Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome Baby J!


First of all, I don't think I can continue calling this beautiful boy "Fleep", so we're just going to do a little switcheroo, and call ourselves by our first initials. Sound good? OK.

We have now had little J with us for eleven days, and he is a little sweetheart.

The story of J's birth is CRAZY and involves M driving like he's on the Nascar circuit, and so I am required to share it - don't worry, no gory details below, just the fun stuff.

To set the stage of anxiousness, at 38 weeks and 5 days, I was up all night with irregular contractions, and at my appointment, the midwives said it could be any day. In fact, they let me know who was on call that night, because they thought it might be that soon. And as anyone who has ever been GREAT with child before can attest, that is welcome news! Our bags were packed, I had finished up all the necessary preparations, and all that was left to do was wait for those irregular contractions to get themselves organized and turn into the real thing. Wait, and wait, and wait. And go stir-crazy, because when the midwives say it might be tonight, I'm not making any plans. The following evening, I started to feel weird. I was having hot and cold flashes (hormonal surges, according to the midwives), and after we got L to bed, I was having contractions every couple of minutes and they were more intense than the ones I had been having on and off for nearly 48 hours already. I totally thought it was the real thing. We called my sister-in-law to come over and spend the night with L, and we headed off to the birth center. Oops! False alarm! We came home again after a couple of hours, because it was evident shortly after we got there that things were slowing down and it wasn't the real thing, after all. They sent me home with some sort of super-Benadryl pill to help me sleep, and it totally knocked me out, and knocked out the contractions as well. I didn't have contractions for days afterwards.

We resumed our normal level of activity, because there are only so many days you can sit around your house and watch hours of shows on Netflix and wonder when your baby is going to come. At my appointment the following week, at 39 weeks and 5 days, the baby appeared to be happy as a clam in there. I made plans for the rest of the week - nothing big, but something to get us out of the house each day, preferably with friends.

Thursday, August 23rd was my due date, and the plan for the day was to go on a walk with our friends. My friend invited us, and I thought we were talking about a walk to the playground. It was a pleasantly cool morning, according to my outdoor thermometer, so I went ahead and took a shower and dressed in jeans and a cute top and flip flops. Little did I know that this was not just a little walk to the playground. No. She had planned a REAL walk. 3.6 miles round trip. I thought maybe we'd tag along for a little while and then turn back, but once we got going, we were having fun and decided to keep going. L was awesome, because I didn't bring a stroller, and he walked every step. About a half a mile from home towards the end of our walk - which had made me incredibly sweaty, but no contractions to speak of - I felt a little trickle, and wondered aloud to my friends if my water had just broken. As we walked, it became more and more apparent, and by the time we got home, I had called M to come home, and we had made arrangements to drop L off at a friend's house after we had lunch.

We ate our lunch, cleaned up the house a bit, finished packing those last little things in the bag, and then we were off to the birth center, even though I wasn't really having any contractions yet. When we arrived, I got my dose of antibiotics through the IV, which was required this time around, and then we waited. We noticed that the contractions, while still mild, were more regular when I was up and walking, so that's what we did. We walked up the hill to Safeway and walked down every aisle, finally selecting a little snack, and then heading to the register, where we rang everything up at the self-checkout before realizing that neither one of us had any money. We walked back down the hill, checked in with the midwife to let her know what was going on, and then headed back up the hill to buy our food.

After we'd been there for a few hours, it was obvious that my body hadn't kicked things into gear yet. The midwife gave us several options, and we decided to go home and hopefully get some good rest, and then try to get things going in the morning. I was super tired after all that walking all day, and it seemed like I should take advantage of any rest my body was willing to give me. It took a little while to do a non-stress test to make sure baby was doing well - he was - and get the supplies and instructions for the IV antibiotics I would have to give myself overnight, but by 8 p.m. or so, we were on our way home. We laughed the whole way, and wondered just how many trips to the birth center this little guy was going to have us make.

When we got home, my brother and sister-in-law were there with L, and L was MAD! He hid under his blankets, and when he finally let me take them off of him, he threw his pillow at me, and yelled, "I wanted a baby brother today!" He eventually cried himself to sleep, poor guy. We stayed up and talked and laughed and ate ice cream with our visitors. I was having contractions, but they were no big deal. I didn't have to stop anything I was doing to get through them. We wondered if my brother and sister-in-law should stay at our house, or go to her parents' house about 25 minutes away, but they decided to stay. {Thank goodness!}

Around 10, I went to take a shower and get ready for bed, and by 10:30, I was ready and had sat down on the edge of the bed to read my scriptures. I stood up a few minutes later, and as I did, I felt something shift inside me - the midwife thinks it was the baby's head rotating to the right position - and suddenly everything was very different. I was suddenly in lots and lots of pain, and about three contractions later, I was feeling the urge to push. I seriously think that I went from 5 cm to 10 in those three contractions.

My brother later reported that they were awakened by my yelling, and M saying, "Do I need to call 911?" I assured him that 911 wasn't necessary, and he ran around with my brother's help getting things back out to the car, while I contemplated giving birth at home. We ran - no, my husband ran and supported all my weight, as I feebly moved my legs - to the car, which my brother had pulled up to the door. We wondered what would be the most comfortable position in the car, and I chose sitting, which was probably not the most comfortable, but still a good choice, because it kept the baby in.

M drove like a maniac, all the while, being a good birthing companion and reciting Hypnobirthing prompts to help me relax. He kept trying, even though I kept screaming that it was NOT POSSIBLE to relax at this point! I was trying to gear myself up for hours more of labor, since my labor with L was much longer, but M had a feeling that we were close. He said he's never been happier to see anyone in his life than he was to see the midwife run out of the birth center as we pulled up to the door.

M and the midwife helped me inside to the jacuzzi, which she had prepared for us. My plan had been to use a birthing pool - larger than the jacuzzi, and offers more buoyancy and more position options than the jacuzzi - but the midwife had correctly guessed that we wouldn't have enough time for the pool to fill up. She helped me into the tub, and told M not to go anywhere because the baby was right there. But bossy me, I ordered him to go get me a drink of water and the camera was still in the car, so he ran as fast as he could, and luckily made it back in time for the action.

Three contractions and less than five minutes after we arrived, little J made his entrance into the world. I brought his face up out of the water, and he calmly looked around for a minute, then cried for a minute, and then calmed right back down again. He was pink and alert and beautiful.

J weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. - which was a total surprise for me, since L weighed in a full pound and a half lighter at 7 lbs. 5 oz. J still seems perfectly tiny. It's hard to imagine an even smaller baby. They measured him at 21 3/4 inches, but several nurses since then have measured him right at 21, so I think that's probably more accurate.

J has been a total angel of a newborn. He's a great nurser, and a total snugglebug. With L, I was very stressed out about the possibility of having to hold him while he slept until he moved out of the house, so I was really worried about getting him to sleep on his own. With J, I'm much more relaxed. If he will sleep laying down in his crib, that's awesome and it sometimes happens, but I know that this time is fleeting and my getting a good night's rest is much more important to me than making sure he's sleeping on his own. Those few nights before he was born when I was up for several hours with contractions, I really noticed how irritable and impatient I was the following day, and I don't want to be that person. Sleep is definitely a priority around here! So for now, he sleeps in bed with us, and snuggled up right next to me, he sleeps so well. Sure, I'm up feeding him every few hours, but I can usually sleep through most of that, and he goes right back to sleep every time, so I feel great. I know he's still in the sleepy newborn phase, but I'm crossing my fingers that he'll remain an easy-going baby.

L is completely in love with J. He's pretty happy to do his own thing and check in with him every once in a while to give kisses, and help with burping, and stroking his cheek to see if he's hungry. Of course, we've had to remind him about poking and squishing and all that other tempting stuff, but he's doing great. I asked him, "Is it better to be the only kid in a family, or to have a baby brother?" And he replied, "Definitely to have a baby brother!"

We sure love both our boys!


Alisa said...

I smiled the whole time I read this. I'm so happy for your family to welcome #2. I loved reading about the birth. Beautiful! I'm happy for your experience.

Marc and Miriam Deru said...

Congratulations!! L suddenly looks so big! I love how happy it makes him to be a big brother. And I can't believe you had your baby less than 5 minutes after you arrived-- that is crazy fast! Glad you made it, though! Take care and get plenty of that wonderful sleep. :)

Sarah said...

Wow, what a great birth story! You're incredible, K! That is sweet and sad about L's reaction to you coming home without a baby. I'm so glad he's so excited to be the big brother now! Looks like those two are going to be great friends. Congrats, again!

Emily S said...

He does look perfectly tiny. How sweet. Love the big brother, too.

Sorry about all the false labor - with every kid mine gets earlier and worse. It's a total mind game!

Rachel Sorber said...

Hooray! I'm currently sitting in the "when will she come" phase, and it was fun reading through your birth story. He looks so cute, and I'm so happy for you that things went relatively well, and that you didn't have to be in pain for too long. You have a beautiful family. Now I might just try a 3.5 mile walk... :)

it's just lisa said...

i loved the part about you sitting in the car!! It kept the baby in :) You are too funny. your family is beautiful!!! So happy for you guys.

Rachel said...

Wow this is great! So dramatic! Cannot wait to meet J!!! Let me know when you are ready for the monthly get together. Love you!

Angie said...

Congrats. How fun to read the birth story, and how great for J to have a baby brother he will adore so much. I'm glad you made it to the birthing center! Phew!!!

Donna "Nina" Dively said...

Awesome! thanks for sharing. Beautiful family!!!

Karen said...

I just spent a few minutes catching up with your wonderful family through your blog. Congratulations on J's birth - what a story and what a cute little guy. We love you and wish you the best. Enjoy your mom this week, K!!

Michelle said...

Congratulations! He is adorable! Glad things went well. What a cute family and I love how excited his big brother looks :)