Friday, August 22, 2014

Birth Story: Annistyn Grace

I'm guessing most of you have seen/heard, but if not, our sweet girl is here! She's actually 3 weeks old already (how does time pass so quickly?!) and I knew I needed to get her birth story written before I forget any of the little details of that day. She is our biggest blessing, and her arrival was pretty much perfect. I am so grateful that God orchestrated all of it and kept both of us safe and healthy through labor and her delivery.

On Thursday, July 31st, we went in for my 39 week appointment in the morning. I planned to have my doctor sweep my membranes in an attempt to get things started because she would be leaving town the middle of the next week and I really wanted her at the birth. I'd been at 1-1.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced for nearly 3 weeks, so I was hoping that would be all it took to get labor going. 

Through all of my adult life, my blood pressure has been high every time I go to the doctor. It can be 140/85 at my appointment and then if I go check it somewhere right after, it will be back at 120/70. Throughout my pregnancy it had actually been pretty normal at most of my appointments, sometimes a little higher than others, but my doctor hadn't ever been concerned given my history. That morning the nurse took us back, weighed me, and took me back into the room and took my blood pressure and tested my urine for protein. She didn't say anything afterward and told me to go ahead and undress from the waist down for my doctor to check me and left the room. I remember turning to David and saying, 'My blood pressure must have been fine since she didn't even tell me what it was' as we waited for my doctor to come in. 

My doctor came in and the first thing she said was, 'So, your blood pressure was high.' My heart sunk a little and then continued to sink as she said, 'It was 144/87 and there was protein in your urine.' I nodded my head not knowing exactly what that would mean. She went on, 'It doesn't really matter at this point whether it's pre-eclampsia or not, but if we assume it is, the only solution is to get the baby out.' I kept nodding my head since I knew that was true, and David said he kept looking at me waiting for some sort of reaction. I think I was probably a little in shock and hadn't really let it sink in until she said, 'So I'm not going to make you go over right now, but we'll schedule your induction for the morning.' Uhhh, did she just say we were going to have our baby tomorrow? I don't think I really said anything as I continued to let it sink in and then asked her as she got ready to do my internal exam if she would sweep my membranes and we'd cross our fingers that I'd go into labor on my own before 7:30 AM the next morning when we were scheduled to show up at the birthing center. She fully agreed and we hoped for the best. Afterward she left the room saying, 'We'll see you in the morning if not sooner! The nurse will be in with your orders and instructions.' The nurse came back in and started talking through everything and said, 'So you'll go up to the labor and delivery floor in the hospital...' and I stopped her saying, 'Oh, the plan was to use the birthing center.' (This was a huge deal to me as they're much more accommodating for women wanting a natural birth and it's a lot more convenient - No moving rooms, you have the same large room for labor, delivery, and recovery and parking and logistics for visitors is just a lot easier, too.) This particular nurse wasn't one of our favorites and just wasn't very friendly or talkative during any of the appointments we had her and her reply was, 'With your blood pressure, it's at the hospital.' Between my hormones, my birth plan already not being followed, and having just gotten the news I'd be having my baby the next day, I just started crying. I don't think she knew what to do, so she left the room. David tried to comfort me and tell me it would be fine if we did end up having to be at the hospital and a few minutes later our very favorite nurse walked in and informed us she had called the birthing center and talked to a couple different people and gotten it moved. I thanked her profusely, we took the papers, and left. David attempted to go back to work for the rest of the day and told me to call him right away if anything did end up happening thanks to the membrane sweep. I headed home and started going through everything I wanted to get done before her arrival - I finished and shipped a bunch of etsy orders, made sure my bag was completely ready aside from the last minute things, made sure Anni's bag was ready, gave Paisley tons of snuggles before my mom came to pick her up, and cleaned up the house. David ended up coming home around 3:30 because he couldn't focus and decided to mow and take care of all of that.

That evening we went to dinner at Jose Peppers, one of our very favorite places, for the last time as 'just the two of us.' The waitress asked when I was due and when we told her we'd be going in the next morning to have her, she brought us a free dessert. :) After we got home, David got his bag packed and we decided to go on a nice long walk. We walked a good 3 miles or so and just talked the entire time - About how crazy it was to think back to the nights we'd go on walks in high school and dream about what our future would look like, where we'd live, how many kids we'd have, what we'd name them. About how our life was going to change forever in the best way possible. About what I was nervous about. About whether what I was feeling was actually contractions or not because I had no idea what to expect. It was just what I needed to calm my nerves. When we got home I took a shower and David got ready for bed, but I knew I'd have a hard time sleeping. I laid there wondering what labor would be like, how it would feel to hold my daughter in my arms the first time, what she would look like, and on and on.

I ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep that night. I woke up Friday, August 1st and straightened my hair and did my makeup and checked my list one last time to make sure we had everything. David totally made fun of me for wanting to get ready, but I figured I might as well start the day looking halfway decent. Just before we walked out the door, I took a couple last bump pictures in Annistyn's nursery. It was surreal for both of us knowing the next time we walked into our home, we would be bringing our sweet girl with us.


We made the 10 minute drive to the birthing center holding hands the entire way. We'd driven the route numerous times - Our birthing classes met there for 6 weeks and my doctor's office is right next door. It was familiar, but different since we knew this was the last time we'd make the drive without a baby in her car seat instead of in my belly. I was full of nerves, but so so excited to meet our girl!

Right before we went inside, we took a video. We both had the same idea when he parked the car - I had the camera pulled up on my phone and David turned to me and said, 'Should we record a video?' We'd taken one at our very first appointment at 7 weeks 5 days before we went in and heard our precious first baby's heartbeat for the first time. My face is swollen and huge and I do the ugly cry, but this video is precious to me. I tear up every time I watch it.

We got checked in, and even though I'd done the pre-admittance paperwork, they had me fill it out all over again. Once that was done we were taken back to our room and met our nurse, Katy, that would be with us the rest of the day. She had just started her shift at 7 AM, 30 minutes before we arrived, and we didn't know it at the time, but we'd have Anni just an hour before she left for the day. She had to ask me a lot of the same questions I'd just answered on my paperwork again, took my health history, and finally had me change into my nightgown I'd brought to labor in, started my IV, and got the monitors on to measure my contractions and Annistyn's heart rate. When she took my blood pressure it was 140/90, and thankfully it never got much higher than that. The anesthesiologist came in and talked to me and had me sign paperwork even though I didn't want an epidural - like women change their mind or something. ;) My doctor's residents came in after that and asked a bunch of the same medical history questions and then one of them checked me - I was still just at 2 cm and 70% effaced even though I was having contractions, though not intense ones, every 6-7 minutes. They said they'd be back in awhile to check on me and left and my nurse started the Pitocin around 9:20 AM. For the first few hours, the contractions were 2 minutes apart, but totally manageable. I was talking, on my phone, and not too terribly uncomfortable. My nurse didn't want them to get to the point that they were right on top of each other, but eventually turned up the Pitocin to get them stronger. My birth plan stated I wanted to labor in whatever position felt right, including with a birth ball, standing/walking, and in the tub, but my nurse wasn't sure I'd be allowed to with my blood pressure when I first checked in. I am so so thankful God is in the details and cares about those things, because my blood pressure stayed where it was (and even went down) as I was in labor, so they ended up letting me.

For the first couple hours I was up and moving around and sat/rocked/bounced on the birth ball. Around 11:30 AM I used the restroom and it felt kind of weird when I peed and (because they were collecting my urine to see how much protein was in it) I was able to see there was some blood and white pieces in it. I thought mayyybe that was my water breaking, but I again had no idea what to expect, so I told the nurse and sat back on the birth ball. The resident came back in to check me again at 12:10 and when I stood up to move to the bed, my water broke everywhere - He had planned to test to see if it was amniotic fluid to confirm it had broken and he just said, 'Well, looks like we don't need the test.' Ha.  He checked me and there was no change. He and my nurse agreed they should turn up the Pitocin a bit more since I still wasn't terribly uncomfortable, and he left again. We started my labor playlist around this time and I loved it - I had a bunch of my favorite songs ranging from praise and worship to Enya to David's and my songs to the song I walked down the aisle to. Even my OB after the delivery commented on how she loved the music! I tried a few other positions and more rocking to get her to move down more and the nurse checked me again around 2:30 - Finally to 4 cm and 80% effaced. I decided to get in the tub at the point hoping for faster progress and to ease some of the pain. They have whirpool tubs in each of the rooms and the birthing center, and while they're probably not the most comfortable normally, it felt amazing. I was in there a good hour and a half to two hours and then started feeling like I maybe needed to use the bathroom. Since that can be a sign of transition, they had me get out and checked me again. I was 6-7 cm and fully effaced at 4:20 PM. It was around that time that Sally, our birth photographer, got there so we have some awesome pictures of the next couple hours.

My contractions at that point were SO painful. The heat and water had relieved some of the pain, so being out of the tub and feeling the full effect of them was rough. I should've been trying more of the positions we learned in our classes, but once I was in the bed, I didn't feel like getting up again. Thankfully both David and my mom helped me breathe through each contraction (which was a task in and of itself since they were 2 minutes apart still) and let me squeeze their hands. At 5:18 (David was texting updates, so I have the times!) my nurse checked me again and I was at 7.5-8 cm.

At that point I was feeling the need to push during each contraction. I was saying that, and my nurse kept saying, 'Small pushes are ok,' but these weren't small pushes. I couldn't stop my body from pushing to relieve some pain during each one. My nurse went to use the restroom and had a different nurse step in for a bit and she did some visualization techniques to help me through a few contractions, which helped a lot. We'd practiced them in our classes, but hadn't used them yet. She could see the change in my attitude (I may have yelled/spoken loudly to my mom a couple of times - Sorry, Mom!) and kept hearing me say I felt like pushing, so she decided to check me again even though it hadn't been very long. Turns out I was 8-9 cm when she checked me at 5:23 (5 minutes later!) so she had my nurse page my doctor as soon as she got back in the room. Hearing her paging my doctor and seeing the nurses setting up for delivery was so encouraging. I knew we were getting close and that I could get through it.

The intense contractions continued and the 'hee hee hoo' breathing you see in the movies was literally the only thing that could keep my body from pushing during each one. My mom held a cold washcloth on my head and David squeezed my hand, and they both talked me through each one. When the contractions get intense, they turn the monitor tracking them away from you, so they weren't able to tell when another one was coming (except through my death grip on their hands) or when it was peaking anymore, but they were still so encouraging. 


Probably because I wouldn't stop saying how my body thought I should be pushing, they checked me again at 5:33 PM - 10 minutes later. She said, 'Oh wow, 10 cm and +2.. Ready to push,' and immediately paged my doctor again, but this time added, 'I'm paging Dr. Hild for a delivery, STAT.' I knew I was SO close and pushing sounded amazing at that point.

My doctor walked in shortly after and her residents got everything ready for me to push. I'd put in my birth plan that I'd rather push as I felt my body telling me to rather than directed pushing (the count to 10, take a breath, push again, etc.) and my doctor totally let me do that. When she was getting close she told me I could reach down and touch her head, and it was so motivating. I'd pushed for about 15 minutes and I knew she was RIGHT THERE and in a few more pushes, I felt the ring of fire (exactly what it sounds like) and watched in the mirror as I gave birth to my sweet girl. David thought he may get queasy, but he ended up watching too and I'll never forget the look in his eyes and the tears that he couldn't stop as she entered the world. It was the best moment of my life.

{One of my favorite pictures of the day}

 {I love that you can see both my mom and David in this one!}

Annistyn Grace entered the world at 5:58 PM. She was placed immediately on my chest for skin to skin and we waited for the cord to stop pulsing before her daddy cut it. I had the biggest smile on my face as he cut her cord - He was so great all day long and I knew he was going to be the best daddy. I fell so much more in love with him (which I didn't even think was possible) that day. 

 {Look at her squishy cheeks!}

I ended up with a second degree tear, so I had some stitches (and Sally left at this point.) We did skin to skin for close to 2 hours before they took her to wipe her off and get her weight and length. She was 7 lbs 11 oz and 20" long - Just a little peanut!

We had family at the hospital, so after she was cleaned up and swaddled, they finally got their chance to hold her. Daddy was first and Nana (my mom) right after since they both spent their entire day helping me bring her into the world. My dad (Papa), David's mom (Grandma), and David's sister were all there too. David's brother, sister-in-law, and their twin girls came to see us shortly after, and his other brother and his girlfriend came a bit later. It had been 25 hours since I'd been able to eat anything, so I finally got dinner (Panera that David's sister brought us - SO good!) and got all cleaned up while her visitors snuggled with her.

{Daddy changing her first diaper and her holding onto his finger}

{With Nana}

{The picture used to announce her arrival on Facebook}

Things didn't all happen exactly the way I thought they would, but they happened exactly how they were supposed to. The day was amazing, and I am beyond grateful I still got the natural birth I so desperately wanted even with a few hiccups. We prayed and prayed for that day - For the baby that would be joining our family, for a safe labor and delivery without any complications, and for a healthy little girl. God is so good and we feel blessed beyond measure. 

**If you're still with me, bravo! I'm sure I lost some of you, but I wanted to get every detail documented so I never forget it. It was one of the best days of our lives and I want to remember it clearly every time I read her story!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gender Reveal Party

As I continue to get caught up on the blog, I don't want to overwhelm everyone with baby post after baby post, so I'll be mixing in some pictures of our new house this week, too! If you don't follow me on Instagram, you may not know we sold our first little home and bought another house (still in the same city) back in April, and we've been making it ours for the last few months! But first, a recap of our gender reveal party where we found out Miss Annistyn Grace was a girl! 

I'll preface by saying I was convinced she was a girl from the beginning. I just had this feeling. All of my dreams had a little girl in them, every time I thought about the baby it was a girl, and I was pretty confident. I think a lot of people thought this was just because I wanted a girl - To be honest, I'd always said I wanted a boy first to be the protective big brother. Obviously I wanted a girl too, and I've dreamed about having a little girl for years. So basically we just prayed for a healthy baby and pregnancy and were going to be thrilled regardless. 

We had the party on March 22nd and invited a bunch of family and friends to come find out with us. Our appointment was the Wednesday before (the 19th) so we had the sonogram tech put it in an envelope for us, which I passed on to one of our good friends who was making the cupcakes for us. It was torture waiting those few extra days, but so worth it to find out and be surprised along with everyone else!

This next progression of pictures cracks me up - Everyone asked why I didn't bite into the cupcake: First, I wanted to know right away, and second, I prefer not to scream/squeal with food in my mouth, ha. 

And here's the video, if you'd like some sound to go with those! 


{David's mom and aunt who claimed mamas know best right up until the last minute when they changed their votes to blue - Should've stuck with me! ;) }

{Team pink minus several people including my mom, sister, and several friends}

 {Team blue}

{One of my dear friends who's due 3 weeks after me - We found out a couple weeks later that she's having a girl, too!}

 {I love these photos that I found on the CD of pictures that David's best friend, Joey, took before the party - So sweet to have!}

{And this is Joey's awesome wife, Jaime, who made all of the cupcakes for us and knew our baby's gender before we did!}

It was such a fun day, and I'm so glad we got to share it with so many loved ones! 


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