Saturday, April 19, 2014

Edwin Alexander

My whole labor experience began on Wednesday March 26th in the evening. Sacramento (and specifically Lincoln and Roseville) were under a tornado warning. Despite this, we went to dinner at Olive Garden with our awesome friends Jared and Lindsey Joyner and their two children Christian and Leila. Jared and Lindsey both made their cases for how awesome they would be at coaching labor and volunteered to be back up coaches if we needed it :)

I had contractions about 10-15 minutes apart all evening. At first I didn't think much of it because I had been having false labor earlier in the week which would only last for two hours or so and then fade away. They would be braxton hicks contractions - tight but not painful - and definitely not progressive. This time my contractions lasted all through dinner and even when we went home they didn't stop.

That night I had a few contractions that woke me up. By 5am on Thursday the 27th I was wide awake and could not fall back asleep. Still my contractions were just 10 minutes apart.

Michelle O'Keefe arrived around 8am to take me to my last prenatal checkup since this was my due date! We were excited about my contractions and hoped that it meant the baby would really be born that day.

At the doctor's office my contractions continued. The physician said it definitely sounded like I was in early labor. I had her strip my membranes, which I was SURE would just quicken things along.

Michelle and I went back to the house, took a walk around the block with Jon, Kate and Margo, then after lunch I took a nap, and that afternoon Michelle and I went to the Galleria where we walked around for hours and hours hoping to get my labor going more.


After eating pineapple, a huge bowl of curly fries, bouncing up and down, browsing through 10ish stores, and thoroughly wearing myself out, it was clear that this baby was not going anywhere soon.

We went back home for dinner and then Jon and I took Kate over to the Kester's to visit with their kiddos for a couple hours and Judith insisted on having me try a peeling cucumber face mask. It was pretty awesome and made my skin moisturized and smooth! We watched some YouTube videos and had a good time relaxing while my contractions continued.

That night Jon and I stayed up until about 11pm and my contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart. But I had been advised not to come in until they were 5-7 minutes apart for at least an hour and were so painful that I couldn't walk or talk through them. That was definitely NOT how these contractions were. I was getting bummed out since Michelle and her fam had planned to go back to Washington the next day.

I woke up Friday morning the 28th with NO contractions.

I wasn't super impatient yet about having the baby, but I had really wanted Michelle to be there. She came over in the morning and we went out for some last shopping excursions before she had to head home after lunch. At this point I was really sad and was starting to feel overwhelmed about not having any plans for someone being in the hospital with me when the baby was to be born. I just tried to be happy about the extra time I had to spend with Kate and finished some sewing projects :) It really ended up being a good end to the week, even though the new baby was being frustrating!

On Friday and Saturday both I had the same false labor in the evenings that I had previous to my due date. Just a couple hours and nothing exciting. I sent a text to our Primary President to let her know we would be at church to teach our 8 year olds on Sunday after all. She told me we would be blessed for teaching and that my labor would probably start at 4:30pm the next day (we get out of church at 4). I told her that I hoped she was right!

Sunday, March 30, we woke up early to prep for a friend's baby blessing in Roseville. I decided that I wasn't going to let the day get me down, even though I KNEW I was going to have a million questions and comments from people about why the baby wasn't here yet ... *sigh* I curled my hair, tried to still dress cute, and off we went to the baby blessing for Liam Barnett.

The blessing was beautiful and it was really sweet to hear our friend's testimonies. My contractions were going all morning and during church about 8-10 minutes apart. When we got home about 11am I took a nap since our ward doesn't meet until 1pm. My contractions continued and I just felt exhausted :( I woke up for lunch, laid on the couch, and almost told Jon that if things continued this way I didn't think I could make it past sacrament meeting. I just felt gross and wanted to go back to bed. But we team teach primary and we have to be together, so I decided to tough it out.

We made it to church and thankfully got to sit with Whitney and Louis Mariner and their kids Lucy and Crew. They shared snacks with Kate and she also sat with our friends the Fahnings for a little bit and their girls made her a rainbow loom necklace. So spoiled!

Throughout primary my contractions were definitely closer. They were tight, but nothing to cry over. I timed them at 5 minutes apart all the way through sharing time. At the end of the day, our Primary President asked the kids to pray for me to have the baby soon and that it would be healthy :) I appreciated that so much!

We went home and I immediately went back to bed. I couldn't fall asleep with all my contractions and at 5:07pm I started timing them. I wrote in my journal and Jon made waffles for dinner. I continued to have contractions 5 minutes apart until around 7:30 when Jon finally convinced me to call the Labor & Delivery department at Kaiser. I had mixed feelings about going in to be monitored because I didn't want them to just send me home. I called Judith to ask her how her contractions felt with baby #2. I was definitely out of breath during my contractions, but in between I felt great! Judith agreed with Jon that this sounded like the real deal and that I should go in.

We took Kate over to the Kester's house and I stayed in the car because I was feeling really uncomfortable. Getting in and out of the car was such a hassle.

On the way to the hospital from there, Jon and I talked about how I expected the whole labor process to feel a lot more hectic and stressful. I know it's not like what you see on TV, but I still felt like I would have more of a sense of urgency. We got to the Labor triage center and they hooked me up to some monitors. My contractions started coming 2-3 minutes apart and were definitely stronger. It was nice to hear the baby's heartbeat. The nurses let us know that I was dilated to a 3. The baby was getting stressed and because my contractions were so close it wasn't giving baby enough time to recover. They wanted to admit me to a delivery room and put me on oxygen and IV fluids to stabilize the baby. At this point my pain was probably around a 3 or 4. Not horrible, but definitely not comfortable.
It turned out that the baby had great timing since I got to be checked into the hospital still in my church dress, legs shaved, hair curled and makeup done ;)

I walked with Jon and the nurse down to our room and we got settled in around 9pm. I used the bathroom and thought maybe my water broke, but after a check we found it was still in tact. After a failed attempt to have an IV put in my right hand (which got a big bump and major bruise for a few days) they got me hooked up on the left side and I got to wear a sweet oxygen mask.

Our friend Nicolette who had been planning to come hang out with us at the house that night, came to the hospital instead! Slight detour :) She was very fun and kept the mood light.

I had also asked Jon to contact the Joyner's when we were in the triage center. I felt the distinct impression that it was foolish to not take them up on their offer to be back up labor coaches, and because of the timing I thought it would work out with their kids going to bed. Besides, I wasn't sure how jazzed Nicolette would be about staying in the room to watch me have a baby when it came down to it.

Jon put on some music (my awesome hospital playlist on my ipod) and that really helped me feel better. I had something to listen to with contractions, and Jon and Nicolette were really good about keeping things quiet when I had a contraction. The nurses kept the lights in the room dimmed, which I appreciated. We found that the baby was happier when I was on my left side, so I tried to stay comfortable and turned to stabilize the heartbeat.

After about an hour my contractions were getting much stronger and I had to hold the bed rail and moan through them. I was able to concentrate and breathe, but they were definitely starting to hurt more than I was happy with. I let the nurses know that I did want an epidural, so I was ok with getting it as soon as we knew the baby was happy. At about 10:30pm the anesthesiologist came in and got me all hooked up. AMAZING. What I appreciate most is that I can still feel what's going on and I could still move my feet. I could tell when I was having contractions, but it took away the really bad cramping and aching feeling.

Lindsey came in right after my epidural and we were able to talk about my evening and visit for a little while.

The nurses checked me again around 11pm and I was at a 6/7. My water broke on its own and I continued to just labor and listen to music for about an hour.

It was pretty busy in the delivery room considering that we have nurses checking in on us and prepping a million things as well as filling out paperwork and getting everything ready for post-birth. They also wanted to keep a close monitor on baby and between shift changes and everything else we really didn't have a lot of down time and the whole process went really quickly. They were as least invasive as possible, but then again you are in a hospital with a million tubes and things strapped and taped to you, so it's not really like a day spa experience ;)

I started to feel like the baby was REALLY low. I felt a lot more aware of everything going on than I did when Kate was born. I think part of it was that this time I knew what to expect, but also my epidural was in for a much longer time with Kate and I had fallen asleep on one side for a couple hours which made my whole right leg dead when she was born. This time I was a lot more sensitive and I knew that this baby was ready to be born. I had the nurses check me at 12:30am and they confirmed I was at a 10 and that the baby was "right there". They got everything prepped quickly and when there was a moment that they were all out of the room, Jon, Nicolette, Lindsey and I said a prayer together.

Jon felt ok with staying in the room which made me feel so much more safe and comforted :) He stayed up by my head and held my left hand. Lindsey helped me on the left side, and Nicolette also decided to stay in the room with us. When I felt a contraction peak I started to push, and it took me a couple times to get the hang of it again. No one was counting - which I was sort of waiting for! So when I realized that was not going to happen I just tried to count to myself and go for 3 pushes with each contraction.

After two contractions I asked if the baby was crowning and it already was! I pushed a couple more times and Nicolette said, "Oh my gosh, there's a baby!" haha, like we didn't know what was going to happen :) It really is amazing though when you are having this surreal experience of being in the hospital and you've been pregnant for so long it doesn't really feel like it's happening and then there's actually a BABY there! I felt like I should keep pushing and so I asked if I could keep going even without waiting for the next contraction and they all said, "yes!" With a couple more pushes the baby was out.

Jon said, "I was right - it's a boy!" and when they handed him to me I immediately started crying. It was one of the best experiences of my life! Definitely love at first sight. I loved having Jon right there with me, and I looked at him and said, "we have a SON!" He smiled and kissed me. Giving birth is the most indescribably awesome feeling in the world.

After only 10/ish minutes of pushing, this fine sir was born on Monday morning, March 31, 2014 at 1:09 am

He weighed 8lb 6oz and was 21 inches long with a 14 inch head circumference.

Edwin is Jon's great-grandfather's name, and Alexander was a name we liked that just flowed perfectly with it.

We found that the name Edwin has Teutonic roots (being Old English and Scandinavian) and means "rich friend" while Alexander is Greek in origin and means "helper of men".

If you follow Jon's writing blog (which you should) you will see that he recently posted about giving titles to your work. This new little man is no exception, and I know he has a lot to live up to :) We wanted him to have an awesome unique name that he could grow up with! So far the name Edwin just fits him perfectly.


While we were in the hospital, Kate had an awesome time with the Kester family!
Of course she's always happiest with a book:

She and Gavin had a great time playing outside before it rained:

 Gavin told Kate that this is where Ninja Turtles live:


When we came home the next day, Kate got to meet her little brother! This is Kate signing "baby".

Now Edwin is almost 3 weeks old.
He is a lot more alert during the day and starts to focus on our faces sometimes. He also has little smiles and I love them!

I am super enjoying this baby time. I just love to hold him all day!

Kate has been an awesome big sister. Super helpful and a little mom already! She loves to pat Edwin's back with me when he burps and tries to give him his pacifier when he cries. Kate likes to hold her baby brother and will sign "milk" when I nurse him.

Our whole family is really enjoying the new addition!

My recovery has been going well too. I officially gained 33lbs while pregnant with Edwin. I feel like I'm bouncing back well, but not quite as fast as I did with Katherine. My recovery has been way easier and I felt better faster, but I haven't lost all my weight yet and I'm really not worried about it at all :) With Kate I had only gained 18lbs, so it made my recovery "look" like a breeze, even though I felt much worse coming home from the hospital with her and couldn't go on walks for a few weeks.

My goals these days are small and manageable. I try to accomplish one thing per day and give myself plenty of time to not feel overwhelmed (like with sending out baby announcements and prepping for Jon's birthday). Overall it's been so fun having 2 sweet kids! I love being able to spend my days at home with them just feeding them, giving baths, changing diapers and having playtime. It's so rewarding, and I really think if I could just do this every day forever and nothing else, I would be plenty happy :)

Welcome to our world, Edwin Alexander!
We're excited to have you join us on our adventures.

1 comment:

Brittany Lewis said...

Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. I loved reading it. Edwin is a beautiful baby. I'm so happy that everything went well!!