Only almost 8 months late….. I have finally sat down to write out Alex’s birth story!
Claire and Ava came at 38 weeks and 38+1 weeks, respectively, so I figured Alex would probably follow suit. So 38 weeks came and went, and though I was dilated to maybe 2-3cm, he decided to wait a little longer. My mom came into town the week before, though I told her not to, as I didn’t want to have her just waiting around. I was doing enough of that! She even made the prediction that he would come on the 13th, which was my grandma’s birthday.
I had a midwife appointment on Wednesday, September 13th, and thought that he’d of course come that day. Ava did the same thing – came the morning of her midwife appointment.
I’m not even sure of the details of the day before he was born, but I do remember feeling so DONE and anxious. I wondered if contractions would randomly start during the day – that had never happened! How would that look? Maybe this time it will happen! Nope, another day would come and go… and then I’d go to sleep feeling crampy and thinking, “well maybe tonight…”
So the night of the 12th I went to bed, but wasn’t really thinking much. At around 1:50, I woke up to go to the restroom and felt warm water running down my leg once I walked into the bathroom. Whoa! I was sure it was my water breaking. But I had not had any contractions. This was different!
Luke called Jan, who was going to come and sleep here with the girls. My mom was spending the night at Erica’s, but I didn’t want to wake her up just yet, I wasn’t sure how much longer it’d take for contractions to even start.
I called the midwife, and she said to keep her posted, to let her know when contractions are consistently 5 minutes apart. We knew I would go fairly quickly, so she wanted me to come in sooner rather than later.
So I got back in bed, and waited to feel anything. Luke encouraged me to go back to sleep, but I was so excited! I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that… but I tried to rest. By 2:20, I felt my first real contraction and for a few they were about 8-10 minutes apart. Around 2:35, They started coming every 2-4 minutes. We called Jami again around 2:50 and she said to meet at the birth center in an hour. That made me a little nervous, but I knew she had to get ready and get up there before we arrived.
Jan showed up at some point and I was eating a banana. She was just laughing that I was up, walking around, seeming normal. I am not sure she believed I was really in labor!
For the next hour I labored in my room, on my exercise ball, moaned a lot. Luke took some videos. I got mad at that. Ha! At 3:30-ish we decided to get ready to pack up our stuff and head to the birth center. I was so dreading this. It already was getting fast and super painful, and I knew what was to come! I was just happy it was the last time!
We arrived around 3:50am, and Jami was already there and had the tub filling up. She checked me at my request, I was curious how much longer I had to go! She said I was about 6-7cms. In my head, I told myself that I had a couple of more hours to go, since that’s what I was when I came into the BC with Ava. I was so bummed I had two more hours of this pain. I was loud and just not getting on top of the contractions. At some point I remember making myself stop the moaning and just be quiet and concentrate on the contractions, and instantly the pain was better. I was getting myself worked up during the ctx, and needed to calm down and breath through them instead of vocalizing.
I got in the tub around 4:15. Around 4:40 I was having a contraction and Jami says “that sounded pushy, are you pushing?” I insisted that NO, I was totally not pushing and there was no way I was ready for pushing! I hadn’t been in there long enough! She replied “no, that was definitely pushy… and yes, you can totally be ready.” She went to the door and called in the student midwife who had been working with them, “we are starting to push!” In my head I thought she was crazy and in no way was I ready to be pushing. I did NOT want to push against a cervical lip, as that happened with Ava. So I made Jami check me again, and she said that there was a small lip left but that Alex’s head would push through it cause the the cervix was SO soft. Push away!
So I pushed with everything I had since I knew it was the end!! Yay! Pushing! He’s gonna be here soon! I was on the side of the tub, squatting, pulling against the tub with all my strength!….. and uncontrollably having other bodily functions happen. That was the MOST distracting thing. I was completely mortified and apologizing over and over again. But it was completely involuntary. It made the contractions worse, cause I couldn’t just concentrate on them. So sucky.
I pushed for 20-ish minutes and at 5:05am my beautiful Alexander was born! I just kept saying his name over and over and laid back with him on my chest. He picked his head up and looked at me! I was so in love. I was SO glad he was here, SO glad I never had to do that ever again. Literally, I said that.
My mom came in within a minute or two. Everyone was just so elated and on a high. We checked to make sure he was really a boy (of course!) and daddy cut the cord and within minutes I delivered the placenta. It was shockingly fast.
This may have caused some issues because within an hour to 1.5 hrs, my blood pressure was checked, normal procedure, and re-checked. Then checked once more… I started to wonder. I asked if everything was ok. She said she was getting a low reading. She then got the digital machine to see what it said. Again low. Very low. She asked if I had to go to the bathroom, I said not really, but they want you to try. So we got up out of bed, very slowly. I walked over to the toilet and became pretty light headed. I was pretty much being held up by the nurse and Luke. I wasn’t able to pee, so they walked me back to the bed. She then re-took my BP and it was still low – something about 90/50ish. Like, so low she was surprised I didn’t pass out and was able to physically walk to the toilet.
Luke started to worry, he later told me I looked pretty out of it and pale. He said he thought would end up at the hospital. My mom was in the waiting room. The nurse walked over to the clinical side of the birth center and asked Jami what she wanted to do. Jami didn’t have a break for another 30 minutes or so, between patients. She came back and told us Jami told her to give me two bags of fluids through the IV. At this point I figured, damn, this must be a big deal!
Once the fluids were in me, I definitely perked up and felt much better. The girls came at some point and met their baby brother. They were so excited. To this day they still can’t get enough of him. It’s been amazing watching them form relationships with their brother.
It took 18 months to get pregnant with our first kid, Claire bear. She was prayed for for SO long, by many people. Infertility was a constant roller coaster. I always hoped I would remember those feelings after I got pregnant and birthed Claire. I never wanted to forget the pain, every month, up and down. I wanted to remember so that I could always be empathetic – actually identifying with the feelings of other women going through the same pain.
God taught me so much in that time – it was the closest I’ve grown to Him (though I do admit, at times, feeling some anger towards Him). I learned my timing was not a factor in life. God has a timing all His own. I could have learned that so many ways, but, this is how He chose to make that a clear point to me.
I got pregnant with Ava in 1/18th of the time it took with Claire – that is, one month. One. It threw me for a loop and I was upset, stupidly, thinking Claire was a baby and not ready to be a big sister. It turns out, God, AGAIN, was teaching me about His timing. “I could have allowed you go get pregnant with Claire the very first try years ago, but I didn’t.” are the words I know God was yelling at me. Same point, different way to go about teaching.
With our third kiddo, we were a little less uptight about timing, except the fact I didn’t want to have a “Christmas” baby. Totally for selfish reasons. The cycle I got pregnant with Baby Barchie #3, it seemed nearly impossible. The timing, the dates, everything was so late and just off. I was AMAZED. I thought “wow, God worked this out. There’s no reason for this to have happened.” And now, He’s again teaching me something different. Grief. Getting through an unfamiliar storm with my husband, both of us grieving. Grieving over the loss of our baby. This is so hard. We have both agreed it’s much harder than we thought.
Infertility was a roller coaster, slowly going up, waiting with anticipation for results – then shooting down, around, twisting, turning. This trial is like that ride at Astroworld – the Sky Screamer. After seeing those two lines on a piece of plastic, we started going up – for weeks we were just riding this high of being pregnant. We were excited, things were progressing. Then at some point, you get pushed off the edge, and go crashing back down to earth. It takes a few seconds for your world to drop out from under you. Wednesday morning was so hard, waking up knowing I wasn’t pregnant. Just 24 hours earlier, I was pregnant (or I thought). I was nauseous. I still felt little other “pregnancy” symptoms. It is so cruel.
I now am hoping that I won’t forget this pain. I want to be there for other ladies dealing with it. So many wise, older women have reached out to me and given me comfort with their words. Their validity. Thank you, it means so much.
Onto today. One day at a time.
I had the announcement picture ready – my girls with little chalk boards, one with “Big Sister” and the other “Middle Sister”. They were so cute. I couldn’t wait to share the exciting news with my whole little circle of friends.
Then we woke up Tuesday and went in for our dating ultrasound, I was 9 weeks pregnant – almost 1/4 of the way through! But something else happened. We saw a baby, and the ultrasound tech told us she didn’t think the baby looked close to 9 weeks at all. When I heard her words, I immediately knew. I knew I was 9 weeks and couldn’t be much less. She tried different angles, then a transvaginal ultrasound. “I’m sorry, I don’t see a heartbeat..” Our little bean was measuring two weeks behind. Seven weeks. At seven weeks our little baby stopped growing, his/her heart stopped beating.
I always wondered how I’d feel if I ever had a miscarriage. I never imagined it would hurt this much. Never. We are grieving. It’s a sadness that lasts all day… all night. I still see that little shadow of our baby on the ultrasound screen. I can’t get it out of my head. I think some part of me was dreading going to sleep last night, so I kept the TV on. I just wanted to have thoughts other than this running through my head. I knew when I turned off the TV, my brain would start thinking. And it did. I hardly slept.
My brain knows and tries to comfort my heart with “We will have a third baby. We can!” But for some reason it just isn’t helping the pain NOW. We can’t replace *this* baby with another baby. It’s a thought I never had before this happened… it’s the worst feeling.
Luke and I will be ok, we will get through this, of course. I am dreading the next couple of weeks… but I know we will be ok. If you think of us, please pray. Prayers for comfort, peace, and for this to grow us even closer together.
I had my 37 week midwife appointment on July 2nd. I hadn’t had many braxton hicks that were “timeable” in any way, but had been feeling lots of cramps and pressure that lasted extended periods of time. I was feeling more and more like Ava would make her arrival later than her 38-weeker sister. Or maybe I was just convincing myself of that to keep anxiety at bay. The midwife offered to check my cervix, so I agreed. I was at 2-3 cm and 50% effaced, an improvement over my barely-dilated cervix the week before. I allowed myself to be excited, thinking she would definitely be here in the next week!
Off and on I would feel like total CRAP. Cramps, but not really contractions. Looots of pressure. So much so that I would just have to SIT and could barely walk around. Saturday evening we had a going away party for Zack, he had just gotten his first commercial airline job. I was miserable. I left my in-laws house feeling like Ava might be coming THAT night. I didn’t get much sleep, again. It had been a couple of uncomfortable, anxiety-ridden nights.
Woke up Sunday – no baby. Luke and I had a nice, kid-less breakfast that morning, our last for a while. I felt pretty good that whole day. Not many cramps, no contractions, just a “normal” day. My sister left town to go to the Valley, and wouldn’t be back til Thursday. I was again starting to think Ava would be here later than I thought, in time for Erica to make it back (and I’m sure she hoped so, too).
That evening Luke and I spent lots of time playing with Claire and we both tucked her in that night. It was the last night she would be tucked in as an only child! I was feeling good, but hadn’t gotten much sleep the past couple of nights. I decided to take a Unisom to get some good sleep, as good as it can be when you’re really pregnant. I went to bed around 11, and woke up just before 2am with contractions. I immediately remembered that these felt the same as with Claire. I knew this was it!
I waited about 15 minutes to wake up Luke – to make sure they were coming at somewhat consistent intervals and I wasn’t craycray. They were about 5-6 minutes apart. I woke up Luke to let him know, and we decided to let Jan know and have her head to our house to stay with Claire. Luke gave her a call, she answered with, “you’re joking”. She also got pulled over for speeding on her way, just like a sitcom. I called my mom. I knew she wanted to leave Kerrville (a four hour drive) as soon as I was in labor. I wasn’t sure if she’d make it in time.
The contractions were strong, but not unbearable. They were also coming every 5-6 minutes, but a few times they were closer to 10 minutes apart. Then multiple times they felt like they would start to build up, but never peak, and just go away. It was slightly discouraging.
I called the midwife around 2:30 to give them a “heads up” – as I was still timing and figuring out a pattern to the contractions. In a previous appointment they told me that if I started having contractions five minutes apart, I would need to come in sooner rather than later, given my fast history with Claire. Jamie was the midwife on call (yay!) We had formed a good relationship, as she was the midwife I saw for most of my prenatal visits. She was already at the birth center with another woman, and informed me another was on her way! Looked like it was going to be a busy night at Nativiti…
The next 1 1/2 hours I labored at home, quietly, as I didn’t want to wake up Claire! I took a shower, ate a snack, laid down for a bit, then decided to go into the birth center around 4. I was confused by my contractions. They weren’t as consistent as they were with Claire. I also felt a lot of pressure between contractions. This made me nervous that I was somehow fully dilated and wanting to push. Thankfully, I wasn’t.
Around 4am, we got to the birth center, I was checked – 6cm! I immediately didn’t feel as calm and relaxed as I did when I was at the birth center for my first birth. I think it was a mixture of more people around (one midwife, two nurses) coming in and out of the room and anxiety of knowing what was coming.
The bathtub seemed to take forever to fill. As I was waiting, I sat on the bed, leaning forward onto Luke for support.
I eventually got into the tub. I was having trouble relaxing between the movement of people in and out of the room, nurses talking, and the lighting being too bright. I asked to turn the lights down, which helped. Jamie pulled out a pool-noodle floatie thing, and I was able to kinda “lay” on my side, with my arm wrapped around it. That was nice… I relaxed a little more and stayed in that position for a while. I had Jamie snap a few pictures, as my “birth photographer”, Erica, had skipped town (which later, I realized was ok, I am not sure I would have wanted any extra people around).
I was so uncomfortable at one point, having a hard time breathing through contractions and relax, I felt like they were never ending. Jamie said to me “you need to distinguish between the contraction and the pressure.” She was right. I was having trouble feeling the end of the contraction because there was a ton of pressure. I thought maybe I was needing to push. The midwife checked me, and I was around a 9 and my water was “bulging”. After a few more minutes, Jamie offered to break my waters, and I agreed. She thought if we did it, there would be a baby’s head RIGHT there and I would go fast. That was encouraging. I was worried in would hurt, but it really didn’t. She was able to do it right away, not having to wait for a contraction like she thought. Ahhhh… I felt instant relief. In a strange, strange way.
After a few more contractions, I felt like I needed to push. Midwives are all about listening to your body, so Jamie said to go for it.
I pushed for about 10 or 15 minutes. Jamie would be “checking” internally (yeah, so. fun.) and quickly realized that baby wasn’t descending at all into the birth canal. She thought I might have a cervical lip. EEEEK. I had heard and learned about these. It was one of those things I always thought would suck royally to have. I was right! Her first solution was to not push for the next few contractions and let’s see if that lip will go away and I would fully dilate. Let me make this clear, not pushing during a contraction is the hardest. thing. ever. to do. “Blow out, like your blowing out candles” – yah. It was awful. It’s like going against every (overwhelming) instinct you have.
After a few contractions of that torture, I couldn’t take it. Her next solution? Insert Finger. Push lip up over Ava’s head.
Yep, it’s painful.
I almost started crying just hearing her say the words.
Luke immediately put his foot down, saying, “ok, calm down. Stop crying. You can do this.” – sounds mean, but that’s what I needed to hear. He knows me so well. 😛
I got into an awkward, side-lying position and prayed for the best. After she was able to push it over Ava’s head, I could feel the difference immediately. It was insane. I could literally feel that the baby had descended. I was back in business. Let’s get this baby out.
Four minutes later, Ava was born. 7/7/14 at 6:04. Luke pulled her out of the water and handed her to me.
I cried, Luke cried. It was over!! Hallelujah. My first thought was “she is tiny!” but really, she was only 2 ounces smaller than Claire. She had thicker, darker hair. I felt pure joy. She was here, and labor was over!
Claire was diagnosed with Roseola. I was/am a little worried it may be a reaction to an antibiotic (most likely Amoxicillin) but the doc said Roseola. She ran a high-ish (not quite 102) fever for 2-3 days, on the 3rd day the rash started. Which seems to indicate classic Roseola. She is now a little whiney and had a decrease in appetite. Also symptoms. Anyways.. I just feel so bad for my little baby. She LOOKS miserable, but isn’t acting completely miserable. So that’s a plus!
I wanted to share these photos cause I know when anything happens to Claire the first things I do is google. So, maybe these photos will help someone else. 😛
The first day it started very small, Luke and I were not concerned at all, thought maybe a heat rash from being so hot with fever or I even thought roseola to myself (after googling, of course.)
This is Claire the first time she ever realized she can stand in her crib. It’s been downhill since then…. :p
Claire is just over 8 months. She’s crawling, pulling up everywhere, eating like crazy and gabbing away.
Once I had a newborn that sweetly laid on my lap and was totally content to just stare at my face during her brief awake moments..
Now I have this kiddo that seriously makes me laugh and have a mini panic attack (“what is she chewing on!?”) every other moment..
Her latest thing is sitting up and pulling up in her crib. I was lucky enough to witness her first attempt, while I peeked through her door, she was just. so. amused. that it made me giggle. Now it’s not so cute. Especially at 3am when she’s half asleep, crying, cause she can’t figure out how to lay back down.
I love this girl.