Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alexis is 5 weeks tonight!

It is a rare moment that Alexis is sleeping...and not in my arms! She wouldn't stay asleep in her bed so I had to swaddle her, lay her next to me on our bed and she fell asleep with me next to her while I folded laundry. I'm sure I don't have much time but wanted to get a few things down about Alexis at one month old!

Alexis is a high need baby. My most high need yet. I keep saying that she must not have gotten the memo that a 4th child must be easy, and know that they are a 4th. She wants to be held ALL of the time and let's you know it.

Alexis needs to be swaddled a good part of the day. Her arms get her all worked up and the only way to calm them, is to be swaddled.

Alexis has become much more alert. She will have more periods during the day where she can be calm and look at the world around her.

Alexis is still in Newborn clothes and diapers. She's a tiny little thing! I keep searching through her outfits to find things that will fit! Thankfully a few 0-3 month things shrunk enough to fit her!

Alexis sleeps well during the first part of the night. Eats around 10-10:30 and wakes up again around 2-3:30. After that, she is usually restless and ends up sleeping in daddy's arms. We are really hoping to pack some weight on her so she can make it longer stretches at night. We were very spoiled by our first 3 that were mostly sleeping through every night within the first few weeks!

Alexis loves to be cuddled and warm hence the constant holding! Diaper changes need to be quick, and don't leave her naked! She loves to hang out in the Bjorn as well.

Alexis did not like baths very well until her last one which was given in the afternoon. She gets fussier as the day goes on and we had been giving her baths at night. She had cried through all of those but did much better with the earlier bath time. Hopefully that will stick!

Alexis likes to bounce on the birthing ball. I find this really funny. I bounced on that ball for hours everyday the last month or so of pregnancy. She must find comfort from that familiar motion felt in utero!

Alexis is very gassy, poor girl! And boy does it smell!! And she only has a bowel movement every few days which is completely different then her brothers who went about 10 times a day!

Alexis has 3 brothers who absolutely adore her! They constantly ask to hold her, kiss her and just love on her! Jacob sings her Twinkle Little Star whenever she is upset. They help put her paci back in, throw away diapers, anything they can to be involved!

I can't believe that she will be 5 weeks old tonight! I love her silky soft skin. Her cute little lips and soft head! I still am in shock that I have a daughter! She is an amazing baby girl!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Birth Story

I have been wanting to sit down and write this everyday since Alexis has been born and hopefully I can get through it in one sitting!

I'll go back to Sunday, August 16th. I had not felt the baby move much all day. I could not get the kick counts required to help assure things were OK. I wrestled all day with going in to the hospital to have things checked out. It's so far away, what would we do with the kids...but I did call about mid day. The Dr. on call of course said to come in. But I still waited hoping she would become more active. After much debating we finally went to the hospital after the kids were in bed. Our wonderful neighbors came to stay with them which was so helpful! At the hospital I was monitored and of course once I was hooked up Alexis went crazy. Accept this time it worried me because her heart rate went into the 190's, and even hit the 200's. And it stayed that way consistently for over an hour. A babies heart rate in utero is normally about 145. They waited until her heart rate had calmed down and then told us that there were no ultrasound techs there at the time and that we needed to come back the following day for a fluid check. I was really worried but relieved we would at least be checking things out.

Monday we got to the hospital and went up to the screening center. The nurse running it took care of us. She was really awesome and a blessing to me during such a stressful time. She did the fluid check first and confirmed that she could barely squeak a 6 out of the fluid and was concerned. I was fighting tears because I had just known it was lowering. She then did the stress test and began the hunt to contact Dr. Gray who was not on call but she said she had connections. We ended up needing to consult with the Dr. who was at the hospital, Dr. Buchanan. He said to send me up to labor and delivery for monitoring. The nurse looked at me and said very pointedly, "If you are worried enough about your baby, you need to tell them that and that you don't want to leave." She was very sweet and supportive and walked us up to Labor and Delivery. We thought this would be it so called my parents who prepared to come down. We also had Zachary and Jacob with us and Tyler was still in school.

Once hooked up we were there for hours before the Dr. came in. He said he thought the baby looked fine now and that there was no reason to induce labor. I was crushed. I knew the fluid would just keep dropping and wanted to get her out before it became emergency situation. He gave me a few options, none of which were very feasible, so I asked if we could at least have the fluid monitored everyday. A huge inconvenience with the drive but the only way to have any peace that the baby was safe. So we agreed to that all when my parents were pulling into the hospital parking lot....ugh. I was SO frustrated! So we decided they would stay the night and see what the fluid check in the morning revealed. Thank God they did!

Tuesday we went to the Dr.'s office for the fluid check and stress test. During the stress test Alexis was hardly moving. Dr. Buchanan was consulted about that and he ordered to stay on the monitor longer. Finally we stopped so I could get the fluid checked. Thanks to God again, the tech who isn't very attentive or people friendly was on vacation and we got the awesome one! She was super caring and really took her time. She was having a hard time getting 6 and was concerned at the rate it had dropped from the previous weeks. She wanted to show a Dr. and specifically set out to find a Dr. she knew would be more apt to act on this. And again thank God that she found Dr. Henderson instead of Buchanan. He came in about two minutes later, looked at us, shook our hands, smiled and then said the words that stopped us both in our tracks, "It's time to have a baby!" I thought I was hearing things. He said what I had been saying over and over that there was no reason NOT to get the baby out, it was a no brainer. He said "the fluids low, your full term, let's have a baby!" Wow! So we thanked them both and left to go across the street to the hospital. It was about noon.

Even though the Dr. had been so cut and dry we still were apprehensive. We knew Dr. Gray was the Dr. on call which was just too perfect. But from the past days events we were taking the we'll believe it when we hear it approach! When we walked in I was surprised to see a friend there who is a nurse. She normally works at Whittier Pres. and was the nurse who briefly took care of me when I was first admitted with Jacob! It was like dejevu! We talked for a minute and then I got set up in yet another room. They unfortunately were having an insanely busy day so when the nurse said she would be right back, it was actually nearly an hour and a half. This whole time we were unsure if I was actually staying or not so I was a nervous wreck not knowing if this was really happening. When the nurse finally returned she started talking about different things. We just looked at her and were finally able to ask, "But are we staying then?" To which she replied, "Oh yeah, your admitted!", like we had just known! Whew!

As soon as she said that, my stomach turned to knots. I had been trying to eat before they starved me but I instantly lost my appetite! I could not believe we were actually going to have the baby after sooooooo long! I was so scared of an induction because it had gone so wrong with Tyler, even though I knew she needed to come out. She explained their plan of action. At 3:30 they inserted Cervidil just to see how that would help. It's not supposed to necessarily start contractions but can just get the body even more ready. Apparently my body was very ready because I had a contraction 5 minutes later! I was supposed to lay flat for an hour to let the gel really work and then she would come back but she didn't return for over 2 hours! Finally another nurse came in to do the dreaded IV. I had told the nurses, told my nurse friend Jodi, that I was a hard stick and asked if they could send in their best. I have had IV horror stories and just didn't want to add another one to the lot! So this nurse came in and joked that she would tell us how good she was after she got the IV in. And thankfully, mercifully, she got it on the FIRST TRY! One of my biggest fears of labor was over! I was so thankful to her and told her I wanted to keep her in my pocket for future use!

Soon after that the nurse came in asking when I wanted my epi and telling me Dr. Gray was going to be in soon to break my water. The last cervical check they had done was super painful and I just decided to get the epi before things got really bad. That was scary but again went very well. Dr. Gray came in because my monitors were going crazy at the front desk and wanted to make sure everything was alright. He stayed until it was done, joking and trying to make me smile. He was such a big help! Somewhere around then they had also put an internal monitor in to measure the contractions consistently and also a monitor on the babies head because she was having heart decels with the contractions. I got very overwhelmed because something was being put in me every other second it seemed, and began to cry. Labor sure is no picnic!

Dr. Gray came in, broke my bag of water and set up for an amnio infusion in case it was needed. Soon after that came the catheter. With the water broke, my body naturally went into a very consistent labor pattern. I contracted every two minutes like clock work. Although the epi helped, I was still feeling the contractions. I tried upping the dose but it just made my legs more numb which was very uncomfortable so I just tolerated the pain. During this time the nurse had rushed in a few times because the babies heart kept dropping during contractions which was really scary. I ended up on my left side the entire labor. I was afraid to move a muscle and upset the baby. Our nurse was so great and on top of things. They never had to give me pitocin which was good because they didn't want to use anything else and chance upsetting the baby further. Also during the labor my blood pressure was very low. The bottome number hung around 33 so the monitor would go off every 15 minutes as it was taken...very unnerving!

My mom showed up around 6. I was shaking through the whole labor again and she rubbed my legs and feet which really helped. The three of us just sat there and watched the monitors to make sure Alexis got through each contraction. All of a sudden somewhere in the 10:00 hour I heard a weird pop sound and some other clicks. I wasn't sure what it was so I didn't saying anything right away. I finally said to Craig that I had felt something weird. When the nurse came in she was saying she wasn't going to check me for awhile. I told her I had felt something weird, she lifted the covers and saw that I had bloody show, and decided to check me. She barely started to check, smiled really big and said, "You are a 10 and ready to go!" I had felt the baby drop into the canal! We were all shocked!!! This had happened SO fast for me! She started setting things up and I was trying not to completely panic and freak out! Before I started pushing the nurse told me I needed to get the baby out quickly because she would not tolerate much pushing the way her heart had been acting. She asked me to push, and I pushed with all my might 3 times though the next contraction. She knew the baby was coming fast, asked me to stop and went out to get Dr. Gray. He came in, got suited up and I pushed 3 more times through another contraction, determined to get her out. Then he said, "You'll have a baby with the next one" I could not believe it! And with the next one, our sweet baby GIRL came into the world!!! When just her head was out they said, "Oh she's not very happy about this" and "She has a head of hair!" Wow, hair! I managed to ask, "Is it dark?" and it was! I had been wondering if since it was a girl this time around she would be born with a head of dark hair like I was...and she was! Alexis Joy came out screaming (she was terrified at what had just occured and was quickly consoled by cuddles from mommy)! They put her right on me at 11:18 pm and it was wonderful! I held her for a long time before they cleaned her up a bit and weighed and measured her. When she came out the nurse had exclaimed, "Oh it's a peanut!" and I was very curious how much she weighed. Finding out she was only 6# 4oz. and 18 inches long was crazy! Especially since our last two were almost 8 pounders! Soon after they put her back on me and she latched on for 45 minutes on each side! It was such an amazing bonding time and one I had longed for! After awhile the baby nurse came back in, bathed her, gave her her shots, etc. And thankfully I was able to push her out so quickly because she had her first bowel movement on the way out which is a sign of stress. She wouldn't have tolerated much more! Her apgars were 9 and 9!

My labor was nine hours. NINE HOURS!! That is so amazing after my other marathon labors! We thank God for all of the things that did go right. All of the details we could see worked out. For a sweet, healthy baby. For a happy ending to the beginning of the rest of our lives!


Proud Daddy!