Saturday, March 8, 2014

Just can't get enough.

I have spent most of my day staring at this little miracle...

 Best day ever.

 I am smitten.  Cora Anne is as sweet as they come.

Coming home with Cora

The white board in my hospital room said I would be discharged on Saturday.  But my doctor checked me out on Friday and said I could go home if I wanted to.  
Resting in the hospital isn't very restful.
The good nurses checked on me and Cora frequently... bless them.  But that first night in the hospital was brutal.  They gave Cora some shots, so she was fussy.  And they had meds for me throughout the night.  And they wanted me to feed her every two hours.  Not restful.
So I was very glad at the opportunity to go home sooner.
The girls were expecting us home on Saturday.  We arrived home before they got off the school bus on Friday.
They were so happy to see us... especially Cora!
 They gave her lots of love and attention.
 We are so glad to be home.  Tired.  But so very happy.
And we all slept much better our first night home.

The newest sister... Cora Anne!

Cora Anne was born at 5:19 am.  We knew the girls would be super excited to meet their new sister.  
My sister was home with Alli, Ruby, and June.  
We had planned on sending them to school... we didn't plan on such a quick delivery.  But with everything done so early, we called my sister and told her to bring them in when they were ready.
They must have been so excited when they woke up and realized we were at the hospital.
Anyhow, Janis fed them and helped them get ready to meet their baby.  Somehow Alli and Ruby broke Alli's glasses on the way to the car.  So Alli has taped up glasses.
Their reaction to seeing Cora for the first time was a collective (high pitched) "aaawwwwwwwww!"
They washed their hands and came to inspect their little sister.  They adored her tiny fingers and toes... each tiny detail got a new "aaaaawwwww!"
 Then they took turns holding her.
 Everyone loved her silky dark hair.
 All the girls together...
If you want to read more about the labor and delivery of Cora, click here (warning, it has words like placenta and blood).  

The labor and delivery of Cora.

Warning... this post is a birth story.  If words like placenta make you uncomfortable, you may not want to read this.  You have been warned.   

Weeks before my due date, my midwife checked me out and said it could happen any day now.
Here I am at 39 weeks...

Well, the March 1st due date came and went... no baby yet.
I went to my check up on Monday, and my midwife stripped my membranes (for the second time this pregnancy... nothing great came of it) and asked me when I would like to be induced.  My first choice was Friday.  Second choice Thursday.  (Honestly, I didn't want to be induced.  Not because I didn't want the baby to come soon, but my labors with Ruby and June were so great, I was nervous about too much unnecessary medical intervention.)  The hospital called to schedule the induction with me.  They said to be there Thursday at 6 am.  Later, I got an email reminder saying my appointment was Friday at 6 am.  To clear up the discrepancy, I called my doctor's office and they confirmed an appointment on Friday... all set, right?

Wednesday night, I stayed up much too late to watch the beginning of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  So very funny.  And those big laughs brought on a few contractions.  But by midnight, I was ready for bed.

I woke up at 3 am Thursday morning.  I had to go to the bathroom.  And I was bleeding a little.  And I was achy.  But no contractions yet.
I woke Andy up... I didn't want him to miss anything fun.
I texted my sister.  Then I called her and asked her to come over.
By 3:27 I was timing contractions.  And within ten minutes, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart and they were lasting about a minute each.  For real.
I showered and got dressed.
Janis came and helped us get out the door.  She stayed with the kids (who were sound asleep).
I sent a text to my mom at 3:51 as we drove to the hospital.
In the middle of the night, you can't go straight to the labor and delivery department, you have to check in at the ER.  So we did.  A L&D nurse came to take us back.  She asked if I wanted a wheelchair.  I could still walk and talk, so we walked back to the labor and delivery department.
It turns out a room was ready for us... we were on the schedule to be induced at 6 am Thursday... it was 4:10 am.  With a room all set, I changed into a gown (sounds too fancy... more like a bed sheet with snaps and ties).  Our nurses hooked up the monitors, and I stopped keeping track of my contractions at 4:18 am.
Amanda, one of the nurses, checked my cervix.  I had dilated to a six.  She couldn't believe I had walked to labor & delivery.  She went through a zillion questions about medical history and insurance and where we live... sign here and here... it was very distracting... which was good.  I could talk through contractions, but she got good at reading my breathing patterns.  And then I got shaky... which means SOON!  She checked me, and I was a 9+.

Amanda called the midwife and doctor in right away.
They suited up (including a splash guard... which I found humorous... and I thought of the splash zone at Sea World).  Elizabeth, the midwife, broke my water.  There wasn't much of a splash... more of a trickle... but the baby dropped into place.
And then the crazy five minutes started.
Pushing a baby out is painful.  I have to dig deep.  Here is what I remember...
Andy was on my left, holding my hand, stroking my head, encouraging me on.  He was awesome.  Amanda was on my right, coaching my breathing.  She was a great coach... and I focused on what she was saying.  I was hot... it felt like I was burning up from the inside.  A nurse fetched a cold wet cloth for me.
They were all telling me to push.  
I pushed through the first contraction.  I wasn't making great progress.  I took too long of a break when I let out the breath I was holding to catch another breath.  Amanda told me what to do better.
The next contraction was much more productive.  Amanda kept me on track.
I felt like I was splitting in half.
The contraction ended, and I was breathing so hard.  I wanted a rest so badly.  I was determined to get this baby out with the next contraction.  When the contraction started, I took a deep breath and gave it all my strength and energy.  
The feeling of a baby slipping past the tightest part is a huge relief.  And the warm, wiggly, wetness of a baby being plopped on my chest was surreal.  The baby cried out a little... which is just a miraculous, musical sound!  It was 5:19 am... and I was done!
She was 7 pounds 11 ounces, 21 inches long.
I could see lots of dark hair on this baby, and chubby cheeks... but I couldn't see much else as she was right below my chin.  I asked Andy to take a picture of her face and show me with the camera.
I was bleeding a lot.  We could tell that the nurses, doctor and midwife were all concerned, but they were playing it cool so as not to alarm us.  They delivered the placenta.  The heavy bleeding continued.  I could feel blood and clots squishing out.  Not a good feeling.
I don't remember who did it, but either the doctor or the midwife had to stick a hand in to see if there was tissue left in my uterus.  That was painful.  Painful!
They gave me a bag of pitocin through my IV to cramp up my uterus and stop the bleeding.
They massaged my belly and pushed on it.
They gave me another medicine... and finally, it started to slow down.

And now I will share pictures from after that point...
In the delivery room... after the really painful stuff.

 By 7:30 am we were in the postpartum recovery room... breakfast was on the way.