Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Avery Michael Olive... A Birth Story!

Avery is 2 weeks old already! He was born the day before his due date and was a big boy from the start! He's changing a little bit every day and has completely won over the hearts of both his mommy and daddy. The last 2 weeks have flown by as we've been settling in at home and getting used to life with our new bundle of joy. Here's the abbreviated story of his entry into the world:
Tuesday, June 5
The entire day on Tuesday, I experienced Braxton Hicks contractions, which to me was a sign that labor could be starting because I hadn't felt any throughout the rest of my pregnancy. They weren't painful, so I was able to go about my day as normal - resting, watching 'Prison Break' with Justin and even weed whacking the lawn (you know, so the lawn was ready for baby to come :)
Wednesday, June 6 -around 3:00 am
I woke up to use the bathroom and realized I was having some cramping (pretty much like menstrual cramps) but they were very tolerable and when I went back to bed, I was so excited I didn't really sleep the rest of the morning knowing that progress was being made!
8:30 am
Justin and I woke up and had breakfast, anticipating what the day would bring. After breakfast, the contractions became more intense so I went back to bed and started timing them with an app on my phone. To my surprise, contractions were already 4-5 minutes apart at this point and over the next 2 hours, they intensified even more until they were about 3 minutes apart lasting a little over a minute each. At this point, I had Justin call our midwife to see what she thought we should do.
11:00 am
The nurse at the hospital decided to have us come in and our midwife would meet us there. I quickly showered and got some last minute things packed in our bag and we were off! 
11:55 am
We were admitted to the hospital and strapped to the monitor to make sure baby was handling labor OK and when my midwife, Ann, got there she checked and I was dilated to 4 cm. Contractions were getting more intense and I got very nauseous and started vomiting after really bad contractions. Bless my midwife for being skilled in aromatherapy because she whipped up a concoction of mint and lemon oils and from that point on, whenever I felt nauseous all I needed was a sniff of the oils and no more vomiting! It was awesome!
1:55 pm
At this point, the birth tub was filled and I was dilated to 6 cm so in the tub I went. I was in the tub for 2 hours total and it was EXTREMELY helpful during this intense part of labor. Being in the warm water made it much easier to relax between contractions, which gave me the strength to focus through them when they came. I found a good position to work through the pain and was even able to fall asleep between some contractions, I was so relaxed! Choosing to labor in the tub was definitely one of the best decisions I've made!
 4:00 pm
At this point, my contractions were becoming very uncomfortable but my water still hadn't broken so my midwife had me get out so she could break it manually to hopefully move things along. When she did, she found that there was a little meconium staining in the fluid, which basically means that baby had already had a bowel movement inside. This wasn't a huge issue, but it did introduce the risk that he could inhale some of the meconium during delivery, and that could be dangerous. Because of this, I could no longer deliver baby in the tub and a NICU team had to be called in for the delivery. NICU being there made it a little more scary, but I knew it was just a formality and hoped that everything would continue to go smoothly. I was 8 cm dilated and the next hour was VERY uncomfortable having to labor in the bed (it wasn't NEARLY as manageable as being in the tub!) Avery was handling labor like a champ, and his heart rate was strong and steady the whole time and my midwife let me start pushing through contractions when I felt the urge.
5:00 pm
I was finally 10 cm dilated and started pushing!  I'd be lying if I said it wasn't the hardest physical thing I've ever had to do, but I had such amazing support from Justin, Ann, and our nurse, Shelly that I was able to stay focused and 46 minutes later, Avery Michael was here! As soon as he was out, Justin was able to cut the cord really quickly and then Avery was whisked to the other side of the room to allow NICU to suction out his lungs (to ensure he wasn't inhaling any of the meconium-stained fluid.) It was so hard to not be able to hold him right away, but I knew it had to be done and I was able to see him and hear him crying the whole time. After what seemed like forever (although Justin says it was only 10 minutes...), Justin carried him over to me and we were able to love on him for the next couple of hours. --> The experience of delivery is indescribable... I went from the most intense pain ever to the most unbelievable euphoria ever - all in a matter of seconds. I was blown away by how amazing I felt afterwards - I was so fully immersed in my beautiful baby that everything else just faded away. 

I definitely wouldn't have made it through the day without Justin's calm, reassuring demeanor and support. I know he felt really helpless at times but he never left my side - he even helped hold the vomit bag a few times :) I have a new respect for him and how he handles situations under pressure... he really rocks my socks off and I'm so lucky to have him.

Avery was even larger than we expected, all 9 pounds 6 ounces of him and was 21 1/4 inches long. He had a head of reddish curls like me and 10 very long fingers and very long toes like daddy. :) 
I was given a small amount of Pitocin in my IV block after delivery to get my uterus to contract and stop bleeding – but besides that, I was able to deliver Avery naturally and totally drug-free. And best of all, my midwife decided that I didn't have any tearing and didn't need any stitches! (I attribute this to soaking in a warm tub for 2 hours before pushing... I believe it gave my body time to stretch, soften and expand to make room for Avery!)

Due to his large size, Avery had to have his glucose tested before each of his first 3 feedings to rule out diabetes. All 3 turned out just fine, and he has taken to breastfeeding like a champ so far! He did get a bit of a 'newborn rash' on his skin the day before we left the hospital, but it disappeared a few days later.

Avery had his 2 week appointment today and now weighs 9 pounds, 14 ounces (SO close to 10 pounds!) and passed all his newborn tests with flying colors. He grows bigger every day, and I find myself just staring at him for most of the day... in awe :) We are so blessed!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Final Days

As I sit in waiting these last few days (hopefully!) of my pregnancy, I have lots of bittersweet emotions. I am so excited to have him out in the world I can barely stand it, but I also think it's going to be very strange to not have him squirming around inside. I know life as we know it around here is going to be drastically different, but I know that it will be so wonderful.

As I've said before, I've had the most uneventful (in a good way!) and easy pregnancy I could've ever asked for. I still feel great -almost TOO great- at 39 weeks and have been able to stay very active (and get good sleep!) without being too uncomfortable in my much larger state.

Bella and I are still walking our 1.2 mile loop every day (I credit Bella for helping me stay active and in in shape throughout my pregnancy - it's hard to take a 'lazy day' with her pushing that sweet little face in my lap as the afternoon approaches!) I am a little concerned about how she will react to our attention shift once baby comes and she is no longer the center of our universe, but I hope to still take time to walk with her every day after we get all settled in at home. She really is the sweetest pooch of all time, and I know she'll make a good little protector and lover of Baby O. (as long as he doesn't mind lots of doggy kisses!)

At my 39 week appointment last Friday, baby is still measuring right on target and has a very strong, regular heartbeat. Our midwife tells us that he's NOT going to be a 10 pound baby which is a relief, knowing Justin weighed about 10 1/2 pounds at birth. He has moved down to -2 station and I am 2 centimeters dilated! She even stripped my membranes slightly to hopefully get things moving a little more. I've been walking, squatting, and even bouncing on an exercise ball to get things moving along, but I have yet to feel any real contractions. We will go in next Thursday morning (his actual due date!) for more membrane stripping and hopefully some news that we've made progress!

Our house is ready, our bag is packed, my nesting complex (yes, it has officially turned into a complex...) continues, and we're as prepared as we can be for labor and delivery. For now, I'll be vacuuming, reading, gardening and resting as much as I can until Baby 'Pimento', as a friend describes him :), decides it's time!