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I feel like I’ve opened a daycare.  A daycare that only takes in my offspring, but a daycare none-the-less.

Here’s just a glimpse into what my day looks like.  This is an example of “a picture is worth 1000 words”.  It happened when Jeff brought the 3 oldest boys up to the hospital to meet Baby Ben and we tried to get a picture of the 4 of them.

4Brothers

Our 4th child – Benjamin James was born yesterday!

BenjaminCollage

(Note: This a very girl-friendly post, so if you don’t like reading things like ‘dilated’ and ‘cervix’, this would be a good post to skip.  No hard feelings!  If you like these types of posts, you can also read the birth stories of Phinehas, Stephen and Samuel.)

Tuesday, June 21st 

I had been having contractions over the last couple of weeks – even going to Labor & Delivery to get checked out last Saturday.  Turns out I was mostly dehydrated and my uterus was irritated, hence the contractions.  A couple of big containers of water and they would stop.  On Tuesday, I had my scheduled appointments with the perinatologist and my OB.  The previous week, I was dilated to a 2 and was the same on Saturday.  So I was looking forward to seeing if I had made any move forward.

1:45 AM – Sammy woke up in the middle of the night.  That isn’t typical for him, but 1/2 a bottle later, and he was asleep again.  I, however, was not.  I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I went to sleep on the couch.

Eventually, unable to sleep, I turned on the TV to watch Netflix and ate some soup.  I was having contractions again, but they felt different – they weren’t “full abdomen” contractions like I’ve had in past labors.  The contractions were low.  Some were painful, but not majorly so.  So I made a conscious effort to drink lots of water in case it was dehydration again.

5:15 AM – I was sitting watching TV and felt a big gush.  My water had broken!  Luckily I was on the leather sofa, which is easier to ‘clean’ than a bed!  It felt like A LOT of water.  With Stephen’s birth (my other labor where my water broke before being in the hospital), I don’t think it broke completely – just started leaking, but this time, it seemed like a full break!  I rushed to the bathroom, waking up Jeff on the way.  Called my mom, who was going to come over to watch the boys.  Called my doctor, who was out of town and spoke to his partner and she agreed that I should go to the hospital.

6:00 AM – Got to Labor & Delivery and got signed in.  In our room by 6:10.  Paperwork done with the nurses around 6:30.

7:00 AM – The nurse checked me because my contractions were not strong.  Had my water not broken, I wouldn’t have even been timing them or giving them too much thought.  I was still only dilated to a 2, 50% effaced and baby wasn’t descended (at a -3 station).

7:30 AM – Because he had been suspected to be breech before and they couldn’t detect where the head was, they did a quick ultrasound to confirm that he was head down. Not breech!  No need for a c-section!  They decided to start me on pitocin in hopes of getting the contractions going that would push him down.

8:00 AM – Started the pitocin at a dosage of 1.  They increased the dosage every 1/2 hour by 1, so 8:30, I was at a dose of 2 and at 9:00, I was at a dose of 3.

9:10 AM – Contractions started to be painful.  They weren’t very close together and they weren’t very long, but they were painful.  By 9:30, the pitocin was increased to a 4, which is as high as we ever got.  The nurse put in the order for the epidural.

10:15 AM – The anesthesiologist arrived and got the epidural in on the first try!  For a couple of my births, it took a few different tries.  Contractions were strong and I was crying at this point – somewhat from the pain, somewhat from the pitocin, but also just from the pure emotion of it all.  And once a hormonal woman starts crying, you just gotta let her cry!

10:30 AM – The nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 5, 80% effaced and baby had moved head down to a -1 station.  Good progress in the right direction.  We placed ‘bets’ for when baby would be born.  Jeff said: 11:43, I said 12:05 and the nurse predicted 12:15.

11:34 AM – The nurse turned off the pitocin.  Baby’s heartbeat had always been tricky to find – meaning it was easy to find and it measured well, but he moved just enough just often enough that they had to keep re-adjusting the monitors.  And they didn’t really like the way that his movement was steady – they expected more ups & downs just because of contractions.  The doctor was called in to check me.  I was dilated to an 8, but was really ‘squishy’ (whatever that means), so they decided to deliver.  This was mostly based upon my history that in the last 3 births, I never had to push very long.

11:53 AM – After 4 sets of 3 pushes (maybe 10 minutes worth?), Benjamin was born!  Turns out he was posterior (sunny side up), which can be more painful than face down, but since I had an epidural, it wasn’t a big deal for me!

After – He was put on my chest right away and we did skin-to-skin for an hour.  They didn’t even really rub him off majorly and didn’t weigh or measure him for about an hour.  They did put that little hat on him, but that was it – it was mostly us cuddling on the bed.  We tried to breastfeed around 12:30 and got a good latch (a first for me!)  He was very awake and alert and has lots of hair (although it’s very light).

Of course, they did eventually weigh him and measure him.  His stats:

  • Weight: 6 pounds 12 ounces, making him my 3rd smallest baby (which is ‘funny’ because a week before birth an ultrasound estimated him a 7 lbs, 7 ounces, which would’ve made him my biggest baby).
  • Length: 20 inches
  • Head circumference: 13.5 inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

38 weeks!

Summary:  Still pregnant, despite some really strong contractions this weekend.  Contractions that clearly didn’t go anywhere.  Beyond that, here’s what’s happened (so far) this 38th week of pregnancy.

Monday, I went to the hospital for a version

  • Since Baby had been breech the week before, I checked into the hospital yesterday for a version.  They did a quick ultrasound and confirmed: baby wasn’t breech anymore.  I suspected that was the case, but I didn’t want to be wrong, so I kept the appointment anyway.  They sent me home – no big deal!

Today, I went to my OB:

  • Since I’m a stay-at-home mom now, I got a babysitter for my kids since I had back-to-back doctor’s appointments.  But I decided to take my oldest, Finn (4 years old), with me and the babysitter kept the youngest two.
  • Easy peasy doctor’s appointment!
  • Baby’s heartbeat was in the 140s.
  • My blood pressure was good.
  • Baby was still head down.
  • I was down 2 pounds again, but not concerned.
  • I was dilated at 2 centimeters (aka: no change), but now 50% effaced.
  • My doctor is out of town starting Thursday through Wednesday, so he again reminded me that if I go into labor then, it will be one of his partners that will deliver me.

Today, I saw my perinatologist:

  • A super quick appointment.  Finn and I had an hour to wait in between appointments, so we enjoyed some cheese, chocolate milk and a salad from the hospital dining room in between appointments.
  • At the appointment, they were able to get the measurements that they needed really quickly and saw that everything was fine with baby.
  • My perinatologist still recommend inducing end of next week when my OB gets back as that is week 39 and I’m AMA (Advanced Maternal Age).  aka: old.  I still hope that I go on my own before then.

37 weeks!

Well, I was wrong about the baby being born on June 11th.  Here it is June 12th and he isn’t born yet.  Tis okay, because I’m just officially today at 38 weeks, but this post is supposed to be about last week – week 37!

 

This was week was a little more exciting than last week – it was my last week of work! It feels surreal in many ways – it hasn’t fully sunk in yet.  I’ll try to post more about that later, but it doesn’t feel real to me yet.  (How could it?  It hasn’t even been a full weekend!)

Tuesday, I went to my regular OB.  

  • Baby’s heartbeat was in the 130s and I was measuring on track.
  • Baby was head up again (breech)!  We discussed what to do and given the fact that I think he flip flops around a lot, we decided to wait to schedule a version until week 39 at which time, we’ll try to flip him, but also then immediately induce.
  • Unfortunately, my OB is out of town from the end of my week 38 to the end of my week 39, making the induction scheduled really close to 40 weeks.
  • The ‘downside’ to that is that if I do go into labor on my own before then, it’ll likely be a c-section.  They just don’t train doctors to do a vaginal breech delivery anymore.  He’s comfortable doing so, but any ‘younger’ doctors that I’d have to see since he’s out of town, wouldn’t be comfortable doing so.
  • YUCK to that!  Another option, if I do go into labor, breech and he’s out of town is to ask for my perinatologist – Dr. B.  He normally wouldn’t be involved in my delivery, but he has seen me and he’d be comfortable with a breech vaginal delivery (assuming, of course, there aren’t any other reasons to do a c-section).  So I’ll keep that card in my back pocket.
  • My weight was down 6 pounds, which gave them concerns.  But, in reality, I think it was just freakishly high by 6 pounds the week before and now is back to normal.  They seemed to accept that.
  • I’m still just dilated to a ‘2’, but now about 25th effaced instead of 20% effaced.  Not much progress and again, not a sign of anything.

Wednesday, I scheduled a version.

  • As I thought about it the rest of Tuesday, I didn’t like the decision to wait until week 39 to try to flip baby.  I just thought the chances were too good that I’d go into labor on my own before then and I want to minimize the chances of a c-section.
  • So I called my doctor and asked for a version to be scheduled earlier than that.  He agreed, so one is scheduled for Monday (tomorrow), the beginning of week 38.
  • There’s always the chance that we won’t be able to flip baby.  There’s always a chance that baby will flip back to being breech.  Heck, there’s always a chance that by Monday’s appointment, he’ll have flipped on his own and we won’t need to do one.
  • But I wanted to do what I could to increase my chances of not having a c-section.

Thursday, I went to the perinatologist.

  • I had a student do my ultrasound/biophysical, so it took a little longer than normal.  A regular technician did some measurements too (and the perinatologist himself always looks around), but everything looked good!
  • My amniotic fluids weren’t measuring high anymore (but they had only barely been high before) and we didn’t have any problems ‘catching him breathe’.
  • They estimate him to be at 7 1/2 pounds – 50th percentile.  Not small.  Not big.  Just right!
  • Baby was head down now.  Not fully engaged (aka: as low as he could be) and was a little off to the side, but he wasn’t breech.
  • So: Tuesday’s appointment: breech.  Thursday’s appointment: not breech. Flip flopping!  But I’m keeping my appointment for the version on Monday.

Exciting week with lots of flip flopping!  Just keep waiting – things always change!

36 weeks!

Here we go — time for the final countdown!  Except, well, I don’t know when the countdown will end.  But it feels that way.  Here’s when I’d normally have started going to the doctor once a week.

Except…I’m old.  So I have to go twice a week.  Once for the normal OB.  And once for the perinatologist.

Tuesday, I went to my regular OB.  

  • Once again, uneventful.
  • Heartbeat was in the 130s.
  • Baby was head down-ish.  He was a little off to the side, but still head down — just not perfectly up & down.
  • I’m dilated to a ‘2’, but well, that’s not anything as you can be a ‘2’ for weeks.  And weeks.  And weeks.  About 20% effaced.  Which again, you can be for weeks.
  • They took blood to test my iron levels and my platelet counts.
  • My weight is up 6 pounds!  6 pounds in 2 weeks!!!!  Course, this is after gaining a total of 2 pounds over like 2 months, so I guess I was due for some weight gain.
  • My blood pressure is where it should be.  I still have major swelling in my feet (now both instead of just the left), but it isn’t in my face or hands (my rings still fit), so it’s normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Thursday (today), I went to the perinatologist.

  • This was my first time having the biophysical ultrasound.  Took a little longer than the ultrasounds that I’ve had with his office – probably as long as the anatomy ultrasound that you have at 20 weeks.  With this ultrasound, they were looking for specific things to get an idea of how fast/slow the placenta is aging.  Looking at baby’s movement & heartbeat, placenta bloodflow, and baby’s practice breathing, and amount of amniotic fluid.
  • Most everything looked good!  Baby moved well, bloodflow was good and his heartbeat was good.
  • They estimate size and he’s just under 7 pounds, which is at about 50th percentile.  That’s great!  My biggest baby so far has been 7 pounds, 7 ounces.
  • It did take a while to see him “take breaths”.  I had to turn on my side before they were able to catch that on ultrasound.  No big deal, they said – that can happen and is hard to catch sometimes.
  • One imperfect thing is that my amniotic fluid was actually high, not low.  It was very borderline, just barely too high.  My perinatologist wasn’t too worried about it and will keep an eye on it.  Dr. Google says that can cause pre-term birth, but I’m not worried about that because I’m only 3 days away from being full-term.
  • The other imperfect thing is that Baby is now breech.  He wasn’t on Tuesday, but he definitely was today.  There’s still time for him to turn on his own – obviously, he’s flipped in the last couple of days.  So we’ll keep an eye on it, but eventually, if he stays breech, I’m looking at a c-section or trying to flip him.  My normal OB will make that decision in future weeks.
  • Then they hooked me up to the monitors to track heartbeats.
  • All in all, the appointment took about an hour.

I’m predicting that the baby will be born on June 11th.  For no other reason that my last day of work is next Friday, June 10th.  It’d be good to finish work, then have the baby.  That will be at 38 weeks, so that’s perfect!

Our little Sammy is starting to exhibit his personality more and more. Having 2 older siblings, I can’t help compare his personality & actions to his brothers. He seems more like Finn than Stephen – in terms of stubbornness and seeking out the company of others. Stephen prefers to be by himself quite a bit more where Finn always wants to be right there with you. Right now, Sammy is fascinated with his brothers and is always watching. He’ll just follow us room to room.

But…he’s also my first thumb sucker. That’s been unique to him.  He’s only been doing it for a couple of months, but he’s my first to do so. It only happens when he’s sleepy. If one of us is holding him (like upright on our hip), then he’ll suck his thumb. If he’s laying down in his crib, then he tends to suck on a couple of his finger.

I particularly like feeding him his last bottle of the day, right before bed. As I’m holding him in the recliner in his room, he’ll hold his own bottle, drink as much as he wants, then he’ll drop it. He’ll roll over onto his stomach to curl up on my chest. He’ll put 2 fingers in his mouth and start sucking. If I don’t start patting his back, he’ll reach back around and pat it himself as if reminding me of my job. It’s just adorable. It’s a good moment in a good phase of life.

Have you seen the Chewbacca lady on YouTube? I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, check out her hilariousness!

A friend of mine posted an interview she did by her pastor at her church and she had a couple of points (made to students) that really resonated with me:

She gives 2 words of advice at the very end. Something like this:
“Have patience. Have those moments where you wait upon the voice of the Lord. Don’t rush into a ministry or opportunity because it seems shiny.”
I can see myself doing this. As I transition to being a stay-at-home mom, I can envision all the new opportunities that I could have. I could actually join a Women’s Bible Study now! I could attend a mom’s group. I could volunteer with a ministry. I didn’t have time for any of those before. Most of the Women’s Bible Studies & Mom’s group met when I was working.

I gotta have patience and not grab onto the shiny things just for the sake of shiny.
“Have obedience. When He tells you to move, move. When He tells you to stop, stop. When He tells you ‘indulge in the delights of my table’, indulge. But when He tells you ‘that’s not yours, you can’t have it’, step away.”
This is where I’m at. He’s told me to step away from working. Left to my own decision, I might not be stepping away. Or I might pursue working, but in a different way than I have been. Working, for now, is something that I feel God saying “That’s not yours, you can’t have it, step away” and so, stepping away I am. And I don’t say that lightly. I’m not a big “God told me” kind of person…I just feel like this is where He’s leading me.

So..hi ho, hi ho, it’s away from work I go!

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