Boy, That Escalated Quickly- a birth story :)

The much anticipated birth story of our 2nd blessing- Ivor Alan Griffiths.

It began on Sunday, June 1st, when I woke up and started getting ready for church. Super mild braxton hicks contractions started happening. It wasn’t anything different than what I had been feeling for the past 2 months or so. Noticeable “practice contractions” as they’re described. Not the least bit painful, just noticeable. The only difference this time was the frequency. Up until then I had only felt about 2-3 each day. But now they were coming about 2-3 every hour. So I just began keeping track of them to see how long they lasted and how frequently they were coming. About 10-15 mins apart, lasting about 1 min each. But they weren’t getting any stronger or lasting longer so I just went about my day as usual. We went to the grocery store after church, ate lunch, watched some TV, took Gwen for a walk, cooked dinner, etc.

And right around dinner time is when I noticed a difference in the strength of these “practice” contractions. They were definitely stronger than before. They got my attention and made me have to close my eyes and breathe through most of them. Still easily managed, but just required some focus. From about 6pm-10pm I kept track of them. They were coming a little more frequently now, about 7-10 mins apart. Still lasting about 1-1:30 mins each. Since this had been going on all day, and there was a noticeable change in strength, we decided it was probably time to call my doctor. The call was made around 10pm I believe. She said to give it another hour and if the contractions remained the same, or started coming more frequently, to go ahead and get to the hospital. She knew that I wanted to do as much of the laboring on my own as possible, without any meds, so she was comfortable having me wait a bit longer and labor more at home. If I definitely planned on getting an epidural, she would’ve had me come in right then.

So we double-checked the hospital bag, threw in some last minute things. Ivor decided to shave, only to have his razor die about 10 seconds in, so he looked fantastic 😉 We were both kind of giddy at this point, realizing this was probably it. Part of me still didn’t want to get my hopes up though because I didn’t want to get sent home for “false labor”. Not sure why it takes me awhile to believe I’m actually in labor. Even with Gwen, when my WATER BROKE to start labor, I wasn’t convinced until we got to the hospital and they told me “yes, you’re in real labor”. Anyway, Ivor charged his razor and was able to finish his shave. Meanwhile I kept track of the contractions. They started out great- the same frequency and strength as before (which would mean we were going to the hospital). But then toward the end of that hour window we were given, they started to vary, getting farther apart. Sigh. It was almost midnight at this point and I was sleepy. Ivor had already started drifting off. I figured if I was to get any rest at all, I should try then. See if I could sleep through these contractions. And I did sleep…for about 2 hours. Until the contractions woke me up. Another increase in strength. Definitely could not ignore these! I woke Ivor up and told him we needed to leave right away. And off we went.

We checked in at the hospital at 3:20am on 6/2. I got set up for “labor evaluation” and my nurse checked me. I was 5-6cm dilated and completely effaced. She felt the “bulging water bag” and predicted it would break soon. Labor evaluation complete: this was the real thing. That’s when Ivor sent out the initial messages to family and close friends that the little man was on his way!

I was still managing contractions well on my own and the baby was doing great. So we did some walking around the halls, which definitely helped move things along…as the contractions came way more frequently whenever I did so. My OB arrived to check on me around 6:30am. She asked if I wanted her to break my water bag, since it hadn’t yet broken on its own, to help speed things up…but she warned me that contractions would get more intense and there might not be time for an epidural (or I’d have very little time to make a decision on that). I decided to just let her do it.  “The sooner this is all over, the better. I want this little guy out,” I thought. So she checked me and I was now 7-8cm dilated. I was so happy! We were almost there. She said she’d check back in with me in an hour and that there would be a good chance I’d be ready to push then.

In the meantime, they wanted to monitor the baby so I was sitting in bed and didn’t really notice the contractions getting “way more intense” like I was told they would. So when my doctor came back in and I said things still kinda felt the same, she told me to get up and move around, which I apparently could’ve been doing anyway because the cords I was hooked up to for monitoring stretch pretty far. Wish I would’ve noticed that.

So, here’s where Ron Burgundy comes in.

When I got out of bed and started moving around the room, things got out of hand quickly. The contractions quadrupled in intensity and I started to feel nauseated, and overheated, like I might pass out. Transition. After about 4-5 of them I made Ivor get the nurse back in the room. She tried talking to me to see how I wanted to get through this final stage, not knowing how quickly this stage was going to go. Do you want to go in the shower and sit on the birthing ball, take Fentanyl (the pain med that “takes the edge off”), etc? But the epidural was for sure out of the question at this point. No time. And as she was trying to talk to me, we kept getting interrupted by contractions coming one right after the other. At some point I said “get me the fentanyl now”. 

And probably a minute later, “I need to push”. So much for the fentanyl idea. No time for that either.

Then everyone was suddenly in the room rushing for delivery, getting me into a better pushing position.

And I’m screaming in agony, feeling as though death were imminent.

I remember them telling me to grab my legs, tuck my chin and push with the next contraction. But in that moment, that was a ridiculous request and I couldn’t imagine being able to do such a thing. Doing anything other than lying there screaming in pain was impossible.

But then the impossible happened. I listened and did what they said. And in about 2 pushes, in 2 mins, he was out and in my arms at 7:55am.

The total time from “I need to push” to “look at your baby!”….5 mins tops?

That’s basically how everyone in the room felt lol. We all just looked around at each other like “well that just happened!”. By the way, my poor nurse had just started her shift when I was transitioning. Our introduction was basically “I’ll take that fentanyl now—wait, I need to push”, aaaaand “here’s your baby!”

I couldn’t believe that happened. I still can’t. Giving birth without any pain meds was something I always wished I could do, but never thought possible.  I always knew I’d give in at some point. I’m a pansy. And I did give in…remember when I asked for the Fentanyl about 1 min before saying I need to push? Yeah. And I certainly didn’t expect to push him out so quickly either. Birth is a crazy thing. So unpredictable. But I am so thankful for such a positive experience with a great support team- my doctor and the nurses were amazing, as was my husband. He’s just as vocal, if not more-so, than the nurses lol. Hearing his voice the whole time and his encouragement meant so much to me and helped me get through that. When I said “I can’t”, he said “yes you can”. And I believed him. He’s an amazing husband.

And the result of this crazy, beautiful, whirlwind of a story…our baby boy:

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He is so precious and we are so in love with him already. He’s soft and warm and cuddly. I had missed having a little newborn 🙂 I didn’t miss the being up all night thing. No, not so much. But I know how quickly time passes and before I know it, he’ll be a toddler causing trouble with his big sister.

I can’t believe we’re a family of 4. We are so blessed. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and wished us well and encouraged us. Please don’t stop doing that! We’ll need it now more than ever as life with “2 under 2” begins. I’m sure it will make for very entertaining blog posts, so stay tuned 🙂

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Waiting…

I WAS convinced that little Ivor would show up early…but now I’m not so sure. Maybe he’ll be more like me after all lol. Gwen is very much like her daddy…and she showed up a week early. I’ve been predicting that little Ivor would be more like me, so I shouldn’t really be surprised that he’s taking his time 🙂 That’s not to say he’ll be late, he may just come right on time (I was born on my due date). OR he may be waiting for daddy’s birthday this Saturday. We shall find out soon!

Despite my own efforts to move things along, I haven’t progressed at all since last week. I went for a walk every single day (except 1) since my appt. Thursday and…nothing. Everything’s the same. Sigh. He did give us a bit of a scare this morning when my doctor couldn’t find his heartbeat at first. She quickly ran out to bring in the ultrasound machine so we could check on him and thankfully everything was fine and we found the heartbeat right away. Nice and strong. He had just shifted positions, moving over to the other side of my belly. He had been on the left side for awhile. Now he’s on the right. Stinker. Still head down though, so that’s good! He did have me worried though because yesterday he wasn’t as active as he usually is. Even though I felt him last night, and this morning in the car, not hearing his heartbeat at first freaked me out. I’m pretty good at assuming the worst. And as I type right now he’s moving all around in there reassuring me…”Relax mom, I’m fine…I was just napping. Until you poked and prodded me, that is. Thanks for that.”

Sorry little man. It’s in my nature to worry and have anxieties. Especially as labor and delivery draws nearer! There’s always something that could go wrong. But it’s not in my control anyway.

The 2 verses I’m repeating to myself lately:

cast your cares

power and love1

And so, we wait. Casting all my cares, concerns and worries on the One who has the control. Remembering that fear and timidity does not come from Him. I shall go into that delivery room with power, love and a sound mind. And do what my body was made to do, bringing forth life into this world in the miraculous way only God could have designed. I was built for this. I am woman. Hear me roar!

Sorry, I was giving myself a pep talk. I’m done now.

🙂

 

 

 

High of 99

That was the temperature in San Jose today at 3:05pm. Ew. After almost 3 years of living in the Bay Area I’ve gotten pretty spoiled with mild, ideal weather most of the year. So 2 heat waves in the same month is just unacceptable. I’d say it reminds me of Philly, but there’s no humidity so it’s not quite the same, heh. Sorry PA friends.

In other news, I’ve been spending my time getting all my ducks in a row before little Ivor comes. Made some more purchases, did some more laundry. Got his pack-n-play/bassinet set up in our bedroom. Packed the hospital bag. Typed up Gwen’s “typical day” schedule with instructions for my MIL while we’re in the hospital, and for my husband too since he’ll likely be on Gwen duty for awhile, while I’m attached to the little nursing monster 🙂 Overall, feeling pretty prepared at this point. I mentioned it in my last post, but at my doctor’s appt. last week I was already 2 cms dilated. And I’ve been feeling rather sore lately. So I think he may be coming earlier than expected. I’ll be 37 weeks this Friday, “full term”. So being prepared NOW is necessary.

In the meantime, I’m also soaking in my 1-on-1 time with Gwen. Her days of being an only child are numbered! While I have every intention of making time to spend alone with each of my kids throughout their childhood, I know it’s going to be hard to do for awhile in the beginning. It’ll be an adjustment for both of us for sure. Even just thinking about spending the night away from her for the first time while I’m in the hospital makes me sad 🙁 I pray for her little heart as she adjusts to seeing mama with another baby and that she’ll grow to love her baby brother and quickly become his best friend.

Here’s a brief clip of a typical morning with Gwen. She asks me to read a book then asks to be picked up (she likes to sit on your lap as you read to her).

 

 

Snapshots of Recent Days

Just a few photos on my phone that I like. Thought I’d share. Cause my family is cute.

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And in case you’re wondering how I spend my evenings:

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Every day I tell myself I’ll be productive after Gwen goes to bed. Get stuff done that I wasn’t able to get done throughout the day. But then, this happens instead. I have zero energy. My whole body hurts. I’m sleepy. So to the recliner I go. This is definitely the home stretch of pregnancy. Only 1 month left until my due date! Woooo! We just had a doctor’s appt. today and I’m already 2cms dilated, 50% effaced. Which is totally normal for 2nd pregnancies. It doesn’t mean I’m about to go into labor any day, but once I do start labor, things should move along fairly quickly. For me it also means that progress has been made- only 8 cms to go. And that knowledge helps me psychologically 🙂 2 cms down without laboring….I like that. Must keep up my walking routine (er, waddling rather). The doctor is predicting that he’ll be about 6-6.5 lbs based on her measurements today..which is kinda surprising. That’s smaller than Gwen was…and I predicted he’d be bigger. But who knows…it all depends on how long he decides to stay inside. We’ll find out soon enough!

 

Pregnancy Update- 34 Weeks!

How far along? 34 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: almost 30 lbs
Maternity Clothes? of course
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep: constantly interrupted by the need to pee
Best moment this week:  I ate entire pint of ice cream in one sitting, cookies-n-cream, but it was organic so that makes it okay, right?
Miss Anything? being comfortable
Movement? oh yes, he is quite the active little bugger like his sister was….he’s also positioned with his feet ready to kick me in the ribs whenever he feels like it (which is often)…and like his sister, it’s always on the right side…
Food Cravings? ALL THE SWEET THINGS. (nothing changed here)
Anything making you queasy or sick? meh, not really anymore
Have you started to show? Only getting bigger at this point
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Labor Signs? Braxton hicks  (practice contractions)…especially on days when I’m really active and not drinking enough water
Belly button in or out? Oh it’s out there now
Wedding rings off or on?  Still on!
Happy or Moody most of the time? I think I’m happy most of the time lately, but it wouldn’t take much to set me off
Wisdom: Seeing your husband as a daddy is extremely attractive. I learned this when Gwen was first born but it only gets better, the other night he tucked in a stuffed bunny and I tell you that man has never been more sexy (maybe those are the pregnancy hormones talking….moving on!)
Looking forward to:  Having the little man on the outside of my body. Pregnancy is beautiful and amazing, but there comes a point when you’re just ready to have your normal body back and be holding him in your arms instead…and I’m pretty close to that point.

 

12-Month Update! (revised)

We made it to 1 year! Woohoo! I can’t believe how fast it went by. While it didn’t seem like it at the time, looking back on it now it seems like just a blur. A blur filled with lots of vivid memories though 🙂

Speaking of blurs…I feel the same way about her party yesterday. We survived our first kid’s birthday party (being the hosts, that is). It was very small but I thought it was perfect and I’m not sure I could’ve handled a much bigger party lol. Not at my house at least. We did learn a few lessons for future parties that I’d like to share (for anyone getting ready to throw their own party soon):

1. It’s kind of hard to set up and decorate the day of while chasing a 1-year old around. Do more stuff the night before after the little one is in bed.

2. Likewise, if you’re preparing all the food, prep as much as possible the night before. No matter how small the party is.  No matter how quickly you THINK you’ll get everything done. Those morning prep hours FLY by and before you know it, the doorbell is ringing. We had lots of fresh fruit that just never got prepped or put out. Not sure anyone cared or noticed, but now we have a fridge full of fruit. Whatever will we do with it all?? 🙂

3. Put someone else in charge of taking pictures. While I did get some, it wasn’t as much as I would’ve liked (I took zero pictures of any of the guests..and that was supposed to be my party favor, oops! Don’t worry party guests, I have a plan B !). I was just so busy trying to talk to everyone and keep Gwen out of trouble, that I didn’t have time to play event photographer too.

I’m sure others have a few pro-tips they could share for throwing kids birthday parties too 🙂

Anyway, it went by quickly but it was a lot of fun. We are so thankful for technology and the ability to have some of our east coast family live streaming at the party. They even got to sing happy birthday to her with us in real time, which was really special. Gwen is loved from coast to coast!

Okay, on to the last of the monthly updates 🙁

Her little personality is really blooming lately. And she is quite the social butterfly (when she wants to be). We did a lot of errand running this week in preparation for her party, and she would smile and wave and babble at everyone we walked by in the store lol. We were at the grocery store one day and I was so miserable because EVERYBODY was shopping at the time……on a Thursday afternoon (why??). Anyway, Gwen just loved seeing all the people and it was hard to stay miserable while she was putting a smile on everyone else’s face.

She’s still signing “please” all the time and just today started signing “food” or “eat” to me right before dinner time (without me asking her first). On several occasions she’s picked up a book and brought it over to me or Ivor and signs “please”, asking us to read to her. It’s kind of adorable.  Highly recommend teaching your baby sign language!

She still only has 2 teeth. Sigh….I feel so limited to what I can give her to eat because of this. But we’ve been working on exaggerated chewing so she’ll do a better job gumming things before swallowing. She still loves cheese and fruit, yogurt, pasta, most veggies…though she’s been getting a little pickier lately, only eating 2 or 3 bites and that’s it. Meh. Time to start hiding veggies in yummy smoothies for a snack 🙂

We’ve started her on whole milk now. Bye bye nasty formula with your foul smell and expensive price tag! Lord willing, I’ll never need to use it again. (Remind me not to get pregnant again before little Ivor is done nursing lol)

Ok, that’s all my brain can handle this weekend. I may post a 12-month update part 2 after her appt. on Tuesday with her weight/height stats.

Happy happy birthday to a very special little girl. We love you!!

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* UPDATE after 12-month well visit (didn’t feel like creating a new post for this):

Weight: 21 lbs 6.3 oz (73rd percentile)
Height: 30 in long (79th percentile)

That makes me one proud mama after the struggles we went through several months ago with her weight dropping. So happy she caught up 🙂 Now let’s hope she continues to be a good eater as we enter toddlerhood lol.