Monday, March 14, 2011

newborn photos!

As you all know, my very good friend Mandy is a fabulous photographer serving the north side Indianapolis and surrounding areas.  She has been so generous with her work and taken beautiful maternity, birth, and now newborn photos of Olivia (not to mention Staci's milestones and some family shots along the way!).  I might be a bit biased since we are such good friends, but I also think her work speaks for itself.  This is a shot of Olivia at 7 days old.  I will cherish these photos forever!  You can see the rest of the 'sneak peek' here.

I have the best husband, seriously.

I just wanted to take a moment and thank my husband publicly for his amazing dad status.  He has spent the last 10 days caring for Staci and taking no breaks, while also helping me with Olivia--and taking care of me!  All the while he has been using nap time and sleep time to finish up his modules (kind of like take home tests) so that he can get his ASA (Associate of the Society of Actuaries).  And now that he only has one question left, he is looking into getting our house refinanced (because selling isn't going so well) so that we can save even more money.  He handles all of Staci's diaper changes and most middle of the night changes for Olivia so all I have to do is get set up to nurse.  Oh, and this morning?  He brought me doughnuts.  My knight in shining armor ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The story of Olivia's birth

On 3/3/2011, I woke up around 6AM with contractions. They weren’t very strong or close together, but I was having them and they were more intense than the Braxton hicks I had been having before. Anastasia and I went about our day, but I took it easy just in case I did start to go into labor. We just snuggled and watched a lot of TV and read books. I sat on the exercise ball and rocked my hips back and forth in an effort to try to get labor going. 

When Max got home from work, we ran a few quick errands and I noticed I was having stronger contractions and they were coming less than 10 minutes apart, and by 10pm they were coming closer to 7 minutes apart. I was having to concentrate through them so I knew at that point labor had finally begun.

It was bedtime, so that is what we did. I sat up and counted contractions and dealt with them on my own. I knew what little sleep Max would get that night would be crucial. I think I was able to snooze in between for a little while, and about 1 I got up and started using different positions like the exercise ball. Around 3am I woke Max up because I really needed the help dealing with them. He started filling the birth tub and helped me through contractions.

A little after 4, Anastasia woke up and we realized we needed help. It was time to call in the reinforcements. He called my mom and she grabbed her things and was here within the hour. All throughout the night I had been texting with my midwife back and forth, and she decided to come around 4:30 and actually beat my mom here. She got her things set up while Max and I labored, and then left us to labor in the dark and quiet. This was one of my favorite things about the labor, there was very little distraction compared to the hospital and I felt completely comfortable in my own home.
By 6, contractions were coming 2-3 minutes apart but they just weren’t getting any longer or increasing in intensity. I called Mandy because I figured the baby would be here by around 10. I was wrong. The majority of my contractions were between 40-60 seconds. It was a slow, easy labor up until this point, but I was still very tired nonetheless and ready for things to progress further so I could hold my baby and be done with this whole labor business. I was having severe back labor and my midwife was convinced Olivia was posterior (she was right). She made some suggestions to help intensify the contractions so we could get the baby out. At this point I still had not seen any bloody show or mucus plug, and my bag of water was still intact.

By now, our entire birthing party had arrived—my mom, midwife, doula, and photographer. Staci thought it was a big party! I continued to labor but things just didn’t seem to be progressing like they had with Staci. I used some of the techniques the midwife suggested and really started to feel a change in the contractions. I walked around, swayed, hung on Max for contractions, walked up and down stairs, sat on the couch and got a foot rub with jasmine oil (nice!! But those contractions sucked LOL) and after a little while went upstairs to our bedroom.

I was really surprised by how hungry and thirsty I was the whole time. I would have been completely miserable at the hospital. I ate and drank through the whole thing and there’s no way I could have labored for so long without that fuel.

Finally, by 10:30, I was starting to get really frustrated. I was exhausted and I felt like things were not progressing the way they should. I finally had my midwife check me to see where we were. I was convinced I was hardly dilated, but thank goodness I was wrong. Midwife said I was 8cms and felt to see what Olivia’s head was doing. She was coming down posterior and in a full military presentation—which means that instead of tucking her chin to her chest she was holding her head straight up, and the widest part of her head was presenting instead of the smallest (crown). The midwife pressed against her head to try to get her to reposition, and also allowed more fluid to fill in the bag so it would put a little more pressure on my cervix in order to get to 10. This whole experience was really terrible pain wise but I’m glad she did it. As soon as I got up I started feeling pressure in my bottom with the very next contraction.

At this point I was teary and upset that I didn’t have a baby yet, and felt so bad for everyone in the birth party that it was taking sooooo long. Per my midwife’s orders, I found the positions that hurt the most and used them for every contraction. Not something I wanted to do at ALL but I was motivated to get Olivia out so I could be done, and I definitely think this helped tremendously. I hung on Max and put one leg up on the bedframe to try and change the opening of the pelvis and help Olivia come down. I walked up and down the stairs sideways as well—but this was really awful pain-wise and even though I wanted the baby out, I could only tolerate that one time.

Shortly after doing the stairs, I began to grunt and push very slightly with contractions. I got back in the birth tub, but found that the contractions I had there I didn’t want to push with. So, I got back out and leaned over the outside of it while I squatted. The urge to push came immediately with the next contraction. The midwife suggested I get into more of a full squat instead of leaning forward—so I was upright and the pushing was even more intense. After just a few of those contractions, I felt Olivia coming down. FINALLY, my water broke and she started to crown. It is lucky she was crowning so soon after my water broke, there was a little meconium so I was in a hurry to get her out so she wouldn’t breathe in any of that. Just a couple of pushes later her head was out, and her shoulders and body were out with the very next push. Olivia was born at 12:35pm on March 4th, 2011.
I was SO happy to finally be done!! Max caught her as she quite literally flew out, and I heard her cry for the first time. He handed her to me and after snapping a couple of pics, Mandy ran out to tell everyone, “She’s here!”. It was so amazing to get to hold her immediately after her birth. She was completely covered in vernix—so sticky and waxy and weird but I really did not care! Because my water didn’t break until she was coming out, I was losing both amniotic fluid and blood at the same time, but my midwife thought it was ALL blood. She immediately administered a shot of pitocin and something else to stop bleeding (can’t remember what she called it) and also had her ammonia thing for me to smell in case I passed out. I knew instinctually it wasn’t as bad as I could tell she thought it was—I did not feel woozy or shaky or weird like I would if I really were losing too much blood.
The placenta was delivered very shortly after the birth, and we noticed how short and thin the umbilical cord was. This is when we figured out why the labor was the way it was. Olivia spent the whole time stretching out the cord so she could come out without ripping the placenta off the wall of my uterus. We do think that is what happened in the end, but I think my body had already started to clamp down on those blood vessels. Also, this is why it hurt so much when she came out as opposed to having Staci, which didn’t hurt hardly at all. I was pushing out a baby who was bringing her placenta with her.

After examining the placenta, my midwife realized what she thought had been all blood was really also a lot of fluid, and my blood loss was within normal limits. Also, it had a subculate lobe, which may mean there was another baby there in the very beginning. I think it’s really cool that you can tell that just from looking at the placenta. 

One of the best things about having the homebirth was getting into the herb bath shortly after the birth. The herbs were very soothing and helped fight swelling. It also smelled wonderful! I brought Olivia in with me and the midwife showed me how to hold her in it. I cradled her head in my hands, careful to keep her ears out of the water. The rest of her body floated and she adjusted herself—like a little mini instinctual chiropractic adjustment. It was SO cool to watch! My hour old baby was a pro at maneuvering herself in water—fancy that.

While I finished soaking, they weighed Olivia and did all her measurements. Her head was 14”, 20.75” long, 7lbs9oz.

Big sister Staci is adjusting beautifully and loving her little sister. We are on cloud nine!

Olivia is here!!

On March 4th, 2011 at 12:35pm, Olivia Charlotte was born.  She weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and was 20 and 3/4 inches long.  She came to us after a long labor and I had to work to get her to come out--but it was worth it!!  Mandy took some beautiful photographs of the labor and birth, and put together this amazing slideshow for us.  Stay tuned for the birth story!