Sunday, February 12, 2012

Welcome, Sweet Baby Paige.

This would be Paige's birth story. February 2, 2012.
I've already mentioned that I made a mental deal with Paige that she would come on Thursday, Feb. 2, so I didn't know what to think when I actually started having pains on that day. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I kept scurrying around getting things done to urge on what could be labor. Sure enough, it was.
While Tessa and Cole were away for a couple of hours with friends, I was able to get a few final things done if I were to head to the hospital that evening --namely packing a bag. My dad called and asked how I was doing. I told him I was in pain, and he quickly ended the conversation so I could take care of it. My sister called to talk and quickly ascertained that I was indeed in labor and needed to screw my head back on, get a bag packed, and start timing the contractions. I didn't want to jinx the labor pains into disappearing, though (that's my logic for you --I wanted this birth to be another VBAC so badly that it was my primary thought regarding the pregnancy in the last few weeks), so I kept buzzing around the house talking nonsense about what I needed to do. Mandy did her best to get me thinking reasonably, and then it was time to give my husband a call. I knew it would probably still be a while, but I did not want to run the risk of him getting caught in rush hour traffic. He headed home and was here before the kids got back to start timing the contractions, give me a blessing, snap a picture, give the kids dinner, and help make sure everything was in order --namely that our babysitter we'd lined up was notified that we may need her soon.
I'd started having labor pains around 3:30pm, and in the six o'clock hour, I decided it was definitely time to call the doctor and then get ourselves to the hospital. We'd been using a contraction timer app on Jake's phone --it was time. The operator couldn't get a hold of Dr. Pierce. I tried calling a second time because, hello, I was in pain. I asked the operator if I could come to the hospital even if the doctor hadn't given the go ahead. She said she would, and I told her I'd rather turn around and go home if it was nothing rather than have a baby in the car. Our awesome babysitter showed up ready to dig in and stay with Tessa and Cole for the night and Jake and I took off for the hospital.
It was at this point where I refused to talk or answer questions during contractions because they were getting so intense that I had to put all my energy into focusing and breathing through them. We got to the Presbyterian of Allen hospital and pulled up to the front door. I got out with Jake and immediately needed to lean over on him so I could breathe through another contraction before moving on. There was a nurse outside getting ready to leave for home who saw us and immediately ran over to see if I was okay. She said she could tell my contractions were intense and she wanted to get me a wheel chair and take me upstairs. I told her I could walk there between contractions, but she refused to let me and ran to get the wheel chair. As she wheeled me into the elevator and upstairs, Jake ran to park the car. It was about 7:30pm. I almost started to cry after I heard nurses say to the one who was pushing my wheel chair, "Hey, I thought you went home!" because I was so touched that she cared enough to help me out even when her shift was done. She didn't pass me along to anyone else until she knew I was taken care of. I thanked her profusely, signed some hospital entrance papers, and was wheeled to a room to change. Jake met me there, and I slowly got changed into my awesome hospital gown between contractions. My stepmom called Jake to make sure I was okay. He assured her that I was and then was going to pass the phone to me until I said in my monster voice, "I'm not talking to anyone right nooowwww." It's a good thing she understood. I had no idea who it was. Then I got ridiculously hot and vomited. The beauty of labor. I was then wheeled to my own room.
Before the epidural could be administered, I had to get the IV pumping in me and the monitors on, so Amber, my incredible nurse, sped along to prepare what she could. Dr. Pierce showed up and apologized for having been in a meeting with a silent phone. He checked my progression, which is the opposite of comfortable, and left for a while. He decided to keep working in his office (which is in the hospital) and to come and check on me intermittently to keep things moving along. He then told a couple lame jokes and took off. Love him. I laid in the hospital bed with the IV speedily pumping into my veins and did my best to breathe through the pain. Finally, when given the signal, Javier showed up. Javier has been the same anesthetist for all three of my children's births. I find that amusing considering Tessa wasn't born at this hospital. Javier prepped my back, Jacob wisely turned away, and I was mid contraction and leaning on Amber when he administered the epidural, so I wasn't focused on the needle, just breathing. Very soon the pain eased, and then eased some more. I could tell when contractions came because I could feel a little pressure, but beyond that I suddenly wished I could just take a nap.
Dr. Pierce came in early in the ten o'clock hour to check on me again and expressed concern that the baby was still so high up. I don't know how she had any space to be considered "high up", but what do I know? He broke my water and decided to let gravity do its work and had the bed sitting almost straight up. I was feeling astonishingly comfortable in my hospital bed throne. Dr. Pierce said he'd come back in 45 minutes to see if it was "time". He also said that he wanted to let up on the epidural a bit for the birth, but would not shut it off completely like last time --which made so much sense as to what I experienced with Cole's birth! Because this comfort certainly was not comparable.
I told Jake that he was in charge of all communication, and I was in charge of having a baby. He set to work and contacted our families to let them know the baby was coming soon. We listened to the baby's heartbeat change through the contractions, and I watched in fascination at the intensity of some of the contractions in contrast to what I could now feel of them. I also wondered what the chances of Paige coming on Thursday would actually be now that we were creeping through the 11 o'clock hour.
After studying the machines/info Dr. Pierce deemed it time to get the kid out --the "Little Larry" as he calls all his births, after himself. Everything necessary for the birth was immediately set up. I could feel the contractions, but I didn't have that primal urge to push like I did with Cole, so I had to rely on the doctor and nurse to let me know when to begin. They provided handle bars on the bed to hang onto as I pushed, which I thought was pretty helpful. When it was time and I felt a contraction come, they all let me know to "PUSH!" And I did.Something my nurse said to me made laugh after the fact --"Not so much in the face, more in the butt!" So I concentrated because with that numbness, it took some serious effort to focus my energies. They cheered me on, and announced the head coming out in the second contraction. It was so odd to feel the pressure but not the pain of what was happening. In the middle of all of this it struck me how absolutely different all three births have been. By the third contraction I was feeling bad that her head was in the birth canal and wanted to do my best to get it out, so I did. Take that! It's a good thing they had oxygen on me because pausing to take a breath felt like wasted contraction time. And she was out. Yay! Then it was like this weird panic with the nurses --"Skin to skin!!!" (They have won recognition for being a baby friendly hospital, and I'm guessing don't take that lightly.) How sweet to have my baby immediately given to me, after cutting the cord, of course --good job, Jake! That would gross me out.
The birth was announced at 11:46pm. She did come on Thursday. A Groundhog Day baby. Jake made the joke several times afterward that we were glad she didn't poke her head out, see her shadow, and decide to go back in for a few more weeks. Yeah, it's not getting old for me. I'm laughing as I type it.
My baby! My sweet, large, baby Paige. I grow 'em big. Check out those cheeks.

Her brother still has her beat by half a pound. I don't mind. We'll let him keep his record. Because the baby was born late in the evening, there was plenty to do afterward, and sleep wasn't going to happen much. At some point Amber came back in to check my vitals and suddenly Jake was talking at his phone. Amber and I looked at each other and said, "Who is he talking to?" It was getting on to four in the morning, after all. He turned the phone around and there was my great friend Ashley on Skype! Good morning, London! ...where it was a decent time of day. Jake saw she was online and decided to call. We had a wonderful Skype chat and showed her the baby --such a fun surprise.
I was in the hospital the next day and night after and went home after lunch on Saturday. I had lovely visitors and was able to mostly relax as much as one can in a hospital. It really was a very pleasant stay, especially compared to my stay there with Cole. I felt well cared for with attentive nurses.

The siblings! Oh my goodness, big sister is so in love with baby sister bundle.
(That pile of white looks like laundry, but it's Jake's white blanket from the night before wadded up for extra support.)
She could have sat here and held her all day long. Her brother, on the other hand, I think pushed every button possible in the hospital room. That's a lot of buttons, and a lot of "Cole, stop it!"s
Fascinated with everything about her.
"Can I hold it?"

"Can I push the nose?"
We are so happy to have our Paige Clara home. We are incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Her Way

When I started feeling even more uncomfortable than usual on Thursday afternoon, I didn't want to get my hopes up that it was early stages of labor. Happily, it was. I started panicking as everything I wanted to get done last minute coursed through my brain. Tender mercies in timing made it so that other people took off with my kids for a couple of hours so that I could get some of those things done. One of the minor things was that I had very few pictures of myself pregnant with this kid, and she was going to notice that I had nine month pregnant pictures of the first two and not her. So, when Jake got home, that was one of the first things I had him do in between contractions. Plastered on smile:
I mentally told Paige a couple days earlier that she was coming on Thursday. I didn't tell Jake because it sounded crazy town, but I felt very strongly that she and I had made a deal and that she would make her grand entrance on Thursday so that we could avoid surgery and get her out before she got any bigger. Way to go, kid!
Birth story on its way.

Tessa's First Valentine Box

Tessa has a Valentine party coming up for preschool where she needs to have a Valentine box. I first thought, "Good grief. I don't need homework from preschool." Then I chiggity checked myself before I wrecked myself and remembered how fun that part of Valentine's Day was for me as a kid. We got to work one afternoon while Cole was napping.
I covered the box while Tessa made decorations to put all over the box, along with heart stickers.
I had such a lovely time sitting and crafting with her. I'm so glad I adjusted my attitude so I could have that opportunity.
Cole woke up just in time for pictures with his crazy face sister:
There we go. (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is on the left loving his pencil, whereas Mickey and Minnie Mouse are on the right loving each other. Poor Rudolph.)
He needed a picture as well. He's got two pistols, so I didn't question.

Rainy Day "Fun"

The rain came down in torrents for a couple of days in January --hooray! We didn't have any plans on one of those days, and with as pregnant and grumbly as I was, I wasn't going anywhere in that weather. My kids were bored. I put them in swimsuits and dumped them in the tub for a "swim party". Winning mom of the year for creativity, I know. They were happy and didn't fight for at least twenty minutes, so we'll call it a success.
They're cute.

Love this one:
And Cole's really skinny. He eats. I swear.

Front Yard Geyser

Too many people have had to hear my weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth tale about the big pipe leak/break under my front lawn at the end of January that went unnoticed for way too long. So, I'll keep it really short --for me.
Months of ridiculous water bill -no clue why.
City finally came out and said, "Yes. There is water leaking somewhere. Your problem."
We discovered where.
Plumbers came.
Plumbers found leak/break after digging massive hole.
Four days of no water, minus two hours in the evenings to bathe, wash, and collect more water for the next day. Water gushing into the street during those two hours.
New line dug from meter to house.
Still looks like Bugs Bunny went through my yard on his way to Albuquerque.
Very expensive. More so than they said. Total bill not presented until after the work was done.
Unhappy husband. Teeth gritting wife. However...
SO thankful for running water. And tax returns.
Here are the kids excitedly watching our front yard getting torn up:

Little Einsteins

Cole's favorite show right now is Little Einsteins. After Tessa gets dropped off at preschool, this is his favorite spot:
Mom gets a chance to shower, and Cole pat, pat, pats his way to victory with the red rocket ship.
Our Traverse came with three months of XM radio, which we haven't taken much advantage of until this last month. I've found that I listen to one of the XM classical stations most often --very calming. Lately very needed. Cole has shouted out a couple of times, "I know this song!"
Go, Little Einsteins!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A New Paige, and "M starts with Maren"

A New Paige

Paige Clara McBride
Born: February 2, 2012, 11:56 P.M. CST
Weight: 10 Lbs., 1 Oz.
Length: 21 Inches

"M starts with Maren!"

Last night (February 2nd to 3rd) was a long night for me, and an even longer night, I'm sure for my sweet wife. Thanks to loving support from good friends, I was able to spend the night in the hospital with Maren as our beautiful, gentle Paige was born. Although, not as big as her brother was, she still boasted an impressive 10-1 birth weight, and has the double chin and cheeks to prove it. Maren was strong and courageous through every minute and I look up to her and respect her with everything that's in me.

Now, less than 24 hours later, I sit in a quiet home. Maren and Paige have one more night in the hospital, the oldest two kids are asleep (although their battle to avoid the bed was well fought), and I have time to ponder a few things that have been in my head, and to write them down.

A week or so ago, Tessa was admiring the letter "M" in a book and stated authoritatively that "M starts with Maren." I understood what she meant to say, and almost corrected her, but decided not to. In her world, and in mine, M does indeed start with Maren, and not the other way around. My wife, and the mother of my children is everything to this household. She cooks, she cleans, she takes the kids to their activities and classes, she sets an example of faith, virtue, integrity, and good works. She is an outstanding mother, an excellent friend, a fine comedienne, and an exemplary wife. She understands me. She knows my imperfections but accepts me for who I am, and together we strive to grow and improve. The list could go on and on. I love her dearly.

As we welcome a third child to our household, the strength she possesses is evident, and I take comfort in the thought that she will teach our girls how to be such women.

Welcome Paige!
I love you Maren.