Friday, January 1, 2016

Sophia's Birth Story

Sophia is now nearly 3 months old and I'm finally getting around to finishing typing up her birth story despite starting it two weeks after she was born! Life has been kind of hectic since adding our third child in just under four years. So here is Sophia's story:

 She arrived at 12:00 am on Friday, October 9, 2015 and weighed 7.0 lbs and was 19 inches long.

First pic with daddy. We waited to have her weighed and measured until the wee hours of the morning since she fell asleep in Alex's arms. They had a pretty immediate bond, which was an answered prayer of mine!

I had been saying all along that this labor and delivery would be the icing on the cake and it truly was. My first two deliveries had their challenges, but everything worked out and I had the experiences that I hoped for (except that at 21 and 17 hours long they were a lot longer than I expected). This time around, once labor kicked in, Sophia was born just 8 hours later! So here are the details:

I saw my doctor and doula on Wednesday, Oct 7. I didn't have the doctor check me because 1. It is painful and 2. It can't tell you when you'll go into labor anyway, so why endure the unnecessary pain? Maybe it doesn't hurt for everyone, but it hurt like crazy with Natalie. Later that I night I noticed some evidence of starting to dilate and had a little mini meltdown over going into labor and not feeling ready. Once I got past that, I felt a lot better emotionally!

Thursday morning I woke up after having a few contractions during the night. Contractions continued to be few and far between in the morning as well, but I figured things were starting because I hadn't had a single contraction during pregnancy up to this point and some of the symptoms of dilation and early labor were starting like they had during my labor with Julia. I called my doula to give her the update and she recommended that I drink a strong cup of red raspberry leaf tea to help jump start things. I didn't have any tea, so Alex went to the store and bought me some in the afternoon and I drank it at 3 pm. By 4:00, contractions were beginning again and coming between 6-9 minutes apart.

By 6 pm, I was getting more uncomfortable and having trouble making dinner because the were getting more intense. My mom had taken Natalie to our homeschool co-op earlier in the afternoon, dropped her off at home, and then gone home herself after I told her she didn't need to take the girls back to her house just yet. While cooking dinner, I called her and said maybe it was time to get the girls after all. I kept dropping to my hands and knees during contractions and swayed my hips through them. Part of dinner burned, but we were able to eat the main course and some sides. Mom helped clean up and took the girls to her house while Alex and I waited for the contractions to get closer together. I rested on the couch and walked sideways up and down our stairs to encourage the baby to get in the correct position as we believed she was face up instead of face down and needed to turn in order for labor to really pick up. Every time I walked the stairs, I had some big contractions.

At 9 pm, we decided to head to the hospital because I had been having contractions that lasted two minutes, although they were still sometimes over 5 minutes apart. We met my doula, M, on the way to the hospital and she finished the trip with us. When we got to the hospital, I got the last available room in the "Birthing Spa," as they call their maternity wing. Guess it was a popular night to have a baby! The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 6 cm! M was ecstatic and I think I didn't quite know what to make of that news. I had only been dilated to 2 and 3 cm with Natalie and Julia when we arrived at the hospital, so 6 cm meant that things were definitely progressing faster this time like we had hoped for. The red raspberry leaf tincture that I'd been taking for the last few months was doing the trick by helping me dilate faster and have more effective contractions.

Laboring on the bed on my hands and knees was becoming tiring and more painful, so I transitioned to the bathtub. During my first two labors, the tub stalled my labor and I ended up getting out of the water after a little while, but this time around, active labor was in full-swing and the warm water made my painful contractions more bearable. I actually laid down on my back and side in the water during contractions and was able to keep my lower body relaxed to let the contractions do their work. After about an hour or so, I felt the urge to push, so the nurse came in to check my progress and she said it was time to call the doctor and get me out of the tub. My water broke in the process of her checking me. I couldn't believe I had made it to 10 cm so quickly! My other labors were 21 and 17 hours, respectively. Natalie was born 16 hours after we arrived at the hospital and Julia was born 6 hours later, so to have only been at the hospital around an hour and a half and be told I was complete was exciting and unbelievable. I'm pretty sure that Alex had to basically lift me out of the tub with no help from me because I just couldn't move.

Somehow I got back to the bed and back on my hands and knees. I started pushing during contractions and then my doctor arrived. Soon I was yelling to be numbed, but there wasn't time for that. Then I was yelling for them to "Get her out!!!!" It hurt worse than with my first two because I didn't get that numbing shot at the very end. But, after just 10 minutes of pushing, she was born! No complications like the first two times. She was screaming, healthy, and perfect!

So far, Sophia is a calm, happy baby. Julia is completely smitten by her and hasn't been the least bit jealous. Natalie loves holding her and helps out however we ask her to. She started smiling almost from the get-go and comes to life on the changing table, giggling, smiling, and cooing the whole time. She loves to snuggle up facing your body (like she is nursing) when she is ready for a nap and will cuddle up for a snooze with whoever is holding her. Unlike her shy sisters, so far she lets anyone hold her and doesn't scream for mommy to come rescue her. The grandparents are very grateful for this as they didn't get to hold Natalie during the first few months or Julia for 8 months because they would both start screaming immediately.

At her 2 month check-up she had already gained 4 pounds, weighing in at 11.1 lbs (with clothes on, 50th percentile) and was 22 inches long (25th percentile).

Ever since her arrival, I have been soaking up every ounce of her. Since Sophia could very well be our last baby, I don't want to miss a single minute of each phase she goes through. As hard as I tried to stop her from flying through the newborn stage, she went and grew into an infant anyway. Next thing I know, she will be rolling over and sitting up, even though I have forbidden her to do so. My mama heart can't take it! I just don't want her to grow up on me! But I must say, it is a precious gift having her in my life, giving me another opportunity to soak in this quickly-fleeting moment in parenthood.

In all honesty, I didn't handle the news of having another girl well. I cried in the doctor's office the day of my ultrasound and many days afterward. I felt tremendous guilt for my reaction and strong sense of disappointment. It took me two months to wrap my mind around it and then I could finally get excited about meeting the daughter who would create our girl trifecta. And what a blessing she has been! I love every minute of being her mama. I love that I have three girls who are going to grow up to be inseparable best friends (we've been praying that over them since I was pregnant with Julia). They say that the best gift you can give your child is a sibling and watching my girls together just makes my heart burst with joy! Parenting is the hardest, best thing I've ever done. Our lives are still flipped upside down, neck-deep in the throes of Survival Mode, the daily routine full of tending to never-ending cries for help, food, attention, with little time to rest, to catch up on housework, to give as much attention to each child as I would like to give. But we are figuring it out. Someday I will get showered and dressed before lunch every day again, but for now I need to learn to accept my new normal and just embrace this gift I have been given of being a full-time mom to my beautiful babies because they are growing up far too fast and if I get too caught up in trying to do allthethings then I'll miss the beauty of this life that God has blessed me with. In this new year, I want to be more present. I struggle SO much with that. SO MUCH. I want to give my children a childhood full of memories with their mommy playing with them and teaching them and laughing! Laughing and playing games and being there when they need me. Sophia has really helped me take the first step. She has helped me live in the moment and put aside the stuff that can wait and soak up the things that are truly worthwhile. She is the best "surprise" ever!

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