Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

She's 8 weeks old now.  How time flies.

Showing off her missing front tooth, while doing her favorite thing: riding the ponies.  (I never thought I would have to pay to have my children experience this.)

Riding the farm train.

My sunflowers

I had to throw in another one of her. 

Where's Marshall?

A labor story

Pregnancies are a challenge for me.  The first half of this one was very trying, and while I felt well the second half, I had to deal with the discomfort of wearing six layers to manage my vein pain.  The last month of my pregnancy was, surprisingly, very comfortable, considering how hard it is to move at that stage.

Thursday the 9th of August, I had my membranes stripped, which with Marshall and Liesl, put me in labor within a day.  This time, however, for as painful as the stripping was, it did not work.  I had nary a contraction for two days, no matter how long I walked and worked and waited.

Walking around the lake the day I went into labor;
 I'm framed by blackberry bushes.
Saturday, I was fed up.  We walked around the lake, picking tart blackberries and watching the girls ride their new bikes.  After a lazy afternoon, I was fed up and did something I'd been dying to do for months: I jumped on the trampoline.

My sweet, concerned mother watched anxiously as I bumbled around the trampoline.  I only jumped for a few minutes.  Then I decided to make the most of my time and play with my kids.  I built a "hain hack" (train track) for my son, and then we all played hide and seek. 

We probably played for close to an hour, and during that time, I started having a pain in my guts.  I told my mom about it.  Around dinner time, those pains turned into a single contraction.  I ignored it, but my mom noticed, because I was obviously is some discomfort.

My first four contractions came 30 minutes apart.  Around 8pm, I settled down and watched National Geographic's Life in a Day.  By 9pm, the contractions took my breath away, but they were soooo irregular.  Through the coming hours, they came 10, 5, 15, 20, or 40 (!) minutes apart. I still texted my babysitter to let her know what was up. At 10:40-ish, my contractions changed. They were still inconsistent (though not longer than 15 minutes apart anymore), but they started double peaking.  At 11pm, I texted my sitter again to ask her to come.  By the time she got here, every movement caused a never-ending contraction.

But they were still erratic!  If I sat still, I didn't have one.   Between contractions, I had a brief reprieve when I could rush to grab some last-minute things, or run to the van, or rush into the ER.  The nurse, when she saw me and asked what number baby this was, would not let me walk to labor and delivery.  I tried telling her they were just going to make me walk anyway because my contractions were irregular, but I could barely get that out, so two male nurses rushed me to L&D instead.

Having a contraction while being checked into traige.
As soon as my midwife walked in (coincidentally, she was the same one who delivered Marshall), I told her I wanted an epidural, but when she checked me, I was surprised to find I was dilated to an 8!  I said, "Well, I can go the last two centimeters without medication." (They applauded my decision, of course.)

They wheeled me into their last L&D room, the antenatal room, where a friend of mine stayed for a month once.  They told me to let them know when I felt like pushing.  When I moved from the triage bed into the delivery bed, I had one really big contraction (my only one since being checked), and I said, "I feel like pushing, but I can't dilate two centimeters in one contraction!"  Both the nurse and my midwife said, at the same time, "OH, YES YOU CAN!"  It was funny.

Sure enough, I was fully dilated and my water was ready to break.  I broke that by pushing through my next contraction and that was . . .an experience.  Imagine throwing a water balloon.  Anyway, then, I pushed as hard as I could because I just wanted this baby out!! (And you'd better believe I wanted to find out if it was a boy or a girl!)
Rhoda, brand new.  I pushed her out so quickly, her face bruised.

At 12:21, barely 30 minutes after entering the hospital, I delivered my third baby girl. They tossed her up on my chest just as soon as she was out, and I got to be the first to discover that it was a girl!  Yay!  She weighed 8 pounds even and was 20 inches long. 

Snuggling skin-to-skin.

Because I didn't recieve any antibiotics during my labor (I didn't even get an IV--- totally awesome!)  I had to stay at the hospital for 48 hours.  I've done that before with my first two, but I didn't have to share a room.  I hate sharing a room, and this time I had two indifferent roommates throughout my stay (they didn't even ask me for advice-- crazy ladies), and we had different doctors and nurses, meaning neither of us slept well because they just had to come check our stats at 3am or give our baby her first bath at 5am.  Seriously.  Or as I like to say, Srsly.

My biggest annoyance was that they kept trying to tell me what I needed to do when.  It's like, HELLO, THIS IS MY FOURTH BABY!  I kinda know what I'm doing, ya know?  I slept with her at night, skin-to-skin, even though they told me not to. And I ignored their direction to tell them when I'm nursing her so they can cut her little heel for a stupid blood sample to check her blood sugar level.  I've decided if I ever have another baby, I'm doing it at home or at a midwifery, because I really just want to be left alone.  All I want is someone else to cook for me.  That's all I want anyway, but it's especially handy after having a baby.

Her going-home outfit, at two-days-old.
So, yeah, she's a great baby.  She hardly cries. When she does, it's ear-splitting.  I just love having her around, and I spoil her lots and lots.

Nana and babe.
I missed having Jay around.  My mom was really nervous filling in for him as a "birthing coach", but she held my hand, and it was quick.  She really enjoyed it.  Honestly, I try not to think about him missing this, because it was scary going into it, and it's sad looking back.  I try to make the best of my time-- I'm determined to enjoy every moment I can, because I have this time with our kids, and he doesn't.  I try to document things a little more.  It's blasted hard writing to him now, though.  Four kids exhaust me.

The General took to our new little Cricket quickly.
  Here, he's making a duck face.
Here, I celebrate shredding one of the more annoying layers, a prenatal cradle.