weren't overly painful.  Between 6:15-6:30 am on Thanksgiving morning, I started to suspect that these were "real" contractions. I got out of bed and took a warm bath and started timing my contractions.  After a few minutes, I realized that my contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute.  They were definitely getting stronger and more painful! So 3 1/2 days after semi-regular contractions began, I was pretty sure I was finally in active labor!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

One week (and two days) old.

Precious Bennett,

Today is Saturday, December 1, 2012, and you are one week and two days old.  I wanted to continue on with my tradition of writing my babies a letter on the day they turned one week old, but I missed the mark by a couple of days.  My sweet boy, I'm afraid that this may be the first of many times that your mommy isn't quite as on top of things as she was with your siblings, but make no mistake--we adore you, and you are a treasured member of our family. 

From the moment I happily discovered I was pregnant with you, your daddy and I knew you would be a game-changer.  As crazy as our lives were with your siblings, we were about to add a newborn to the mix.  However, we were excited from day one--we couldn't wait to find out what you would be and who you would be!  We were so curious to see how Reid and Camille would react to finding out you were on the way and to welcoming you into their world. 

I felt like you were going to be a boy from the very beginning.  My pregnancy seemed so similar to when I was pregnant with Reid.  As tiring and difficult as it could be to take care of your siblings while being pregnant, I truly treasured being pregnant with you.  I loved my doctor's appointments and getting to see you grown on ultrasound.  I loved feeling you start to move, and daddy was so excited the first time he felt you as our whole family lounged in bed watching cartoons in the mountains of Colorado in July.  I felt like nighttime was my special time with you--I'd snuggle into bed and feel you kick, punch and roll until I fell asleep.  You were always moving!  If I woke in the night, it wasn't long before I'd feel you wriggling around inside of me.  Reid loved putting his hand on my belly to see if he could feel you kick, and he'd giggle and smile ear-to-ear each time he felt you. 

We have loved preparing your brother and sister for your arrival.  They were so excited to read books about babies and being an older sibling.  We've been reading them for months!  Every time Camille sees an ultrasound picture she would show it to everyone exclaiming, "Baby brother!".  They loved "helping" us get your nursery ready, and Reid was convinced you should sleep there on your first night home.  

When Mommy and Daddy joyfully welcomed you into the world at 1:28 pm on November 22, 2012, you were instantly a part of our family.  We couldn't imagine our lives without you.  Looking at you is just like looking at your big brother when he was a newborn--except your hair is darker.  We know you will have your own sweet and special personality to contribute, and we can't wait to watch it develop.

Watching your brother and sister meet you for the first time was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  They were instantly drawn to you and wanted to examine every detail of your face, hair, feet and hands.  (Your big brother is also quite intrigued by your umbilical cord stump :-) )  Hearing Reid whispering your name while patting your hair made me tear up.  And Camille--she LOVES you with her whole heart and sometimes in an aggressive fashion.  She mostly calls you "Baby" so far, but from the moment she wakes up in the morning she wants to know where "Baby" is and what "Baby" is doing and if "Baby" is okay.  Reid and Camille were watching out the front windows when we brought you home from the hospital.  As soon as the car pulled up, they came bursting out the front door with blue balloons in hand.  Reid was shouting, "Yippee, hurray!" over and over.  They were so excited their baby was home.

Life right now may be a little chaotic, but without a doubt, you are one loved little boy. You are adored by your immediate family, 4 grandparents, 3 great-grandparents, and LOTS of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.   Your daddy and I are so happy that God has entrusted us with such a precious gift, and we can't wait to see the plans He has in store for you. 


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our Beautiful, Insane Life

The last month has been absolutely insane. Reid was high-maintenance as a baby--always wanted to be held, fought sleep, fussy in the evenings, not a great sleeper at night, etc... I was so very hopeful that Camille was going to be the "easy" baby. You know...the one who is always content, rarely cries, sleeps in their bassinet angelically.

Lets just say that Reid and Camille may not look a whole lot alike right now, but they share similar personalities. Sweet Jesus, help me! Camille is not a bad baby. She's not colicky. She does not cry for hours on end. She simply thinks that she needs to be in my arms ALL THE TIME. She can be sound asleep in my arms but as soon as I put her down she wakes up. Crying. She sleeps for 3-4 hours at a time at long as I hold her or snuggle her next to me in bed. She would also like to eat 24-7. She will ride in the Ergo carrier strapped to the front of me which is how I prepare Reid's food, clean the kitchen, do laundry, etc... And the last week or so she is finally letting me put her on her play mat or in her swing for brief intervals.

Add to the newborn insanity Hurricane Reid. That child never stops. He is such a great kid. He is smart, he's adorable, and he plays well by himself and with others. However, he is throwing some horrendous tantrums lately. I'm talking tantrums with every diaper change, almost every time he goes in his car seat, sometimes when he goes in his booster seat to eat and frequently when he is told "no". And these tantrums are kicking, screaming, back-arching, body-throwing, bang-your-head-into-the-back-of-the-chair performances every blasted time. This is easily my least favorite part of parenting thus far.

So, yes, life is insane. Yet there are so many precious moments during each day: Camille snuggled on my tiny and innocent, Reid's adorable little voice chattering away, Reid bringing Camille a pacifier or covering her with a blanket, Camille smiling at me, Reid learning to do something new. The list goes on and on. It always seems that when I've reached the absolute end of my patience, one of them does something to soften my heart and remind me that this is such a sweet and fleeting time in our lives. As crazy as it seems now, I know that one day I will miss this craziness.

And now, pictures!

Reid and BeBe playing with is new police car. (Have a mentioned that the help of both sides of our family has been a lifesaver?!)

Camille at one week old.

Such a big boy!

Snuggling with my sweetie.

Reid loving on his baby sister. He's such a great brother!

Playing on her play mat.

First real bath. Her cord stump took 4 weeks to fall off!

My pretty girl.

And the official one month old chair picture. Reid let her borrow his teddy bear.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Professional Picture Gallery

Here is the link for the online photo gallery of Camille's newborn photo shoot. The password is "reid". Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pictures of Camille

This picture was taken about 10 minutes after my water broke. We are walking out the door to go to the hospital. I may be having a contraction which would explain the forced smile. Our last picture as a family of three...

And poof! Ten hours later, the baby magically appears.

This picture was taken around 2:30 a.m. when my parents could finally come back and see us. I'm impressed they hung in there--they are NOT middle-of-the-night party people. Come to think of it, neither am I.

When Reid was born and taken to the nursery for his first bath both sets of grandparents and my sister stayed outside the window to watch his first bath. When we dropped off Camille at the nursery for her bath it was 3:30 a.m. No one was at the hospital with us. We were exhausted. This is the one picture that was taken before Brian and I left our sweet girl in the nursery. Let the younger sibling complex begin! (She was back in my arms within an hour--I'm not a horrible mother!)

Reid seeing Camille for the first time around 10:00 a.m. on her birthday.

Our family of four! Can you see Camille's face? Nope. Did we buy Reid's happiness with a Matchbox firetruck? Absolutely.

Happy Birthday, sweet Camille!

Reid assisting with the spit-up suction. Such a big helper already!

A little mother-daughter chat before leaving the hospital

All dressed up and ready for the ride home.

As you can see, Reid is thrilled to be taking his little sister home for the first time.

My sweet parents adorned our house with pink balloons to welcome Camille home.

First picture at home

The morning after our first night at home--also Daddy's 31st birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy!