Monday, August 8, 2011

We're Back! (With a Birth Story!)

Ok- So I know it's been a really really really long time since I posted last. I have a huge list of things I could give as excuses, but I won't even go there. Instead, I'll just say sorry. So, sorry!

I am not going to try to go back and catch up on everything since the last post- but I am going to start with Annabelle's birth story, as well as some pictures from that day that haven't been posted yet. After that I will share a few of my other favorite pics from the past 2 and a half months of her beautiful life. But mostly, I am just going to try to pick up with our current life- I have a hard enough time updating this thing, let alone going back and trying to cover all of the bases we already missed!

I wrote Annabelle's birth story about a week after she was born- I am going to throw out a disclaimer here- this is not beautifully written. I did not take a lot of time to write it, I just sat down and spewed out the details that were fresh in my mind. So if its confusing, just bare with me! :) So here it is- the story of the most amazing day of my life- enjoy :)

My baby girl, Annabelle Lynn was born May 19th at 3:06 am, weighing 7 lbs 5 oz and measuring 21 inches long. My due date was May 20th- but she came a day early, lucky me!

Here is her birth story-

Wednesday May 18th

I had a scheduled appointment with my midwife, Mary at 10am. She checked me and I was 2 cm dilated which was an improvement from the week before when I was 1 cm. Although I knew that still didn’t mean much, I was happy with the progression- and so was my midwife. At one point, Ryan said to her- “So it could happen this weekend?” And she replied, in a jokingly “It could happen tonight!”  but we never actually thought that would happen. I had it set in my head that “first pregnancies usually go overdue” because I had heard that SO MANY TIMES during my pregnancy! So I was convinced that was how it would go.

At around 1pm we decided to take a nap. At around 2pm I woke up to a strong pain in my stomach and my legs felt numb for a minute. My first thought of course was- “is this it?” I waited for a while and when I didn’t feel anything else, back to sleep I went. We woke up around 2:30pm and Ryan went off to work. At around 3pm I started feeling the same feelings and after I had about three of them in a row, I figured they must be contractions, so I decided to time them. I used the contraction timer on The Bump- what a help! Right from the start the contractions were coming every 4,5,6 or 7 minutes apart. But none of them longer than 7 minutes apart! I did not let myself get excited at this point though- you hear so many stories of women having contractions for days before giving birth-I did not want to be disappointed. Also I wasn’t really sure what to do. Ryan was at work and I didn’t want to call him in case it wasn’t actually real labor, and my Mom was in Plattsburgh, where she had been staying in the hospital with my stepdad who only two days before had undergone a very serious surgery. Luckily at about 4pm my Mom called me and said she was coming home for a while to get some more things together and to check in at work. I was so relieved that she called and I said “Well it’s a good thing your coming because I think I’m having contractions!” She told me she would be here soon, and she was- she came right away which was a huge relief to me! By the time she got here I had been timing my contractions for a little more than 2 hours. And although they weren’t consistently a certain amount of time apart, none of them went more than 7 minutes, and most were much closer! My mom insisted that I go to the hospital to get checked. But I was not convinced that it was REAL LABOR yet- and I didn’t want to be “that woman” who comes in early just to be sent home. She convinced me to at least call Labor & Delivery and ask what I should do. The nurse told me to eat something and wait as long as I could. So I ate some spicy curry and a bowl of pineapple.  After I was done eating I really started thinking that this was really it- so I started collecting all of the things that I wanted with me at the hospital. Luckily I had just packed my bags a few days before- unfortunately Ryan had not packed his (surprise, surprise)! I was running around in full on labor trying to get things together while my mom was bringing all of the things down to the car. I called L&D and told the nurse that I needed to come in and we were on our way. Called Ryan at work to let him know I was going in- we decided he would stay at work until absolutely necessary, I would just call him from hospital if “this was it.”
Got to the hospital around 8pm. They hooked my up to the monitors and after about 20 minutes told me I was definitely having contractions (no, kidding!) but that I should go home for a while as I would be more comfortable there. So of course, I was disappointed- but later was happy that I did go home. They told me to call and come back when the contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart for an hour or two. They also told me to take a warm bath and drink lots of water and if it was false labor then this would make the contractions stop. Uggh- so I called Ryan- told him I was heading home and that my mom would stay with me until he was done work.

When I got home I ran a bath and started chugging water. Was in the tub for about 20 minutes or so and the contractions did not stop whatsoever. I had decided not to time them for a while though- as it was starting to make me very anxious. Ry got home at around 9:30 and at about 10:30 we told my mom to go ahead and go home and we would call her with any changes. Once she left Ry and I started timing the contractions again- the first 5 or 6 contractions were all 4 minutes apart and we got very excited- thinking maybe it wouldn’t be very long! Then they started getting farther apart again- back up to 5 minutes apart. We laughed and said “OK, this is going to be a LOOOONG night!” I paced around the house trying to find something comfortable. Tried laying in bed until Ryan convinced me to come back out to living room and sit on my birthing ball again. We tried watching GLEE which we had on our DVR but I was too distracted! Thank God for Ryan- every time I had a contraction he would push on my  lower back which helped a lot- and he was timing all of the contractions.

Thursday, May 19th (early morning!)

Hours later we were still waiting for the contractions to come closer- no luck (all still about 5-7 minutes apart! I was sitting on my birthing ball facing the couch- resting my head on a stack of pillows. Had a contraction at 1am- “I think my water just broke!” I shouted. “REALLY” Ryan shouted back- I laughed a little and said “ I don’t know, maybe I just peed my pants!” I really wasn’t sure because it wasn’t as much as I expected it would be, I guess it really doesn’t happen like they show in the movies! But sure enough it was- Ryan called L&D and told them we were on our way. While he was on the phone- I was still sitting in the bathroom at this point and I remember thinking “there is no possible way I am going to be able to get my body up from here, down the stairs, into the car, and into the hospital” I was in so much pain I could not imagine how I was going to move from where I was.

We got to the hospital at 1:30 am and straight away I said- “I NEED MEDICATION!” The nurse checked me and I was at 4cm! She said- “Ok- I’ll be right back to get you hooked up to the IV and we’ll get you some fluids and some medication”.  I was in so much pain lying there waiting for her to return. I remember thinking “oh I am being one of those ladies who makes a lot of noise during labor!” But I couldn’t help it! I was in so much pain and the noises seemed to help. The nurse came back in with the IV and said “I am going to be very blunt with you- the pain is going to get worse- you need to control yourself!” Ry and I were shocked that she said that! I was thinking “WHAT A B****!” but in reality she was right! Haha. After she got my IV in (which took a while for her to find a good vein!) before she gave me the pain meds she asked if I was sure I didn’t want to try to get into the Jacuzzi tub for a while. This was originally my “plan” so I decided to go for it. I was in the tub quickly and a few minutes later my mom showed up- it was 2am by this point. Being in the tub was a help but my gosh I was still in so much pain and I was so HOT. Ry sat on a stool next to me and my mom sat on the toilet and both talked me through everything- they kept running a washcloth under cold water for me to put on my head which was a nice relief. The only thing I could say while I was in the tub was “cold” every few minutes when I needed the washcloth “refreshed” trying to use any more words was nearly impossible! About 20 or 30 minutes later I felt my body start pushing and I told my mom and Ry and they both shouted “DON’T PUSH!” My Mom ran out to get the nurse- it was SO hard NOT to push- my body really was just doing it on its own! I remember thinking that the nurse was going to tell me I am crazy. It had only been like 45 minutes since she last checked me and I was only 4cm. There was NO way I was already at 10cm and ready to push! I thought she would come in and laugh at me! They got me out of the tub and into the bed- the nurse checked me and then started walking away and said “Ok, lets see what Mary wants to do” and she walked out of the room. I was thinking “uhh are you going to tell me if I have progressed?” then Mary comes into the room and says “Ok, hunny, on your next contraction you can push!” I said “WHAT? Aren’t you going to give me and medication?!?!?” and she laughed a little and said “ No, girl, you’re ready to go!”
Started pushing at about 2:40am and my beautiful baby girl was born at 3:06 am!
It was amazing! Once her head and arms were out- Mary told me to reach down and pull her out the rest of the way and up onto my chest. I reached down and put my hands under her little arms and tried to pull- but I was incredibly weak- the nurse had to help me bring her up to my chest. What an incredible feeling- to pull her out like that and place her on my chest. I held her for a few beautiful minutes and then the nurse took her to check her out and clean her up.

One thing that I do have to say about labor and delivery- when I was pregnant and reading about labor and delivery I read/heard so many people say “Once your baby is in your arms you forget about the pain” and I just have to say that in my experience- that is a huge lie! Yes, I was immediately IN LOVE with my baby girl. But the pain did NOT go away. It took hours for the pain to lessen- and DAYS for it to GO AWAY! Yes, it was all very very worth it, and I would do it all over again- but I am not going to say that the pain goes away!

From my very first contraction my labor was only 13 hours. From when my water broke to the delivery was only 2 hours! And I only pushed for 20 minutes! I was so lucky! I can’t believe it! It all happened so fast. So fast in fact, that once she was born I kept saying “I don’t understand what’s going on” my mom and nurse kept saying “you had the baby/she’s perfect/you did great” etc. But I kept repeating myself. It was all so surreal I could not wrap my head around what had just happened. I could not believe what my body just did. I could not believe that I was a MOM (still can’t)!

My experience was wonderful! I was also very happy to have my Mom there. She was a quiet support throughout the whole thing, and I like knowing just how happy she was to be there. Ryan the most amazing support throughout the whole thing, trying to help ease the pain in any way, talking me through each and every contraction, and guiding me through each push. He was seriously like a pro- like he had done this a million times before. And one of the most vivid memories I have from all of the chaos of the event, was his face when she was born. Thinking about that still brings tears to my eyes.  I definitely could not have done it without him. 

And needless to say, we were in love with her at first sight.

Our stay in the hospital was wonderful. I feel truly blessed that we live in such a wonderful town and were able to give birth to our first baby in such a caring, comfortable atmosphere. All of the ladies in OB at AMC were amazing. So helpful, knowledgeable, and just so sweet! other than the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements that Ryan and I had- we completely enjoyed everything about our stay. Those first few days in the hospital feel like a movie. I can't believe I actually lived those days! We had a lot of wonderful friends and family come and visit. It was so nice to share such a magical thing with the people we love. But we also had a lot of time to just enjoy our new little family, just the three of us, before the stress and scary part of having a newborn at home set it.  Thank you to everyone who shared this wonderful time with us.

My wonderful friend, Bridget, who is Annabelle's Godmother- we are so lucky to have her in our lives :)

What a beautiful, magical day!

WOW, that is really long! Sorry about that! When I sat down to right this I just wanted to get it down, so I wouldn’t forget things. As it is, the details are all very blurry. Giving birth, for me anyway, felt like an out of body experience, I almost feel as if I just watched myself do it, it doesn’t feel real. My memories of it feel like it was something I only watched in a movie, not something I actually did. If you made it through that whole thing, thank you, I did not take too much time to give it a romantic, storybook sound. I just wrote, I wrote it how I remember it. No embellishments. I hope that’s ok! It was an experience so beautiful that no words could ever describe it perfectly,  but there it is.

And now I have the most beautiful, precious gift that I could possibly ever have imagined. I just reread the last post I made (such a long time ago!) and all of those feelings of anticipation came back to me, those feelings of excitement for what was to come. And looking back now, what I have in my beautiful baby girl far exceeds anything I ever thought I was going to have. I am such a lucky woman. I can’t believe how blessed I am to have such an amazing, loving family.

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