Here we are, working through labor around 9am; I am on my birth ball =)
I'm not going to lie, the car ride was horrible. I was into transition and was also experiencing carpolpedal spasms in my hands and face. I could not relax my hands and they were in this frankensteinesque position, nor could I relax my face, so it was in a permanent "O" shape. The car ride down was the fastest one I have ever had with Tim. He is a very good driver, very conscience of everything and extra safe. I was never scared, but I'm very glad he has code 3 driving practice. Right around Gopher Canyon Rd. I told him I thought I needed to push and we started going even faster. What I noticed during these intense transitional contractions was if I pushed, just a little- more like just flexed my abdominal muscles, it actually helped take an edge off the intensity. I know you're not supposed to push until you're at 10cm, but these small "pressures" that I elicited on the uterus really helped me work through the contractions; they were now 3 minutes apart. Thanks to Tim's connections at Palomar, we were greeted by a sweet tech who wheeled me in a wheelchair into L&D. I don't remember too much of that ride! Once we got to our room, there were like 5 nurses who made me sign paperwork and stripped me down, threw a hospital gown on me and checked my cervix. I was so happy when they said I was at 8 cm. I was still nervous that we would get down there and I would be at 5- just knowing the worst was still to come! But no, I was an 8 and that was a relief. Because I was so far along, they didn't draw blood, nor did they force an IV. Although they didn't look at our birth plan until after delivery, I did have to suffer through a fetal heart monitor for a while. At least I could stand up and be mobile, and I was concentrating too much to worry about it. By the time we were all checked in and it was just Tim and me in the room, it was about 10am. I wanted to walk around a little bit and dance with Tim. Contractions slowed again and I became nervous that labor would stop. Thankfully, I remembered that sometimes, after transition, the good Lord gives us women a "rest period" before the pushing phase. I just enjoyed being able to sway with my husband, there were a few contractions until about 10:40ish. There was still an enormous amount of pressure and as we were dancing, I told Tim that I felt like I needed to push, which I did and my water broke all over our feet. It was surprising and felt wonderful for me (not so much for Tim). At that point in time, I NEEDED to lay down. Contractions were now coming fast and the doctor came in about 5 minutes. He checked me and said to push when I was ready. I liked the doctor because he helped me deliver. With my midwife, it was all on me, but Dr. Chavez helped me to let the contraction build and then bear down. With my midwife, I didn't know what to do and didn't really get a lot of input. Dr. Chavez also really helped make an opening for Gracen in stretching me out while I pushed, I just felt like things were going really well. I kinda lost it at the end, I had been very kind and thanking all the nurses and techs even though I was deep into labor, but right at the delivery, I was unable to keep it together. At this point, Tim's mom was over my right shoulder,Tim was right at my right ear, a nurse was to his right, the doctor was in front of me, another nurse was to the left, and my mom was at my left side. Everyone was really encouraging me and saying "push" and "you're almost there" and I felt frustrated because I was trying my best to push. I also felt like people were yelling at me and I was starting to feel overwhelmed, so when everyone was urging me, I just shouted "STOP IT!!!" after the second push. Tim knew what was happening and started whispering in my ear. During the third push, I blacked out for a second. I opened my eyes and heard everyone urging me to push again and I looked up and said "I just disappeared, I went somewhere" I was out for like a half second, but I felt like I could have been gone a half hour. I awoke to find I wasn't doing anything effective anymore, so I waited for the fourth push and as the doctor said "Go, go, the baby's crowning, it's crowning" I pushed with all my strength and delivered Gracen.
Here you can see my facial spasm posture as Tim helps me through a contraction:
Our beautiful family photo, we have almost the exact one of Madeleine too, complete with tearful Dada.I know this may sound bizarre, but it's true: when they gave me Gracen, I really didn't mind getting all smeared up with blood. I had blood all over my face from her head and although it may be visceral, I kinda liked the warmth of it as I held my newborn child. I didn't want anyone else to touch her, even though she was a little blue and needed to be rubbed. Once I saw that she wasn't as pink and crying as she should be, I started to rub her and get her skin-to-skin as quickly as possible. I also breastfed her within the first 15 minutes or so, after getting stitched up (probably the worst part of it all). Thankfully, Tim detoured the nurse from giving me a shot of pitocin after delivery. I guess they do it to help the uterus contract? Sheesh, so many interventions to dodge at the hospital...Tim really helped keep the birth natural by insisting our birth plan be followed for post-delivery, driving me down to deliver just in time and encouraging me in our desire for natural delivery. It's hard for me, but sometimes harder for him to watch me, feeling somewhat helpless as his wife is in pain. The fact that he stays strong and sober-minded even through the intensity of delivery attests to his love for me, wanting to be a rock upon which I can break.
Tim helps give Grace her first bath and clothes her:
our newest princess: Gracen November
born November 13th at 11:05am weighing 8lbs. 11oz and measuring 21 in.We chose Grace a long time ago. Madeleine was almost a Grace. But I wanted a formalized name, a two-syllable name. We already had a Madeleine, so Gracelyn was out. Graceland was just a little too honkey-tonk and I couldn't get behind Graciela. I don't know how I thought of it, but I just added an 'n' to Grace. I then googled the name and it came up as the style name for a J. Crew bridesmaid dress. I figured it was, therefore, obscure enough to be fashionable, but classic enough to match her sister's old-fashioned name as well. We call her Gracen, Grace or Gracie depending on our preference.
Big sister Madeleine has handled the adaptation beautifully. She loves "ba-ba" and shares her stuffed animals. She is gentle and tender with her pats and kisses. I don't know why I worried, for she has the sweetest little heart and loveliest disposition.
A family of four!
sweet baby, who looks a lot like her sister's baby pictures:
MJ shares "Soulja" monkey with baby Grace:
the love of my life and our baby:
Tim found this shirt at a thrift store as a high-schooler; it reads "Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy"- so true =)We are blessed beyond measure, and I really have to praise God for our healthy baby. She is awesome. We are very happy with the gift God gave us in precious little Grace.