Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Whole Month - By Frankie

Okay, I know I'm technically a little late on this, but that's just the way I roll, late.
I'm a pretty laid back kind of lady.
Most of the time.

Here are some of my comings and goings.

Here I am at the hospital with my Auntie Amy.
And following in the fine tradition of my big sissy Addie, Amy's the one who's birthday I decided to steal. And we share a middle name.
I kinda like her.
A lot.
She should totally come back and visit me, I'm so much way cuter now!

At the hospital with my big sissy Alexis. She's always saying stuff like "Why are you always crying?" and "Addie's my favorite sister!" and then my mom always tells her not even to joke like that.
Wonder why...

Here I am at the hospital in my weird science picture.
They sure do things different here in Maryland.

Here I am finally at home, a few days old with my BFF Ronnie.
I mean, Frankie and Ronnie, seriously, does it get any cuter?

And another one.
We were due one day apart but ended up being born a month apart.
She was 17 days early and I was 11 days late.
But I'm bigger.
Remember, I'm laid back!

Here I am just a few days old. I've got a mini-smile on my face.
My mom keeps telling everyone what a genius I am because I recognized people and smiled for them at like a week old.
And in case you were gonna ask too (cause everybody does!) no, it's not gas.
I am smart.

So smart that I really like to study things over in my head. And sometimes you gotta get your mouth involved too.

Here's my dad making fun of my worried face. But if he had a big sister like Addie, he'd look like that too!

And speaking of Addie...
it started as soon as I got home from the hospital.
Just look at those faces!
One is maniacal, the other terrified.
You figure out which is which.

Here's what my days look like when she's around.
Here I am just sleeping and minding my own beeswax.

Then Addie saw me and had to give me kisses.
Don't get me wrong, I like her most of the time.

But sometimes...

it's just too much!

Here's another example for you.
Picture it: I'm minding my business on mom and dad's bed, sleeping peacefully.
Addie comes and decides she wants in on that action and "pretends" to sleep with me.
Then she started "snoring."

And just one more about her.
I'm just playing nicely in my swing and there she comes and starts pushing me and it's like a ding-dang earthquake.
That girl does not know the meaning of gentle.
Even though she tries.

Thinking of tasting something icky.

I. Do. Not. Like. Baths.

It even takes me a few minutes after a bath to recover! Look at this face!
Why would anyone ever insist on bathing me again?!

Finally calm.
And oh, so sweet.


I don't mind being a fashionista.
It's work.
But it's fulfilling and I enjoy it.

I had my first Easter and it was pretty okay.
My first visit with the Easter bunny bombed though.
My parents thought he'd be taking pictures for another hour so they waited and then he started to leave.

Never one to miss out on a photo-op though, they chased after him and took pictures in the hallway.

Yes, they are classy. I think the bunny might have been annoyed, just look at how he's holding my head up. Or not holding it up I should say.

We've had some cold weather and had to dress warm.
There's that almost smile again.

And finally, my many smiley faces.
This one was at 15 days old.
My mom was holding me and being silly and I just loved it!
I think my aunties will like it because I'm smiling with my eyes too.
Right, Tyra?!

In this one I am 3 weeks old.
My mom says I have the cutest goofiest smile ever.
Must be good. :)

And in this one I was sunbathing, right before I turned a month old.
Everyone likes how I use my tongue to make my smile so sweet.
And don't you love my bikini?!

And just because, who doesn't love a good bum shot?!
Especially such a cute one!
See you next month!

Or in a few weeks. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Catch up

I think I am finally starting to figure out how to function with this new life we have. Being a mama of four is hard work! And I've got so much I want to record on this blog. Maybe I should do the blog-every-day-for-a-month challenge again... maybe.

We're headed out on our first overnight trip as a family of 6 so I don't have lots of time, but for now here are a few random shots of our comings and goings. :)

Our Frankie-girl with that adorable crooked smile we're getting to see more and more!

Addie is so grown up that she's started wearing make-up.
Love it!

Christian's playing lots of video games...

And Alexis is such a help!

That's all for now.


The 6 of us

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our birth story

I know I'm the worlds slowest blogger!
And I'm working on getting new pictures uploaded but... well... I can't find the camera.
There I said it.
I know it's in our house because we had it on Easter.
Just gotta find it.

Anyways, on to Frankie's birth story. Our birth story.
I have always wanted to experience natural childbirth.
I did it!
We did it actually, because I couldn't have done it without Matt.

I have wanted natural childbirth with each of my babies.
But for lots of different reasons it never worked.
And that's okay, because the most important thing in any birth is a healthy baby and a healthy mama.

But I wanted to experience, really experience childbirth.
And it's in my blood, I was born at home, for the love of all things!
And my mom taught childbirth classes.
It's like I was meant to do this.
And up to now I hadn't.
And I felt like I couldn't.
That's why I never wrote down that I wanted to go natural.
I told people here and there, but then as we got closer to D-day I started regretting telling people because I was really scared that I couldn't do it.

And I didn't trust my body.
With Alexis and Christian my water broke and the hospital staff gave me pitocin (against my will, but that's another story) before I could have any contractions on my own.
And with Addie she was so late.
And her amniotic fluid was so low (and they thought there was meconium in it) and I was scared.
And my plan was thrown off, and you know what a planner I am!
So even though I was having contractions on my own, we went to the hospital to be induced and I let myself get talked (and scared!) into an epidural by our well-meaning nurse.

But that's all okay because we still had 3 healthy babies and 1 healthy mama.
But before Frankie the tally was medicated births-3 (1 IV of Demerol and 2 epidurals), natural childbirth-0.

But we did it.
We really did it. And with a 9 pounder no less!

Anyways, here is our birth story.
At least my version of it, I'll probably post Matt's as well, just gotta talk to him about it first.
It's long and kinda personal, but I love reading and hearing other women's stories so I decided to share.


I went to the dr. on Tuesday, March 23. I had a long ultrasound to check the babies progress. She told me it looked like she was about 8.11 lbs. Ha! We also had a non-stress test where I stayed hooked up to a fetal monitor for 20 minutes and pushed a button every time Frankie moved. Then Dr. Tilley gave me a pelvic exam where he found that I was 3-4 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced, and a -2 station. He cleared me to go another week and we set up an appt for next Tuesday.

That afternoon Amy and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. I told her to make me walk fast and she did! Too fast, it was very uncomfortable. The walk, coupled with the pelvic exam were causing some cramping, nothing too bad, but I was pretty uncomfortable.

I stayed up late talking to Amy and playing with Addie who had taken a late nap after falling asleep in her stroller while we were walking. She didn't wake up till 6:00 (pm!) so I kept her up late, later than I really intended, but we were just having such a nice convo and I didn't want to take a break to put her to bed. :) And she was being so good! I was getting tired though and we both planned on going up to bed after the end of 16 and Pregnant at midnight. I had already started walking and rocking Addie while still downstairs. Around 11:50 I had my first painful contraction. I thought "Wow, I can't handle another contraction with Addie awake!" Thankfully she fell asleep immediately and stayed asleep when I layed her down.

I layed down and continued to have longish (about 1 minute long I think) contractions every 10 minutes or so. I breathed through them all and thought for sure that would wake Matt up but it didn't. I slept between them, but after an hour of that I couldn't get comfy. I got up and went downstairs and got online for awhile but I was very uncomfortable. I wanted to take a bath but didn't want to wake Matt up if it was a false alarm. Finally I decided it was worth possibly waking Matt up, so I gathered my books, a pen and paper, my phone, and a clock to time my contractions and see if this was really it. Then I started my bath.

Matt got up about half way through running my bath water. He was like "What are you doing?!" I told him I thought this might be time, the contractions were coming about 5 minutes apart but were lasting anywhere between 30-90 seconds, so I still wasn't sure if it was the real thing. He asked if I minded him going back to bed for awhile and I was still okay, so I let him go. I labored in the tub for a long time. Matt got up about 30 minutes later because he couldn't sleep. I told him he should probably finish packing our bags because I was pretty sure this was it. It was probably around 2:30 by this point.

As Matt was getting packed things started to get more intense. I asked him to hurry because I was ready for some labor support. He was kinda taking awhile. :) He got everything packed and loaded into the car. Throughout the night I had asked him several times if he thought we should go to the hospital. The only reason I thought we should go was so we could be sure to get the antibiotics (for the Group B strep) 4 hours before the baby was born. He kept saying he thought we were fine, but finally after the 4th or 5th time I asked him, he asked what I thought. I couldn't think, I didn't know and couldn't decide. Finally he said he thought we could go. Not sure if he thought we should go, but he said we could go.

Then he asked if he had time to shave. I had gotten out of the bath and layed on the bed in a side lying position for awhile. That's when he took Addie's baby monitor down to Amy and let her know we'd be leaving soon. I got back in the bath for a few minutes while he shaved. He stopped a few times to help me through some strong contractions. They were lasting over a minute and coming 3-4 minutes apart. I definitely felt it was time to go, but I also didn't want to get there and hear we were only at a 4 or 5 centimeters.

We got in the car and I knew it would be a miserable drive, and it's only about a mile away! We pulled in and I was having a contraction. I told Matt to wait to go over the speed bump till I was done. I was very firm in what I wanted/felt good/didn't feel good, but I don't think I was rude about it. We pulled up to the emergency room and Matt went in to get me a wheelchair. He came out and said they would send someone out with one. It was cool outside and I wanted to be standing in the fresh air, so I got up to get myself in. I met the tech with the wheelchair going in. She told Matt to park and come upstairs and I told him to hurry.

We got upstairs and I was having a contraction. My eyes were closed and I was breathing through it. I heard a nurse say "Take her to room 3." We got in the room and I went immediately to the rocking chair because my friend Gina had told me that's where she labored the whole time at the hospital. I didn't find any relief there though and didn't stay long. Matt came up so quickly and helped me get my clothes off and into the gown. I remember wondering how the nurses would know who I was because no one had asked me. I didn't know that Matt had given them my info when he checked into the ER.

The nurses took at least 5 minutes to come in and I remember wondering where the heck they were! Then 2 came in and I wanted to shout "We want natural childbirth! We want a nurse that supports natural childbirth!" but I didn't, thankfully. One of the first things they said was "I won't offer you an epidural or any pain relief but if you need anything just ask." They also said a few other things that made me realize they had read our birth plan. It was such a relief!

They must have asked me to get in the bed to start some monitoring, letting me know that since I only wanted intermittant monitoring they would just monitor her for a few minutes. She was getting ready to check my cervix when I started feeling nasueas. They gave me a dish that I used immediately to throw up ALL of the 3 tacos I had eaten for dinner. And during a contraction no less! I threw up all over the side of the bed, but mostly in my little bowl. :) Finally she was able to check me, which was not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. She said I was a 9 with a bulging bag of waters! A freakin 9!!! I looked at Matt and he looked at me and neither of us could believe it! I knew we had done it then! We were almost done!

Two more nurses came in and everyone started scurrying around. One of them tried to start my IV. She wanted to get it above my wrist but as she was looking for a vein I had a contraction and asked her to wait. She said it was better to get it during a contraction but she waited for me. Then when she put the needle in, my vein collapsed so she had to fish around for it for a few minutes. Normally that would have really bothered me, but it didn't even really hurt. (it did leave an awesome 3 inch long bruise though!) She finally had to take that needle out and put one in my hand. I got my first dose of antibiotics about half hour before Frankie was born instead of the 4 hours, oops. :)

At each contraction then, and for probably the past hour or two, I felt the overwhelming urge to go diarreah. So I said that I needed to go to the bathroom. They told me that my bag of waters was bulging and that if I got up the baby would just come right out, and she didn't want to fish a baby out of the toilet! It felt better to stand, so I asked if I could do that. A contraction came on immediately after that, but I heard her say no, but I'll help you try something else as soon as your contraction is through. They also mentioned that we were just waiting for Dr. Tilley and that as soon as he got there we could have this baby!

As soon as my contraction finished she asked if I would like the top of the bed raised so I could squat or kneel on the bed and lean over the back side. I quickly agreed and that felt lots better as soon as I got in that position. I was so hot, but she covered my backside. I remember her saying something like she was sure I would like to be covered. And then I remember saying "I don't care!" I got through a few more contractions like that and then told Matt "I am so hot! Uncover my back!" So then I knelt there, bum up to the world and I could care less!!! I also remember Dr. Neal (or Wydeki) peeking her head in to see if I needed to deliver immediately (she helps cover Dr. Tilley) and the nurse saying that I was managing so well that I would be fine to wait for him.

Matt was wonderful. He told me how proud he was of me and that we were really doing this and he got a little teary. It was very sweet and helped me through those last few contractions. I was low moaning through them, but I did feel in control and the nurses kept saying how controlled I was and that made me feel better. I felt like as soon as I could push everything would be so much better! I've been told what a good pusher I am and even with Addie I thought people were impressed with my mad pushing skills.

Dr TIlley showed up and checked me. I was really worried about painful vaginal exams, but it was totally fine. I was still bum up to the world at this point. He sayed in his non-chalant kinda way, "go ahead and push whenever you feel the urge." I wrote in my birth plan that I didn't want to be coached through the pushing, I wanted to do what came naturally. I was just so sure that it would come naturally!

The nurses were all working around me, but not really near me. Dr. Tilley was across the room getting things together and Matt was standing next to me. I had been so excited about pushing that I decided to go for it. I was so full of confidence in my pushing abilities and so excited to move on to the next stage of labor. I gave a big push and heard a loud pop. I asked Matt if I had pooed everywhere, I was completely sure I had. Everyone looked to see and Dr. Tilley said "Nope, you just broke your water." It shot all the way to the end of the bed, so weird!

At that point I started really feeling the burning on my perineum. And that horrible pressure like I needed to have a bowel movement! And it hurt so bad! I don't remember exactly what happened, but I know I was saying how much it burned. And I know at one point Dr. Tilley kinda whispered to someone that this was a BIG baby. The nurses came over and told me to hold my thighs and push like I was having a bowel movement (which I didn't want to do because I was sure I would have one! Isn't it funny the silly things we worry about!) I was so tired by this point that I said in a whiny voice "Can't you hold my legs?!" I kind of half heartedly gave a few pushes. I don't remember really feeling any contractions and they had taken the monitors off, so they couldn't tell. Dr. Tilley started applying pressure to my perineum and it was just all so uncomfortable.

He gave me a local anethstetic, I assumed he thought I would tear. I tried pushing again but that hurt even worse. I think that's when I started asking for them just to pull her out. I also apologized a couple times for being such a big baby. The nurses were super supportive, telling me how good I was doing, that I needed to push in my bum and not through my feet, and that I really needed to pull my thighs back. I tried that but that hurt even worse (everything hurt worse!) so I kept bringing my legs forward a little more. They stopped me and told me that everytime I did that I was closing my pelvis and making more work for myself. So I spread 'em and pushed again. That's when Dr. Tilley looked at me and said "This kind of pushing is not going to work, your baby is just too big!" I think that, coupled with what the nurses were saying made me finally clear my head a little and realize that the sooner I pulled myself together and pushed her out, the sooner I would be done and holding my baby.

So I pulled my legs back, pushed through my bum, and grunted it out. I think I was pretty loud, but I was finally getting encouragement that I was doing it right so I just kept it up. I did ask a couple more times for Dr. Tilley to pull her out. And I asked if I was doing anything. He said "Yes, her head is right here, you can reach down and feel your baby if you want." Then I said "I don't want too!" - I was being such a baby! I kept pushing. I feel like someone said something about a shoulder being stuck and Dr. TIlley looked like he was really working it down there. They told me to push her body out, I pushed hard again, and then relief. He put her on my belly and immediately gave Matt the scissors to cut her umbilical cord. It all seemed very rushed and urgent. And she was so beautiful and clean, since she was so overcooked all that baby gunk must have all baked off.
And we had done it!

I pushed for less than 10 minutes.
Maybe 5 or 6 good pushes.
And she was 9.11 pounds.
And it was horrible.
I can't imagine women who have to push for hours!
I think I would die.

Somewhere in there the "baby team" came in. There was a very sleepy doctor with messy hair rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and a slightly more perky nurse. Kinda funny

I held her for a minute and then they took her to check her out. Matt walked over with them. I felt like Dr. Tilley was lightly pulling on the cord waiting for the placenta. I remember thinking again "I can't wait until this part is over!" He also asked for a shot of something and explained to me that I was bleeding just a little too much - totally normal for such a big baby. They gave me a shot in my thigh in addition to the pitocin they had given me after the birth. After a few minutes of that he asked me to push, I did, and out came the placenta. Done at last! Our nurses were so on top of things, she reminded Dr. Tilley that we wanted to see the placenta. He deferred that to her so after everyone left and we were holding Frankie she showed us all the parts of the placenta - so gross! But very cool to see. Dr. Tilley even offered us to take it home.
No thank you.

The nurse kept massing my belly and watching my bleeding. When the first bag of pitocin finished she checked me and said I was still bleeding too much so she put on another bag. I was totally having to breathe through the fundal massage cause it was very uncomfortable! She checked me a few minutes later and said I was still bleeding too much and sent someone to call Dr. Tilley. I asked something like how bad is it and she said, "well... you're not hemorrhaging." Ummm, okay. Dr. Tilley said to give me another shot in my other thigh, which she did and then checked me again and the bleeding was finally slowing down. They did ask if I would object to a blood transfusion and gave me a third bracelet, a red one in case I needed blood.

I went to the bathroom soon after that and there was so much blood! And it felt so good to actually pee! One of my favorite things after having a baby! The next time I went to the bathroom when I got into the bathroom the blood started running down my legs, it was really crazy. Thank goodness it stopped. But they left my heparin lock in my hand for an extra 10 hours just in case.

We had a wonderful experience. Seriously, I couldn't have asked for anything better. I wanted to go into labor on my own, to wonder if this was it, to time contractions and decide it's time to go to the hospital. I wanted to get there and be fully ready and just push her on out. And we did! We got checked into the hospital at 3:59 am and she was born at 5:01! How much better can it get?!

I wanted to experience natural childbirth. It was exactly what I wanted. Dr. Tilley asked if I would do it again, having experienced epidurals and natural, and while I was at the hospital I wasn't so sure, that pushing part was really bad!
BUT, now that I'm home and some time has passed, I would try it naturally again. And be ready for the pushing part and hopefully manage that pain a little better. And be a little less of a baby about it. :)

It was perfect. And we have a perfect baby.
We are so blessed.