Thursday, March 31, 2016

One month update on Adeline

The last month of my pregnancy seemed to drag on but this last month with Adeline has flown by! It's amazing how relative the passing of time feels depending on our situation. Technically, I'm a week late and Miss Adeline is already 5 weeks old!

Adeline is growing like a weed! She is 9 pounds 6.5 oz and 23 inches long. She is a great eater and is already chunking up! The first week of breast feeding was absolutely horrible. I'll tell you what, nursing with blistered, bleeding nipples was way more painful than child birth! Adeline was a chomper and just chewed me up. I met with the lactation specialist a few times and she told me I had perfect technique -thanks to 16 months of nursing twins I'm pretty much an expert :) - and she said there was nothing physically wrong with Adeline so we should be able to nurse succesfully. We couldn't figure out why she was chomping but we adjusted a few things and I said a lot of tear filled prayers that we would be able to make it work. Thankfully, one day it just clicked with her and breastfeeding has been great ever since. (Side note, the lactation specialist recommended coconut oil for helping my nipples heal, and it was a miracle worker for me. I highly recommend it to any breastfeeding Mommas.)

Everyone asks me if having one baby as opposed to twins is easier. And I always answer with a resounding YES! The biggest difference is I'm able to be so much more relaxed with her. With the twins, I constantly had to be worrying about our schedule. I needed both of them to eat at the same time, sleep at the same time, etc. and I always had to remember whose diaper I changed, who ate on what side, who slept 45 minutes, who slept an hour, who pooped, and so on. Our schedule was our lifesaver yet it also drove me crazy trying to keep two very different babies in sync with one another. Plus going out with them was a challenge since I tandem nursed them. I couldn't feed them while on the go. With Adeline, I just go with the flow with what she wants to do. I don't care when she eats or how long she sleeps. I don't have to panic when we're out in public and she gets hungry. I just feed her wherever we are. It is so much more less stress to just have one baby this time. That being said, my other two children haven't disappeared so the challenge is taking care of two toddlers in addition to a newborn this time around.

I guess you could say Adeline is a "needy" baby in the fact that she loves to be held all the time. But for now, I don't really view it as a problem. I'm enjoying all the snuggle time. I feel like I missed out on that somewhat with my twins because I couldn't hold them both and when I was holding one the other one wanted me too and there wasn't a lot of leisurely cuddle time. Eventually, Adeline will have to learn to be content on her own so I can actually get something done, but I'm happy to hold her and relish in her sweetness and I honestly don't believe you can spoil a newborn!

Sleep is hit and miss which I'm sure is typical of most newborns. Sometimes she only gets up once in the night. Sometimes she's up every two hours! On days that I'm lucky, all three of the girls will nap at the same time which means I can too. I also am able to sleep in just a little bit because Nate will get the girls up before he goes to work. He'll put an episode on for them buying me 30 more minutes of  glorious sleep!

Eden and Lydia have been so good with Adeline. I was really worried about jealousy, and they do act out a bit more seeking attention, but overall they've done really well. They like to be big helpers and pick out her pajamas, throw her diapers away, get her blankets, rub her lotion on, etc. They really love her and I love having these three beautiful, wonderful girls to call mine!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Adeline's Birth Story

When people hear I was in labor for 21 hours, their immediate response is something like, "Oh no! That is awful! That must have been so miserable." And if you would have told me ahead of time that is was going to be so long, I probably would have said, "Never mind, forget the VBAC! Let's just do a c-section again." However, I can honestly say my labor was really not bad at all. I felt each stage was very manageable and I was pleasantly surprised with how well it all went. Having never experienced a vaginal birth, I really didn't know what to expect. Hollywood depicts it as this big dramatic event and everyone likes to tell you their horror stories, but giving birth for me was nothing like that.

My due date was the 24th but I had decided a few weeks ago, that Friday the 19th would be a great day to go into labor. I did everything I could do mentally and physically to prepare myself for that day. I even went in to the doctor that morning and got my membranes swept. That night I started having contractions and thought, hey this power of the mind thing might actually work. I may actually be in labor! But alas, they stopped after a couple hours and I did not have the baby on the 19th. I did however, keep having contractions off and on all weekend long. I kept getting my hopes up, but the contractions would always gradually fade away.

Monday morning I had a doctor's appointment and I hoped that with all those contractions I would have at least dilated and progressed further that when I was last there on Friday. I was so disappointed that I was still only dilated to 2.5 cm which is exactly where I was on Friday. But my doctor did a membrane sweep again and said she felt confident the baby would come soon because I was very soft and stretchy. Once again, I had a bunch of contractions that night but nothing came of it.
Last belly shot the day before Adeline was born
On Tuesday, my girls were at their cousins' house all day, so I decided to do all the last minute things before the baby came. I mopped, vacuumed, did laundry, got a pedicure, went grocery shopping all while having contractions off and on throughout the day. I started to notice a change in pain and intensity and began to have an inkling that this time it was the real deal. My mom flew into town that night around 7:00 PM. While we were waiting for her at the airport, things transitioned and I knew I was in labor. I had some pretty intense contractions and I'm sure the airport employees started getting nervous I was going to give birth right there as I swayed and breathed my way through each of them. After a less than enjoyable car ride home, I decided to start timing my contractions. They were about 5 minutes apart. I was relieved when we got the girls to bed so I could focus and try to relax. We pretty much spent the rest of the evening binge watching Project Runway while I paced around the living room. I found the best way to relieve the pain during contractions was to lean over the back of the couch, sway my hips, and focus on my breathing. They were definitely painful but I told myself it would only last a minute or so and I could do anything for a minute. Gradually they started lasting longer and coming about every 3 minutes. Around midnight I finished my season of the show and decided to hop in the tub for a bit to see if it would help me relax. It did feel really good actually especially with a jet pointed at my lower back. After I got out and got dressed I decided it was time to head to the hospital. This was just before 2:00 AM. Thank goodness we only live 5 minutes from the hospital so I only had to have a couple contractions in the car because that was miserable! I feel sorry for anyone that lives further than that from a hospital. Car contractions are the worst!

I felt pretty pleased with myself for how I handled laboring at home and hoped I didn't have too much longer before the baby was born. I was devastated when the nurse checked me and I was only dilated to a 3. Are you kidding me!?!?!?! I began to really worry that I would be one of those people who couldn't dilate on their own and I was going to end up having a c-section again. Of course once I was hooked up to the monitor and lying in the hospital bed, my contractions slowed way down. I'm sure the staff thought I was being dramatic and wasn't really in labor since I was hardly dilated and my contractions were pretty spaced out. They said they would monitor me for an hour. If I progressed they would admit me and if not they would send me home. I just prayed that I would dilate because going home was not an option! Thankfully, when the nurse came back I was at a 4! Hooray, we could stay. I was so relieved that my body was doing what it was supposed to do. They called my doctor and by the time she got there I was at a 5. Finally, things were moving along. This was sometime between 5:00-6:00 AM. My doctor said my bag of waters was bulging and she could go ahead and break my water if I wanted. She said that would really speed things up and I would probably deliver soon after. I was all for speeding up my labor but wanted to make sure I had time to get an epidural first. They hadn't gotten my labwork back yet nor had they given me a bag of iv fluids so it was still a ways off before I could get the epidural so we decided to hold off breaking the water. Also, at this point I wasn't in very much pain as my contractions were really spaced out, so I wasn't that concerned about getting the epidural ASAP. When I say spaced out, I'm talking like 10 minutes apart and not very intense. Honestly, I thought it was a miracle I was progressing because nothing seemed to be going on. Around 8:00 AM the nurse came in and told me there was a scheduled c-section at 9:00 AM so if I wanted an epidural it was somewhat of a now or never situation. I felt almost silly getting an epidural when I wasn't even in pain at this point, but I knew that I wanted one and didn't want to miss my chance so we went ahead and decided to do it then. With my c-section I had a pretty strong reaction to the spinal block with uncontrollable shakes and vomiting so I was worried the epidural would have a similar effect, but it was uneventful. Once the epidural was in place, my doctor came in to break my water around 9:15. I was already at a 7 so we figured it wouldn't be long before the baby came. The contractions came back with a vengeance after my water broke. They were only a minute or two apart and quite painful. How would I know they were painful, you ask? Because my epidural was only working on one side! It was a bizarre feeling. The nurse had me turn to my side to see if it would help the medicine flow to that side. Thankfully, that did the trick and I really didn't feel much after that point.

Once the epidural was fully working, we basically just waited. After being up all night, it was nice to relax and take a little nap! I had the initial surge of contractions for about an hour after my water broke, but then they faded away again. I stayed at 8 cm for hours. Here is where I have to give a shout out to my doctor. She knew I really wanted to have a VBAC and she was totally on board with that. With my progress being so slow, some doctors would have suggested (or threatened) a c-section, but it never even came up. She said my body was doing what it was supposed to and there was no reason to not let things happen in their own time. I actually switched doctors at 32 weeks pregnant and am so grateful that I did. She was awesome!

I continued to labor throughout the day. Although my contractions were few and far between, they were apparently effective because I  was finally dilated to 10 cm and ready to push by 3:00 PM. I feel like I could have managed the whole labor experience without the epidural but I am so grateful to have had it for the pushing part! Maybe it wouldn't have been as bad as I imagine it would be, but I was OK not feeling a baby emerge from my body. I did feel a bit ridiculous "pushing" when I couldn't feel a thing and had no idea if I was even doing it right. In between contractions we just chatted with the doctor and the nurses. It was all very relaxed and very not what I pictured. No screaming or gasping for breath, no nurse yelling in my face, no swearing at Nathan for impregnating me. Just taking deep breaths and pushing whenever the nurse told me to and then pleasantly laughing and conversing while waiting until she told me to do it again. I tell you what, modern medicine is amazing! There was a light above me that was turned off that I could see my reflection in so I was actually able to watch and see the baby's head coming out. So weird! After 21 hours of labor, little Adeline Jane was born on her due date at 3:43 PM! She weighed in at 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Practically perfect in every way!

Afterwards, the doctor immediately laid Adeline on my chest and we had some good bonding while I was stitched up from some minor tearing. That was a new experience for me as my twins had been whisked away, and I hadn't held them for a couple hours after they were born.

Eden and Lydia meet their baby sister!
Very curious about her.....
But not so sure about keeping her...

Mimi and her girls

First family photo

After the epidural finally wore off, the nurses had me try to get up and walk to the bathroom. That didn't go so well......I passed out! Luckily, I felt it coming on and the nurses were able to help me sit on the floor right before I blacked out! I think it happened because I had lost a lot of blood. When they tested my hemoglobin level it was 5.9 and it's supposed to be above 12! Needless to say, I was very weak and tired. I ended up getting a blood transfusion the next day. The rest of the hospital stay was uneventful and we were discharged Friday morning. I've been amazed at how quickly my body has recovered in the last week. Obviously I'm nowhere near 100% but it's definitely been an easier recovery than my c-section. Overall, I'm very pleased with how my labor, delivery, and recovery played out.

Adeline is so long and loves to stretch out! 

Since coming home, my parents have been in town. They were such a big help especially with the twins. I'm so grateful they could be here. They just left last night so today is our first day on our own. I'm a little nervous! I can't believe Adeline is one week old today. We feel so incredibly blessed to have her as a part of our family now. Eden and Lydia have done really well with her and absolutely love her. We are excited, anxious, scared, and eager for this next chapter in our family to begin!

Waking up is hard to do!