Acadia’s Birth Story

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All the cool kids moms write about their birth stories. But that’s not why I’m doing it, just to clarify. They say you forget what labor was like as soon as they put that baby in your arms. That’s not QUITE true, but on the off chance, I want to write about it so I and we can remember all the nitty-gritty, sweet and tender moments of Acadia’s birth.

On Thursday, July 19, Jason and I had the day to ourselves. We went to the pool in our neighborhood, had lunch, and when I decided to take a nap, Jason went over to a neighbor’s house to hang out with him for a while. I slept for an hour or so, then I woke up feeling funny. “Funny” in my world usually means an upset stomach from eating gluten so I headed to the bathroom. Nothing out of the ordinary, then SPLASH! my water broke IN THE TOILET! Shocked, I couldn’t believe it had actually broken in such a convenient place, I sat there for a minute…. mostly because I wasn’t sure what to do! There was A LOT of fluid! I waddled back to the living room to get my phone so I could call Jason and scrambled as fast as a pregnant lady can scramble back to the bathroom!

I called Jason and the doctor’s office. Jason was home in a flash! From another experience calling the office, I knew I would have to leave a message and the midwife on call would call me back. While I sat waiting for the midwife to call, Jason gathered our things and tried not to panic! This was about 4:30 pm. We finally heard back from Jessica, the midwife on call. She told us to come on to the hospital. I was expecting her to tell me to wait until I was having regular contractions so I was surprised. In hindsight, I probably will want to labor more at home in the future, so we’re not just waiting for contractions at the hospital. 

We got the hospital around 5:30. I was expecting the television scenario of a wheelchair and rushing orderlies… Not so much. A nurse was at the front desk talking to the receptionist. I told them who I was and she calmly told the receptionist she would walk me back, that they were expecting me. I was hoping for a little urgency, but everyone was cool as a cucumber! 🙂 After I waddled through the hospital leaking more amniotic fluid (!!) they got me settled into a triage room. They hooked me up to all the monitors checked my cervix (I was 2 cm dilated, which I had been for at least two weeks), and did a pH test to be sure my water had really broken, as if there was any doubt in my mind! It had indeed and Jessica decided to admit me. At that time, she gave me the option of pitocin to speed my labor up but I wanted the opportunity to try on my own first. We got our things settled in our room and then started walking the halls. After a few times around the maternity center, I was ready for a change of scenery so I tried sitting on the birthing ball which is pretty much the same as a big exercise ball. When I got tired of that, I tried the jacuzzi tub. That was the most comfortable I had been except for the temperature of the water. I guess they have a regulator on the hot water heater to prevent the water from getting too hot. When I got too chilly, we decided to walk the halls again.

Not knowing how labor would feel, we had decided before hand that I would labor as long as I could without pain medicine and when I couldn’t handle it any more to get an epidural. By about 10:00 pm, I couldn’t walk or talk through the contractions any more. When they checked my cervix, I was just 4 cm dilated so I knew we still had a LONG way to go. They had just started me on a new bag of fluid to my IV, which they have to do before they can call the anesthesiologist. I ended up curled up in the bed, dozing between contractions, with my entire body shaking from the pain. I remember waking up and turning over to see that my IV bag was empty again and was so relieved. The anesthesiologist was a regular comedian… His opening line was “Have you ever had an epidural before?” to which I replied “no”. “Neither have I”… Ba-dum-shewww. Jason thought he was funny. I was less than amused. 🙂 They made Jason sit in front of me and the nurse stood in front of me. She had me hug her, basically, with my arms around her shoulders and my back curled over. There’s nothing like needles and things being inserted in your body while being told to “be still”, “breathe”, and “curl your back, don’t arch”. Not the most pleasant experience! As soon as the epidural started working, I was a much happier girl! I could still feel the pressure of the contraction but not the pain

We spent the rest of the night flipping channels–golf at 4 in the morning, non-stop news coverage of the shooting at the Batman movie (on 4 difference channels!), HG-TV, SportsCenter (I watched the same episode probably 6 different times. Each time I was a awake for a different segment, so I kept thinking it was different episodes!) Jessica came back occasionally to check my cervix and the night nurse sat with me a lot. The epidural slowed my contractions down so they gave me pitocin, which I thought I wouldn’t want because I was concerned that the pitocin would increase the intensity of my contractions so much that it would negatively affect Acadia. Jessica was very patient and not pushy at all, but explained that they would be monitoring her closely and if they saw her being affected they could take me off the pitocin and it would stop having an effect within minutes.

At 7:00 am, at the shift change, we met Teresa, our day nurse, and the new midwife on call, Lisa, came to check on me. I had seen her for my last appointment the Wednesday before when she told me she would be on call Friday and there we were! My cervix was continuing to dilate and I was becoming more effaced. SLOW progress, but progress none the less. Around 10:30 am, they told me I could start pushing. The epidural was significant enough that I was able to feel pressure but couldn’t really feel enough to push very effectively at first. Lisa went to check on another patient and Teresa and Jason helped me push. The first couple contractions, Jason felt woozy so Teresa got a chair for him to sit in. We pushed for an hour, then Lisa and the attending physician came to check on me. He was concerned that I hadn’t made much progress pushing and let me know that if I pushed for another hour and still wasn’t able to push her down much further, we would need to start thinking about a C-section. I was very opposed to that suggestion and Jason said at that point I put on my “game face” even more so than before and really started pushing more effectively. I don’t remember much about pushing, except for the few minutes I would open my eyes during each contraction to push. I’m pretty sure I dozed off between them because I had no concept of time. Another hour must have passed because the doctor came back. He was impressed by how much progress we had made. At this point, Lisa got dressed and I think stayed with me and Jason told me later that he was standing on the chair he was formally sitting in to get a better angle to help hold my legs and head. He was full of encouragement, wiping my head with a wet washcloth, and helping me drink water. I can’t imagine what delivering a baby must feel like without an epidural. I felt like I was going to be torn in two. I pushed for another hour or so. (If you’re keeping track, that’s THREE so far!)

At some point, Lisa told me I could push her out in one more contraction. Good news! Except then my contractions STOPPED. I could feel her head and it did NOT feel good! I kept asking why my contractions had stopped and no one would answer me. Jason saw Lisa and Teresa exchanging looks because Teresa was trying to find Acadia’s heartbeat with the external monitor and couldn’t find it. The only coherent thought I could form was “Please God, make my contractions start again. Please let my baby be born NOW.” Nothing happened for a good 7-8 minutes, from what Jason told me afterwards. Finally, I felt something that may or may not have been a contraction so I pushed really hard and out she came! Lisa put her right on my chest and Jason says she was a purple cone-head. I couldn’t really see anything! They got her all cleaned up, measured, and weighed. When I finally looked around the room, I was amazed at the number of people that had fit in there–at least 6! She was born at 1:57 pm on July 20; 8 pounds, 3 ounces; 19 1/2 inches long. 

Whenever one of us jokes that Acadia is getting big, the other will say “It seems like yesterday that she was born”… Jokingly, but it really does seem like just yesterday and I’m pretty sure it always will.

Ducks aren’t the only creatures that waddle

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*(I hate it when WordPress eats a draft mid-post… Attempt #2!)*

Hello 35 weeks!! I am SO thankful for these weeks to rest and nest like it’s my job since school has been out and before Acadia arrives. Jason would probably say that I’m nesting far more efficiently than resting. Slowing down has never been one of my strengths. Unless you count how slowly I’m waddling. At THAT, I’m a pro! 🙂

I finished out the school year with relative ease and minimal panic. The end of the year always manages to sneak up on me, and never more so than this year. I think I was in denial that I actually had to let those kiddos leave me for the summer. This class was really special. They were so concerned about the baby and me. Whenever I would have to sit to catch my breath, they would ask me if I was okay or fetch my trusty CamelBak bottle (water and sitting solves just about anything!). Just so so sweet. They helped me pack up the classroom as much as I could let them without feeling crazy. You can’t just let 18 darlings loose to “help” or you end up with mass chaos and things “put away” in such a way as to never find them. Ever again. I was able to pack up here and there while the kids were still there and really knock it out during the teacher work days. My mom was such a help once again. I swear she could pack and unpack my room for me at this point! She’s helped me every year I’ve been teaching–we’ve got it down to a science after 5 years! The lingering thought that I might not be back to unpack everything was a little daunting. With Acadia’s due date just a few weeks before teacher work days start, I’m not anticipating being up for that kind of outing just yet, but we’ll wait and see for sure.

One of the highlights of the workdays was the beautiful shower my team threw for me and Acadia. There was some serious love for that girl in the room–it was so sweet. I am so blessed to work with genuinely nice people that care about each other. A school can be a treacherous social nightmare with so many women in one work environment, but Barringer has some serious love. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to highly doubt that Acadia’s life will ever be captured with more technologically advanced equipment than an I-phone. I am highly inept at remembering a camera. Fortunately, my wonderful friend Lucy is a jack of all trades and managed to snap these great pictures!

The previous weekend, we had ANOTHER shower, which due to my inept camera remembering skills we didn’t get any pictures of, but it was lovely! My friend Lulu did a fabulous job pulling the whole thing off by herself AND after being at the beach for a week! Amazing!!

Our latest and greatest nursery addition is a finished home-made crib skirt!! I found a tutorial for The Easiest Crib Skirt Ever on a blog I’m now following, The View Along the Way, because the author, Kelly, is stinkin’ hilarious, a down-to-earth mama, and the kind of DIY’er I aspire to be (Read: figuring it out as she goes and making it look simple!) My friend Nancy coached me through my first sewing project of the curtains and lent me her sewing machine to make the crib skirt. I somehow managed to measure the crib, have Jason help me measure and cut the fabric, pin and hem the edges, all SOLO and without majorly screwing anything up! There was a brief and intense moment of sewing machine malfunction (those tiny threads don’t always stay where they’re supposed to!) which was easily solved by Nancy popping by to help me re-thread the machine and later that day my friend Kelsey happened to be here as I was finishing up and her 3 years of sewing classes as a kid really came in handy! She was able to help me replace the bobbin and even taught me how to pivot on the corner so I didn’t have to reset every time I needed to turn a corner. Who knew sewing could be so complicated AND so simple all at the same time!? SHEW!

In the last few weeks I’ve sorted all of her clothes by size and washed all the newborn outfits–they’re SO tiny, like little baby doll clothes!–and 0-3 months outfits and have them hung up and ready to go! I’m almost finished putting everything away from our showers and figuring out what we still need.

Jason’s most exciting purchase with the bounty of WONDERFUL gift cards we received was a video monitor. I wasn’t entirely sure we REALLY needed one, but ultimately, I think he’s right. In the long run, it will be nice to be able to see her without having to go in her room. Especially when she gets bigger. A cool feature is that you can buy additional cameras that can be viewed from the same receiver we already have.

We’re going to our last birthing class tonight. The first night, we watched an old school clip of a Bill Cosby stand-up routine in which he reflects on the birth of one of his children. My favorite part is when he says something along the lines of “Americans overanalyze and study something that happens naturally in the human body and has happened basically unassisted for countless years”. While I can appreciate the sentiment that this process is natural and I generally believe that my body DOES and WILL do exactly what it knows to do, since I have NO idea what that heck that is, I appreciate the additional insight into pregnancy, birth, and baby. If you have time, here’s the Bill Cosby clip!

5 weeks and COUNTING!! We’re almost ready, so pretty soon I’ll be saying “ANY DAY NOW, Miss Acadia!!”

~t.g.

Shower #2!

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My aunt and cousin threw a beautiful family shower for us on Sunday! It was so lovely to visit with so many of my female family members. It had been far too long since I’d seen my cousins’ children–they’re so big now! My oldest second cousin is 13 (!!) which is how old I was when she was born–It’s hard to believe we’ve both grown up so quickly. I didn’t get many pictures from this shower, but the ones I was sent are fabulous!

When I got home from work yesterday, Jason had the crib all assembled!! It feels good to have one more thing taken care of! I’ll be working on making a crib skirt this weekend to match the curtains I made a few weeks ago. I’m excited!!!

We go to our second childbirth preparation class tonight–we really enjoyed the first one last week, though the vivid-nature of the childbirth related vocabulary was a little shocking for my sweet husband!!! We get to watch a video of childbirth tonight–adventures abound!!! 🙂

~t.g.