20 May 2011

Aviva Margot's Birth Story

All week prior to Ava's birth I had been working hard, thinking "she'll come when she's ready, but I sure wouldn't mind sooner rather than later...". My baby shower was April 10th (my due date was April 19th)so there was plenty to keep me occupied. Gardening and yard work was a huge part of it. The Sunday one week prior to the shower, I was doing intense yard work for eight hours, wowing the neighbors and helping my mother-in-law. Through the week I took a couple of four mile walks on the trail with Josh. I was determined not to be completely out of endurance for the delivery. I'd had bouts of hyperemesis and renal colic that kept me in bed, either vomiting all day or rolling around in pain. Let me tell you, I loved my third trimester; it was by far the most comfortable.

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The baby shower rolls around on Sunday and I was totally pooped. Entertaining thirty people for a few hours, preparing, and cleaning up really exhausted me. I felt more worn out than I had after that day in the yard! My feet and legs hurt for the first time during the pregnancy. I went to bed pretty early, but didn't fall asleep until midnight or after.

At 5:30 AM, I woke up abruptly to a huge gush of water.

"Josh, my water just broke...""Wait, what? Are you sure?" I had never seen him alert from sleep so quickly.
"Just get me a towel! I'm soaking the mattress..."

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He got up and I called the advice nurse, who told me to come in.

I remember going to Jaci's room (my sister-in-law who was home from college for the shower) and having a funny conversation:

"Jaci, my water broke."
Barely awake. "...Whaaaa?"
"My water broke at 5:30."
More coherent. "Wait, what?"
"My water broke at 5:30 and we are getting ready to go to the hospital."
"Oh my God. What?!?!?!"
I was amused.

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We got ready, I finally packed a bag for the hospital (procrastinator...), and we left. Here is a condensed time line:

5:30 AM water broke
5:55 AM bloody show
6:45 AM some mucous plug
8:00 AM checked into labor and delivery
8:40 AM told I was staying!
10:30 AM IV started
12:45 PM pitocin started

I had planned on a natural birth. But I'd had a six minute contraction that caused the baby's heart rate to go down to 60. Because of that and the fact that I wasn't progressing fast enough, the doctors convened and decided the faster we deliver the baby, the better. But let me say, pitocin made the contractions so much more painful. I felt weak, like I was giving in, but I wanted something for the pain. I had been hoping that I could keep cool via hypnobirthing methods, but I honestly wasn't suceeding. The anesthesiologist was to be delayed so they gave me something that made the discomfort more tolerable. When he arrived, I was given an epidural. The contractions were one after another by the time the anesthesiologist came and it was really hard to hold still. I was so scared I'd jump as he put the needle in my spine! I know, sounds silly. But once it was done, the relief was immense and it relaxed my body so much I progressed really quickly. The nurse checked me and I before I knew it I had two doctors and a staff of nurses at the foot of my bed.

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Due to the heart rate troubles, the doctor wanted me to deliver in no more than three pushes. I'm always up for a challenge, so Josh held on to one leg, a nurse another, and another nurse brought out a vacuum and a fetal heart rate monitor. I had no idea why. By this point, I realized I'd had very little control over my birth, despite my birth plan. Not a single thing went as planned. They said all of these various things had been necessary for the safety of my child, so I agreed. I also feel like they wanted to rush things too. But how can I really know if it was for my child's benefit entirely? I suppose I'll never know but I'll assume positive intent and just note I won't have these doctors or be at this hospital again.

Push one and her heart rate went down to 60 again. The doctor reiterated the need to get her out asap. Push two, head came. They unwrapped the cord from her neck. It was wrapped around twice and I assume this was why her heart rate dipped so low. Maybe it was snug? (Note: the doctors never told me that, my mother-in-law who was there toldme. They also never told us her APGARS.) Push three and my wait was over. At 7:05 PM, my precious first child was here.

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She didn't make a sound initially but then she let out a gentle cry and my worries were over. They set her on my belly and we all stared at this quiet, perfect child. After letting us have skin-to-skin, they cleaned her up and did the usual. They returned her to us and Josh held her with tears going down his face. Soon after, they placed Ava on my chest again. She lifted her head up and looked about. We were all impressed and surprised! Slowly she began to wriggle up my chest a bit until she found my breast and she put her mouth down. My eyes got watery as we nursed for the first time. She latched on perfectly and away we went.

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Right after birth, you think "I won't be doing this again anytime soon". But when you get home with a beautiful newborn, you think, "of course, I would."

16 May 2011

Fresh Air, Open Space

When Ava was three weeks old, Josh and I walked her up to. Briones for some open space and fresh air.

Josh, prince of the babywearers, wore Ava that day, and as he usually does when he's out with us. We think it's a good way to encourage bonding between father and child when the child is physically and emotionally closer to the mother due to nursing, co-sleeping, and so forth.

We took a lot of photos of me and Ava with our various squishy faced expressions. Lots of cute and silly occurred. This was a favorite.

Our family makes multiple little nature walks and drives through the week and we hope it continues as a happy, memorable tradition for Aviva and her future siblings.

09 May 2011

4 Weeks

Our little Ava is four weeks old today and I'm shocked at how time has flown right by me. The first month keeps you so busy! Near constant breastfeeding, diaper change after diaper change, walking her all over to keep her entertained, missing sleep desperately, and loving my little girl more than I can say. But I'll try my best anyway, knowing someday she'll read this.

Aviva, from day one we were amazed at your abilities. All parents think their kids are ahead of the game and ultra special; we are no exception. Immediately after they laid you down on my chest, you lifted your head up to get a look around yourself. I'm not sure how much or what you saw, but the moment that full head of hair thunked down on my chest we all turned to each other and said,  "you saw that right?" 

I remember when you wriggled your way up my chest until you found what you were looking for and latched right onto my breast, moments after you were born. I didn't expect you to know what to do. I could feel my heart thudding in my ears and tears welling up in my eyes and I looked on in wonder. I wrapped my arms around you, came out of my daze, and fell in love in that instant.

Your strength wows us all, family and doctors alike. Your smiles and new gurgling laughter charm everyone who meets you. You've transformed your grandparents from stressed and serious to baby-talking adults with a new light in their eyes. Your Ima (Mama) and Tati (Papa) have new purpose in life: to be parents and to do anything we can to get you to smile.

Ima and Tati adore you so much. You've changed us both for the better and we are so blessed to have you in our lives.