Monday, December 6, 2010

30 Before 30: # 23 Have Another Baby

I must say, this is a sizable task to mark off my 30 Before 30 list, but what a joy to finally have our baby here! In the interest of time (which is scarce these days) I will post mostly pictures and try to keep the birth story short. You can read about Madeleine's birth here, but I was very nervous that Gracen's labor would be like Mads'. So when I went into "true" (read: working) labor on November 12th around 6pm, I didn't get too excited. We did call our moms to let them know, because they were going to be at the delivery and Madeleine would need child care from my aunt and cousin. At around 6pm, we were feeding Mads and getting her ready for bed. I had to stop and sway and rotate my hips to work through contractions, which were about 7 minutes apart. Tim and I sat down to eat and watch a movie, but I couldn't really concentrate on the movie and I didn't really want to eat. I was very nervous when labor slowed around 10pm, right as we went to bed. I was nervous that we would labor all night and still not deliver for a few days. Even though I was able to sleep, I could feel a persistent achiness and dull fire in the entire top of my thighs. It felt like really bad menstrual crampiness, it was a time of rest, but not truly restful. Around 2am, I started having working contractions again. I could not sleep and was starting to get restless. I labored all morning with contractions getting closer to 5 minutes around 8am. At that time, we called my mom to come over and take care of Mads, helping to feed her and play with her. I was starting to become a concern for her, so we wanted my mom there to take her to Nani's house in case she was scared. At this point I was "singing" through every contraction. It was more like a long "ooooooooooooooooooooooohhh oooooooooooh" and Madeleine kept inquiring "Mama?" "Mama?" from the other room. Tim told her I was singing and she would come in periodically to point at my birth ball, saying "ball". I would tell her I loved her and my mom read to her and played in the play room since I really didn't want her with me during transition. Tim was, of course, my perfect labor partner and always by my side. He helped keep me hydrated and timed my contractions and made sure we were all packed and ready to go. He didn't want us to get to the hospital too soon, but he also didn't want to deliver on the side of the 15 South; he timed our departure perfectly. I was alternatively sitting on my birth ball rotating my hips and standing up with my arms on the dresser rotating. I think I got the idea to rock and roll my hips from a belly dancing woman who said she danced right through her labor. I was very tired right before we left, so I laid down to rest on the bed, but my contractions slowed, so I got back up on my birth ball. This time, I noticed that I found stronger "rituals" to help me through labor. (BTW- the best book on delivery we have read is Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner, she talks about rituals). One thing I did with Gracen was to moan through the contraction. Somewhat embarrassing and, I am sure, annoying for those hearing, but it helped me. I also started briskly rubbing my hand on something as I worked through a contraction. When I laid down, it was my pillow; in the car ride, it was my knee; in the hospital, it was the bed. I used the fingers of my bladed hand to create a warm friction as I rubbed quickly and it seemed to help me focus through the contraction. Something about the vigorous movement helped me as contractions got intense.
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:
ooey-gooey goodness:
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.
Love, Lauren


Charlotte Mathis said...

Beautiful baby, lovely family! So where is the list of 30 before 30?

Unknown said...

I just love her so much. She's so beautiful. I am so blessed that you have welcomed me into your life so I can be your friend but also because I get to know your beautiful girls :) I love them so much! And i love you. You are an amazing momma! Your getting really good at this whole birthing thing ;) Pretty soon you will be a pro! So proud of you for being so amazing!

Rose Starr said...

Great post Lauren! Almost the same thing happened to me with Owen...labor came so fast and I was in transition in the car...horrid. I was an 8 when I arrived...barely time to get situated before I wanted to PUSH! lol the doctor came in after his head was already out :)

Gracen is darling and we are so happy for you & Tim & Mads!!!