Friday, April 25, 2008

Lillian's birth

So, for those of you who want all the you go. Warning! This is a long one...

I had already blogged about my day on Friday and it continued pretty much the same. There were some contractions that seemed productive, but no pattern and no increase in intensity. It was driving me crazy! I was so frustrated and antsy, so I went outside and pulled some weeds. After a while, I told Neal that I had to get out of the house, so we went to Wal-mart and walked all around the store. We let the kids look at every single toy isle, Neal looked at TVs, we looked at baby stuff, and finally picked up a few extra groceries for my parents arrival. Walking was good, and in the store I had a few contractions that made me stop and need to breathe through. However, I still did not notice a pattern. We got home, put stuff away, got the kids to bed and I did my night-time cleaning routine. Then I called Melissa and we talked for awhile just catching up. During that time, I started to notice the contractions coming at regular intervals, but I did not get my hopes up or say anything just in case...After we hung up, Neal and I sat on the couch watching TV on-line and I started keeping track of contractions. This was 10pm, they were coming every 6 minutes. Neal asked if I was in labor, and I just told him "maybe". I am always hesitant to commit because my labors are so long and I worry about getting hopes up. By 11pm, I knew I was definitely in labor, the contractions continued and were getting stronger...finally! I walked around the house for an hour and my parents arrived at midnight. They were very excited to find me in labor and forgave me for being such a terrible hostess. (I did not help them with any of their luggage!) I knew it was going to be a long night, so I encouraged everyone to go on to bed. I tried to relax in bed, but the contractions were too strong, so I took a long shower. After that, I paced around in my bathroom and labored in different positions there trying not to wake anybody up. Around 4am, I guessed I was probably progressed to a 5 or so and I decided to labor a little longer in a warm bath. (My labors are very long, yet follow the same pattern. So, I have been able to become very well aware of when each progression occurs.) The warm bath was a great idea. I was so relaxed and really able to focus during contractions. At this point I was progressing from a 5 to a 6, the contractions were about every 3 minutes. Yet I remember thinking to myself that although they were very intense, I would not categorize them as being painful. I stayed in the tub until 5:15 and decided to time contractions for a bit before waking Neal up. At 5:40, I woke up Neal and told him it was time. He immediately got dressed, woke up my mom, packed the car and got it warm for me, helped me get my shoes on and off we went. This was 6am.

I have learned that if you are going to have a baby in the hospital with an OB and you want a completely drug-free experience, then timing is everything. For me, I want to be at the point where I am in active labor, but able to talk and walk between contractions. That way I am not too terribly uncomfortable with all the stuff they do to you in the hospital when you first get there - check your progression, put in the IV, get your thumb prints, ask 1000 questions you already answered in pre-registration, put on the monitors, etc. I have learned that progressing from a 6 to a 7 is the perfect time for me to deal with the hospital stuff. It is even somewhat of a distraction. However, when I reach a 7, they better be finished and leave me alone!

So, we arrived at the hospital at 6:05 (Norman is great! I love small towns!) We got to the nurse's station and told them I was in labor. Neal made me laugh because he was sure to tell them that this was our 4th baby and I had been in labor since 10pm. I know he said this because so many times you get the, "are you sure you are in labor" question. They immediately took me to a triage room where I was determined to be at a 6. (Just like I thought, perfect timing!) We then walked 2 doors down to a very nice labor/delivery/postpartum suite. I climbed into the bed, which is where I was ready to be, and they started all the hospital stuff. When they finished, they checked me and I was at a 7, again, perfect timing! At this point I told the nurse that with my other labors, the doctor has broken my water at a 7 to 8 allowing the baby to move on down and deliver in about an hour and a half later. She found the doctor and let him know. I did not get my doctor because she was not on-call. Instead, I got a gruff and grumpy old guy who came in, introduced himself, broke my water, and said, "call me when it is time to push". Ugh! Anyway, I had a WONDERFUL labor and delivery nurse who was with me almost the whole time. She was very encouraging and helpful and I am so thankful for her. Well, I knew that the contractions were going to be stronger, but I also knew that we would have a baby in about an hour and a half or so, so I was mentally ready to go through the hard part. This was at 8am. With every contraction I kept waiting for that change when the baby is moving down, but it wasn't coming. My labor and delivery nurse, Tori, was great and kept changing my position every 20 minutes or so trying to get the baby moving. The contractions were really strong at this point and I would definitely say they were painful now. I had to focus on relaxing really hard even between contractions. After 2 and a half hours of this, I was still at a 7! That is when I lost my focus. I told Neal I was done, I didn't want to hurt anymore and I wanted an epidural. The nurse very gently said, "give me 20 more minutes in this position, I think this will do it." I said, "no, I'm done". So, she went out to find an anesthesiologist. The second she left the room, I felt the urge to push. I remember having very mixed feelings. I thought, "great, now I have to do this" and I thought "OK let's do this and be done!" I tried to focus on the more positive of the two feelings. The nurse came back in and said there was a C-section taking place and I would have to wait for the epidural. I answered by saying, "I have to push." Tori was ecstatic. She checked and sure enough I was complete and ready to go.

The next couple of minutes were a blur. I could feel the baby moving down, my body taking over, being told not to push and just breathe, a slew of people entering the room, the bed being broken down, being moved into the annoying "hospital birthing position", and having Mr. Grumpy doctor "prep" me - he was really rough. Once everything was ready, the doctor said, "we have a lot of pushing ahead of us ladies", insinuating that the nurses called him too early and I was not ready. I remember saying, "Oh great." But the nurses were very encouraging and telling me I could do it. So I focused on the task ahead and figured I would just show that doctor that I was ready and went for it. In two contractions the head was out and I pushed the shoulders out with the third. As always, my first thought was, "ah, its out!" and then I heard them say, "It's a girl!" Lillian entered the world at 10:56am. Neal cut the cord and she was laid on my belly.

Lillian was 8 lbs. 2 oz. - my biggest baby yet
20 1/4 inches
9 days "late" and 13 hours of labor.

She is a very sweet baby and is enjoying all the attention from her older siblings. More pictures of her to come!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lillian Pictures

Here are some pictures of Lillian in the hospital. Sorry it took a bit, blogger was hanging up on me big time yesterday! Everything went well overall with the labor and delivery. We were able to go home Sunday afternoon. Thank you all for your prayers and congratulations. We are so thrilled and are enjoying these first days. I will post more details, pictures, and birth story soon.

Just born!

Aidan is not quite sure yet...

Such a proud daddy!

Evelyn and Lillian

Madeline and Lillian

Madeline made these sweet letters for Lillian to Welcome her home.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lillian's First Day

Here is an annoyingly brief and not especially detailed birth announcement (from me -- Neal -- acting in persona Janice, who will be writing a more substantive post later on).

Today, at 10:56a.m. we welcomed into the world our third baby girl, Lillian Jeanette. The birth experience was very simple and mostly painless for me. It was somewhat more involved for Janice. But we're both doing fine, and that's the main thing.

Lillian, like her mother and sisters, is stunningly gorgeous. She weighs 8.2 pounds and measures at 20.25 inches. She has very little hair to speak of, but the hair that she does have and which can be spoken of is very nice hair indeed. It's light, not dark. Overall, she looks a lot like Evelyn.

That's all I've got for now. Pictures will come later. I'm off to the hospital.


PS: Thanks Mom and Dad for sending flowers. And thank you all for your earnest and faithful prayers. For those we remain happily in your debt.

Friday, April 18, 2008

An Update...

I woke up this morning at 5:30 having stronger contractions than I have been having all week. They were coming every 10 minutes, so I decided to get up around 6:45 and walk around, get breakfast started and get the kids up and going. Unfortunately, they started fizzling out a bit. I have still been getting some of the stronger ones throughout the day, but there is no consistency or pattern forming yet.
However, I did have another OB appointment today. I did a non-stress test and a vitality test with an ultrasound. The baby passed both tests "allowing" me to remain pregnant. The only concern is that the amniotic fluid is a little lower than optimum at this point indicating that the placenta is slowing down. So, I have agreed to be scheduled for an induction on Monday, if the baby doesn't come this weekend. (That will be 11 days over-due and I have never gone past 10.)
On an exciting and very positive note...I have already progressed to a 3 and am 75% effaced!!! YEAH!!! This is a first for me, and tells me that I probably will not make it past the weekend. Of course, everyone at the doctor's office was commenting on the full moon Sunday which just might force things along too. So, we will definitely have a baby by Monday - hopefully sooner than that though!
My parents are driving in tonight from SA to be here and I am so glad that they are coming!
I will post more as things happen, so stay tuned, the end is in sight!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bunk Beds!

We FINALLY got the girls bunk beds! Since Evelyn climbed out of her crib at 16 months old, she has been sleeping on a mattress on the floor next to Madeline's daybed. We kept saying we needed to get them bunk beds, but we never acted on it or had the extra money. So, last year, I started saving a little every month from my tips to put in a "bunk bed" fund. After looking around and talking to Stephanie Green, who is also in the bunk bed market, we found this set on e-bay. Even after shipping it was under the amount I had saved (thanks Steph)! That was good because we did end up buying two sheets of plywood to place on top of the slats and under the mattresses. It arrived via FedEx today and we just put it together, the kids are thrilled! I think getting them to go to bed tonight won't take much convincing!

The girls model "their" bunk. We will switch who gets which bunk each month to avoid arguments.

Aidan is not going to be pleased when he has to go back to his own bunk-less bed tonight.
Neal and I are so excited to get these for them. They have tons more space in their room and Evelyn is not on the floor!

In baby news... I have been having more contractions accompanied with nausea, cramping, and sciatic nerve pain. They have been coming more often since last night after dinner, but nothing regular and no increase in pressure. Last night, I swept and mopped the kitchen floor, did more laundry and some vacuuming, but there was no change in the contractions. So, I went to sleep hoping they might increase throughout the night. I woke up several times last night feeling sick to my stomach, but still no change in contractions. Today they are continuing, but again no pattern is emerging and I just feel sick. I am doing my normal daily stuff and trying to keep my mind off of how my body feels right now so I don't get frustrated. I will update if anything exciting happens...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Cassie and Chloe!

I hope the title of this post did not confuse anyone or get your hopes up...I did NOT have the baby yet...
You see, today is the cats' birthday.
The only reason we know this is because we know the person that we got the cats from. We e-mailed her and she sent us the exact date and pictures of the day they were born. The girls have been talking about their birthday for several months and have been very excited to give them a birthday party. I think that this is a bit excessive for an animal, but I just could not burst the girls' excitement, so today we had a birthday party for Cassie and Chloe. They each got two new balls and "special" food.

I am sure they were very happy. You can tell by their expressions in the pictures...

Cassie "opening" presents.

Chloe "opening" presents. (Madeline likes to make them little "nests" around the house.)

Yummy, "special" food...(it stinks!)

On a side note, we recently discovered something quite funny about our cats...they are NOT did we miss this, you ask? The girl we got them from took them to the vet when they were 6 weeks old to make sure they were healthy. After that, we were told that the entire litter was female. So, we never bothered to check! I took them to the vet a few months ago to be "fixed" and the vet laughed at me telling me that we have the "butchest looking girl cats he has ever come across"...The kids think this is hilarious and have gotten use to the fact that their kitties are male. However, we haven't changed the names and probably won't. We have shortened them a bit to Cas and Chloe (not pronouncing the "e") in an attempt to be a bit more androgynous, but as the vet said, "It really doesn't matter after I take care of them, they'll be 'it' cats after today!"

If you are bored out of your mind, or you just love little kittens, you can follow this link to an on-line photo album sent to us from Charity, the owner of Cas and Chloe's mom, Monday. These are their baby pictures.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Due Date Come and Gone...

It should be no surprise to all that I did NOT have the baby yesterday. I gear up each time telling myself and others that the baby will be late. My cycle is longer than average and my babies just like a few extra days to ripen. However, it is still difficult to not be somewhat disappointed. I am ready to meet this new little one squirming around inside my belly!

I had a doctor appointment today and surprisingly I have progressed to 1 cm! For those of you who walk around at a 3 for your last month of pregnancy, this probably means nothing...but I have never dilated or effaced with any of my babies until I was in labor, so this is progress for me! I think that this is why I have such long labors, so I am telling myself that I just cut 2 hours off my labor time!

Anyway, we discussed "options" today about being induced and all and I was happy with her willingness to work with me. We have planned to have another ultrasound next Friday to check the fluid and placenta. At that time the technician will also do a vital check watching the baby's movement and checking organs just to make sure all is well and healthy. Then, I will go in for a non-stress test the following Monday, and following Friday provided I am still pregnant. At that point we will probably end up scheduling an induction. Hopefully I will not go that long! Madeline was 5 days late, Aidan was 10 days late and Evelyn was 8 days late, so we shall see!

In the meantime, I have been keeping busy, so that I am not feeling antsy! I have been feeling much better physically since I started my maternity leave, and I am experiencing more energy as well. So I have been putting it to good use and trying to get a few non-regular cleaning chores done that way I don't have to worry about them for awhile. I have washed and ironed all the curtains in the house, cleaning the windows and sills while they were down, I have helped the children reorganize their toy bins putting things in the correct ones, I have cleaned all the fans and light fixtures, and today I am going to work on baseboards and trim, and then I will work on detail cleaning the kitchen appliances. I have also been able to do some yard work, however our weather has not been very cooperative. On the nice days I have raked most of the front yard - the ice storm left a devastating mess of debris, I have put in a garden for our zinnias, and I have started a stone path from our driveway to our side back gate. I have a small list of other chores I can do if I need more things to fill up my time, but if I don't get them done, I will be just fine with that! I have also been maintaining Madeline's school, so that there won't be too much of a disruption with the new baby. I plan to take a week or two off and then get back to it so we should still finish by the end of May.

Well, that's all the news I have for now...I will keep you all updated as things happen...or don't!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baby Shower!

On Sunday, two of the girls at the Outback threw a baby shower for me. It was very sweet of them and they did a wonderful job - especially since this was their first baby shower ever! The biggest surprise of all, however, was when our doorbell rang on Saturday around 5:30pm and on our front porch was Jeannie and Janelle! They drove up just for the shower! I couldn't believe it...I even cried! Neal had cleaned the entire house from top to bottom on Friday night and Saturday morning under the guise of it being my "baby shower gift from him". Of course, he knew his mom and sister were coming, but it doesn't really matter, my house is clean and I didn't have to clean it! So that was definitely a good gift regardless of the reason!

Saturday night we had a great visit with our surprise guests, Sunday morning we all went to church, then the girls and I headed to the baby shower.

This is the giant card from the group of Outback employees who could not attend the shower because they were working. They took up a collection and bought us great practical stuff...4 packages of diapers, 3 boxes of 300 wipes each, baby shampoo, wash, lotion, and some nursing supplies, and several little rattles, teethers and cute new toys.

These are the two hostesses, Mallory is on my right and Diane is on my left.

This is the yummy spread the girls put together.

Here is a close up of the cake...Diane did this herself, she is very talented with baking and is always bringing in stuff to work for everyone.

Here I am with my girls, they had so much fun being little ladies.

There were several games - SIX to be exact!
One was guessing the number of M&Ms in the jar...Madeline got the closest with a guess of 448 and won the jar of M&Ms, we were so proud of her and she was beaming with joy!

Another game was guessing the melted candy in the diaper, it was pretty gross, but remember that my shower was being given by high school and college kids...This picture is one of the only guy(Dirk) brave enough to attend the shower and participating in the diaper game. (He is the only other parent that I work with other than my manager, so showers aren't too weird to him.) He brought his son Parker who is looking on with great confusion particularly since he is toilet training right now! I hope this didn't mess him up!
They didn't stay long, but it was very thoughtful for them to stop by.

The girls helped with the present opening while Jeannie recorded the gifts for me. Janelle was our photographer and we realized too late that we did not get any pictures of her! I am hoping one of the other girls did...
Here is the group of girls that attended.

After the shower we went home to rest and change then Jeannie took us all out to BJs for dinner.
Afterwards we walked around the OU campus, then headed home for more rest and visiting. Jeannie and Janelle left in the pouring rain Monday morning. I am so thankful that they came!

Monday evening was my last night to work at the Outback for the next 12 weeks! I am so excited to have this time with my family and our new baby.

Here is a picture of me in my lovely Outback uniform last night after work...yes, they make maternity tops!

I think I made a valiant effort working as long as possible with this type of job. I continued to work 4 nights a week, 6 to 10 hour shifts depending on the day, on my feet the entire time, no breaks, no sitting down, no food all the way to 38 weeks and 4 days into this pregnancy, now it is time to take a break!

I have spent today pulling out baby stuff - the car seat, swing, bouncy, gender neutral clothing, etc., setting up our room with a changing station, and getting everything washed. My mom is bringing our cradle when she comes since Melissa borrowed it for Avery, so that is the only thing we will need right away that I don't have yet.

The pregnancy ticker at the top says 9 more days, but I am expecting that to be extended a bit since the other kids have been 5 to 10 days late...Anyway, most of the projects and preparation are finished and we are very ready to meet this little one whenever he or she arrives. We will keep you all updated as things progress!