Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome, Baby Autumn!

Our sweet baby Autumn Grace is here! Let me tell you ALL about it!

I was a little surprised to make it to my 37-week prenatal checkup with my midwife (happened to get Jennifer for that appointment!) on the 18th. Everything looked good, though, and I was making progress. I left the appointment knowing that I was completely effaced, the baby's head was low and engaged for birth, and that I was at least dilated a little bit. How far dilated was a little hard to determine, and we probably could have dug around more to get a better idea but it just wasn't worth it. I wasn't having much of anything in the way of contractions all week, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Saturday, December 21st was my birthday. Leah stayed home with the girls in the morning and Clark and I skipped out for a breakfast date at IHOP. Say what you will about the place, but my berry cream waffle was delicious. I love my kids, but it was really nice to have that alone time with just my love, especially now that we know what the rest of the day would hold. ;)

On our way home we stopped by my friend Liana's house to borrow her exercise ball. I started bouncing on it while the girls were napping, somewhere around 4:00. I started having a few really minor contractions at around 4:30, but they were hardly worth mentioning. I kept on bouncing and around 5, I was having them regularly enough - maybe 5-6 minutes apart - to make me keep bouncing just to see what would happen. They kept coming but weren't painful or long (I'd say this is about when labor really started). Around 6, I got off the ball and walked around the house as Clark and the girls ate dinner. Leah was out with family and at some point I texted her and told her to come on home, that it may be Go Time. I also let my midwife Jennifer know that I was having some contractions, and - smart chick that she is - she was already at the birth center and went ahead and filled up the tub for me halfway.

At about 7:30, contractions were still bearable even though I couldn't talk through them, and they were only about 30 seconds long. They were coming every 2-3 minutes though and I figured they probably weren't going to stop, so we might as well get on the road. I let Jennifer know we were coming and she started filling the tub the rest of the way. We left the house around 8. Turns out we should have left about 20 minutes or so before we did. Heh.

We got to Charleston Birth Place at 8:30. By the time we got there, contractions had gotten severe and were up to over a minute long. I made it inside, went to the bathroom, and Jennifer was there in the room waiting to hook me up to the monitor for a quick check. Autumn was tolerating things just perfectly and it wasn't long before "oh my goodness she's seriously about to come out Right. NOW." So....Clark helped me throw my bathing suit on and I ran to the tub. Pretty much as soon as I got into the water it was time to push. We had arranged for a friend to be there to take pictures, but she had a really good reason for not being able to make it to the birth. Nonetheless, it was really important to me to have at least some pictures, so Clark stayed out of the tub for a bit to document. That only lasted a few minutes, though, before he needed to jump in with me and provide support (which he did really well). So, no pictures of the actual birth...and many of you are probably really thankful for that. :-P

So, I pushed! She came out SO great! And wouldn't ya know...after being posterior (read: bad position) pretty much the whole pregnancy like the other girls, she flipped around at the last minute and actually came out anterior - woo hoo!! Go, Dr. M, chiropractor extraordinare! Her head came out, but her body didn't fly out afterwards like I expected. Turns out she had come out with her hand by her face, so her bent arm just needed a little extra effort to push out. Jennifer was there helping the whole time and once she was out Jennifer passed the baby to me again through my legs (I was on hands and knees again) and I pulled her up and out. It was wonderful! I had been in the tub for maybe 10 minutes before Autumn was crying in my arms. I didn't think it was possible to have a birth as great as Julee's, but it totally happened! If anything, it went even smoother. I knew I could do it, we had the same birth team as before, I trusted Jennifer, and things just moved along so quickly! I really felt....experienced. Like I didn't need to freak out about this really normal thing that was happening.

Autumn was born at 8:56pm on December 21st, just 26 minutes after we arrived at the birth center. In the midst of everything, Clark was still able to set up my music for me to listen to, which was really important to me. She was born to "We Will Run" by totally perfect. She was 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 19.5" long - my biggest baby but still tiny. And perfectly wonderful. I also feel so incredibly blessed that Jennifer was there to catch another one of my babies. How special is that?! Not only a great midwife but a sweet friend was able to be there for not just one, but TWO of the most special moments in my family's life. I wasn't sure it was going to work out but I'm so very thankful and fortunate that it did! Our nurse Ashton was also there to attend both births - I was so relaxed having been through the experience with these same lovely ladies once before.

The birth tub in the Palmetto Suite - the same room where Julee was born.


Literally seconds after my little love was born.

Healthy and happy mommy and baby.

I cut the cord! (iPhone pic)

Back in bed for some cuddles and breastfeeding.

Ok, so not the most flattering picture of me, but...there's Jennifer!

Skin-to-skin with the best daddy in the world. She's a very lucky girl.

So, she was born totally healthy and happy. I didn't have any complications, either, and didn't have any tearing or anything. Cool! She was nursing within an hour. She looked exactly like her sisters, but that was no surprise. ;) She's beautiful. She's got Clark's nose, eyebrows and ears, and my mouth, eyes, and hair - our recipe is tried and true. 

After a couple of hours snuggling our newborn, we were starting to get anxious to get home to our own bed. Clark and I had picked out a very cute fleece coming home outfit for the babe - because you know, she was to be born in December and everything - but I had spent the whole day in a tank top and skirt because it was in the upper 70's! Even in the middle of the night it was still pretty warm, so the fleece was a no-go. Thankfully, since we had the exact same problem when Julee was born (January 26th), I knew to pack a lighter-weight backup. So, we got the little squirt dressed and ready to go, and we were headed out the door at around 1:00am.

First cloth diaper! A Lil' Joey, of course, like her sisters.

Just look at these two. Love.

Four hours old and all ready to go home! (And don't be fooled by the hat - she didn't actually wear it. It was too hot even for that. But I made it and felt like I at least needed to pretend like she wore it home.)

We got home, Leah woke up to come meet the cutie, and then we all settled in our beds and enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep as a family of five. Lily Mae and Julee would meet Autumn the next morning and fall head over heels in love with her, just like their daddy and I did. But that's a story for another day. :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Autumn Won't Be a Preemie!

I'm 37 weeks and FULL TERM today! As you know, I've been anxious to make it to this day from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Of course I'm even more excited to actually meet our baby, but today was definitely highly anticipated. The shots did their job!

Yay 17-P! Thanks for keeping my baby in my belly!
I meant to post last week, but let's be honest… it's crunch time and I'm under pressure to tie up loose ends and finish things up before this kid is born. I've had much higher priorities than blogging. That's true even now, but I'm multi-tasking. Gotta sync my phone to make some room to take pictures of the new babe! So I'm just typing this up for a few minutes while the copious amounts of photos on my camera roll upload to my computer.

So let's see…it's been about two weeks since my last post. I've gotten a ton done! I finished up a lot of the projects for the room, and I had grand plans to take nice shots of Autumn's picture-perfect room for the ol' blog. But, as expected, it never made it to "picture-perfect" status. Our friend Leah moved in and we rearranged some things, so we'll have to get things set up sometime next month and take better pictures. I'll go ahead and just share some hasty iPhone pictures I took, but keep in mind that the lighting and colors are off, and not quite everything is finished yet. Mostly, though!

I made some sweet curtains! We just bought the grey curtains from Ikea, and I made the coral lace panels to hang in front. The room is painted more of a minty blue color as opposed to the sea foam green that it shows up as in this shot.

I recovered the glider again! I did it the same way as before and having done it a few times now, I was able to finish the whole thing in just a few hours total. It's coral fabric with dark grey handmade piping.

Here's the name sign that I painted to hang on her bedroom door.

So, this. I designed and sewed this name bunting to hang above Autumn's crib. It looks super cool up close, but I'm a little bummed that the letters of her name aren't more prominent from far away. Still cute, I guess. (Really, why does the wall color look different in every single picture?)

Here's a better overall idea of the room. I've actually also finished all the crib bedding and it's been put in there, but I guess I hadn't done that before this picture. Preggo brain. I'll have to get you all a picture of that later, but I made elephant crib bumpers and a coordinating striped crib skirt. I also sewed up a changing pad cover but the changing table isn't even in the room yet due to lack of space. Expect a post in the next couple months after the room is truly finished and put together. I've just been working hard and wanted to share some progress.

Last Monday at 36 weeks.
Other than crafty stuff, I've gotten a lot of the normal to-do's done, too. Packed the bag for the birth center, Clark installed the base for the car seat and I adjusted it down to itty-bitty baby size, taken the newborn clothes out of storage, set up the co-sleeper, etc. I started drinking my red raspberry leaf tea yesterday morning to tone up the ol' uterus for its big workout, and I had a massive bowl of pineapple for breakfast this morning (prostaglandins…woot woot!). This afternoon I saw my chiropractor who worked her magic to get everything loose and in line for pushing out a human. I'm not sure if I'll end up with a posterior baby or not this time (according to my own belly-mapping, Autumn actually seems to be in a pretty terrible position right now other than being head-down - seems anterior and partially transverse), but I really am confident that visits with her have done my body good and that I'm in better shape for labor because of her work.

Last night I was up for a couple hours with major, for-real contractions about 4-6 minutes apart. With my experience, I'm not at all one to mess around at home and wait to call the midwife, but even with as strong as they were, my mama instinct didn't feel it was time. And I was right! At about 3:30am they were still regular but not as long or painful, so I decided to try to go back to sleep. If they were the real thing, they'd of course wake me back up. Next thing I knew it was 7 in the morning - the longest stretch of sleep I've gotten in months! I've had mild contractions throughout the day today but nothing to write home about (apparently it's enough to write about on my blog, though). 

Julee has been renamed "Ju-leech" because she will Not.Get.Off.Of.Me. She's been Krazy Glued to my body for about three weeks now. She knows something's going on and all she wants are mommy snuggles. I don't mind most of the time, but there have definitely been moments that I'm seriously touched-out and need space (not that I get it). Having Leah around seems to have helped since now there's even another person around who can give attention to her. I can't be too mad about it…her days of being my littlest love are coming to a swift end.

Ju-leech. She's still cute.
Anyway, tomorrow night is a full moon and I wouldn't be surprised at all if she came! I'm sure excited to meet my sweet Autumn girl. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

35 Weeks & Lots of Good News!

Hit 35 weeks yesterday! It's so weird…no matter how big my belly gets or how many fruit/veggie size comparisons I read, I have a hard time actually visualizing the size of the very real baby that I'm growing. I seem to always think that the baby would fit in the palm of my hand, and so when infants are actually born, it kind of blows my mind that THAT was actually living inside THERE. Babies seem so big! Like…..that's a huge thing to actually be inside of a woman's abdomen. Well at least I think so. That is, until I reach this point in pregnancy. Lily Mae was born at 35 weeks. I have actually touched, felt, and loved a baby that was born at this point. Makes the whole thing feel a lot less abstract to me.

Over the past two days, I've had a TON of appointments. Well, five. Let me summarize:

1. My nurse came to give me my shot. That makes #20. Now I only have ONE more shot left, and I'll get that next Monday.

2. I had an appointment with the supporting OB, Dr. M, who reviewed my chart, poked around my belly, and declared me good to go for an out-of-hospital birth! Yay! In the event of a transfer/emergency in labor, he will be the one to oversee my care at the hospital.

3. Saw the chiropractor! Man, my lower back is just so wonky, but she makes it feel better. I'll see her next week for one last regular adjustment and then the following week she'll do the magical chiropractic prepare-for-labor tricks. Kind of excited to see what that does!

4. This morning we had the official ultrasound recheck of the low-placenta issue, and the tech confirmed what the midwife found two weeks ago! YAHOO! My placenta is NOwhere near anything anymore - a complete and total non-issue. I have to admit that even though we got the great news a while back, I did let worry get the best of me and started to think that maybe the midwife had been wrong and just not seen things right when she checked. I should've known better. ;) But besides that, we got to see our sweet Autumn!! The ultrasound tech gave Clark and I a good, long tour inside the ol' uterus. I'm 35 weeks, 1 day, and everything is measuring 35 weeks, 2 days - right on track, I'd say! She estimated the baby to be 5lb 9oz right now, which is perfectly healthy and good (that said, size estimates by ultrasound can be off by as much as a pound, so who really knows?). And another thing? Autumn is posterior (the "correct" position for birth)!! I have a feeling she still flips around quite a bit in there, but as far as today, she was more than ideal. The best part of the whole thing was getting to see her face. We didn't get a great still shot of her but in the scan itself we really got to see what she looks like. Big surprise…the looks exactly like her big sisters. Couldn't be happier! Of course it doesn't matter at all what she looks like, but Clark and I happen to think our kids are the cutest things to ever walk the earth so we're excited to add another one who looks like they do. She's got his nose and my mouth, and very pinch-worthy cheeks. Can't wait to see her on the outside!

Hard to tell, I know. She's looking straight ahead - her head is at the top right. You can tell where her eyes, nose, and mouth are, and those cheeks!
5. After the ultrasound, we headed to the birth center for my prenatal appointment with the midwife. We saw Judy this time, and simply enjoyed all the relief that has come in the past couple of weeks. Everything's ok with the birth center staying open, my placenta issues are resolved once and for all, and I've been cleared by the OB! Nothing really left to worry about other than getting through the next 12 days (yes, just twelve) without going into preterm labor. Can't. Believe. It.

Finished up the curtains for the room. Next up is the glider recover and the bedding. Our friend Leah is moving in this weekend so things will be finished by then and I'll have pictures of the room to share!