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. :)


Diane said...

Autumn came faster than I thought. what a beautiful story. I love you all.

Bejm311 said...

Jess, this is beautiful and the place is amazing! I was looking up and it seems there are no good options for waterbirthing in Maryland. My sister Amy wants to do waterbirth as well at home and she said it's illegal to have midwives home births in Maryland:( do you know any info on this? I like your place!! :)

Julia Captain said...

Awesome story Jess! Thanks so much for posting. Beautiful.