Sunday, September 13, 2015

Happy Birthday, Macey Ellen!

We now have two kids! Ahhh!!! Macey Ellen was born Monday, September 7 (Labor Day!) at 12:47 p.m. and has just completely melted our hearts all over again! Here's her birthday story: 

After having a very successful, peaceful, and happy induction with Maleah, we were hoping to have a similar experience with Macey. Early on in the pregnancy, we agreed that if I was progressing on my own near the end that we would go with an induction. I know elective inductions are controversial, but obviously I have two healthy kids and had two great deliveries, so I guess you can consider me proof that they don't always result in horror stories! :) 

At my 35 week appointment, I had no progression. At 36 weeks, I was 1cm and somewhat effaced and by 37 weeks I was 2cm. My doctor won't do an elective induction unless you are at least 2cm and favorable, so by 37 weeks we were pretty confident we'd be getting induced. At my 38 week appointment, I hadn't had any change, but we were able to get our induction orders for Labor Day! That just happened to be when my doctor was on call after I turned 39 weeks! WE WERE SO EXCITED!

Just like with Maleah, I had lots of Braxton Hicks contractions and a couple episodes of false labor in the latter weeks of pregnancy. This made me hopeful that things would go well during labor and delivery. But I had no idea just how well things would go this time! We got to the hospital a few minutes after 5am and were quickly taken to a room. We got all set up and they started pitocin and I felt the first contraction at 5:44 a.m. - yes, I remember the time! The contractions were really strong and consistent from the beginning. Dr. Ray came to break my water at 7:20 and the contractions got even stronger after that. At that point, I was 4cm and about 50% effaced and -1 station. She said she'd come check me again after I got an epidural - there was no need to keep checking me. 

Maleah's labor was around 13 hours in total and I think I pushed for around 40 minutes. It was mostly uneventful - I got an epidural after 5/6 hours of labor and had a little blood pressure dip after the epidural, but that was resolved quickly. Transition lasted around two hours, so those two hours were quite emotional and intense (yes, even with an epidural!). I felt very much in tune with everything that was happening - just without intense pain! I was really hoping for the same with Macey's delivery. 

So, when I was already thinking about the epidural around 7:45, I was feeling like a total wimp. I didn't want to get it too early because I know it can slow labor and the longer you have it, the longer the after-effects last. But by 8am, the contractions were intense enough that I called for the anesthesiologist. He came in the room at 8:12 and I was really feeling like a total failure! I had barely been contracting 3 hours and was already needing relief! These contractions were super intense in my back and I was mostly nervous that waiting would make it even more difficult to get the epidural. So I obeyed the CRNA's orders and got in position to have the epidural placed. 

The placement was quite interesting... I have scoliosis and failed to mention that to him, so we all learned the hard way! Once he got going, I told him I could feel something to the left of my spine. He said, "Really?" I thought maybe I was just imagining the pain, so he tried again and, again, I felt pain to the left. In a puzzled voice, he said, "That's strange because I am WAY over to the right..." - Blake even saw that he was working more towards my right side. He kept feeling around and finally got it in and later mentioned my back was curved about 1 inch to the right, so he just unfortunately had to find the sweet spot by trial and error. Once it was placed, I was laid flat on my back for the medicine to take effect. 

Not sure if you know this, but having to lie flat while having really intense contractions is NO FUN. And, guess what! I had to lay there for a long stinkin' time while waiting for the epidural to work! For whatever fun (sarcasm) reason, the epidural decided not to take correctly. I could feel it s l o w l y working its way up my legs, but it just was not getting to my belly! The CRNA left after about 30 minutes from placement and said if it wasn't working within 20 minutes to call again. We made it 15. The nurses called and the CRNA came back with the anesthesiologist. My legs were getting more and more numb, so they did some simple testing to make sure it was equal on both sides. It was evenly distributed, so they first wanted to just give a re-dose instead of totally replacing it. THANKFULLY, the re-dose worked within 15 minutes. I had a little hot spot on my lower right abdomen (same with Maleah), so they tilted me for a little bit to get the medicine to trickle into that spot. 

Finally, after over an hour since the initial placement, the epidural was doing its job. I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but little to no pain. Rest was on the agenda! Except... I couldn't rest... because my legs were killing me. I suppose since they took the medicine with the initial dose, the second dose was almost too much for my legs to handle. They were so incredibly tingly and heavy that I could not for the life of me get comfortable enough to rest. There was a lot of blanket rolling, pillow stuffing, turning, and anxiety as I tried and tried to get into a comfortable position. 

In addition to this discomfort, I noticed the contractions seemed to be slowing and, on the monitor, it looked like Macey's heart rate was dipping some. I was really getting nervous that things were headed to a bad place. I was wondering if this epidural was going to spiral my labor out of control and send me into an unplanned C-section. I was really worried. 

Finally around 11am, I just really needed total relief. I turned on my Brian & Jenn Johnson station on Pandora and put phone near my belly and just started focusing on praising God and asking Him to be with us during labor! I just kept praying for God to bring me peace and rest and for Macey to be okay. Blake and my mom went to grab lunch soon after my little jam session began and as soon as they walked out the door, Kim Walker Smith/JesusCulture's "Holy Spirit (You are Welcome Here)"  came on. As soon as the chorus started, the tears just came... it was just a sweet, sweet moment with the Lord during labor. It was exactly the song I needed to hear in that moment. I just kept praying for God to fill the room with His spirit and to help me get through, no matter what that meant. 

And, y'all, I am not kidding, He answered those prayers within minutes. I was able to really relax and calm down. And my contractions started to pick up. And then things moved very quickly... very quickly... 

Around 11:30/11:45 (?), the contractions started to get really intense. While I couldn't feel the pain, I knew they were getting stronger. I called the nurse to come check me and when she did, she said, "You're at least 8, if not 9 - it's really hard to tell because the baby's head is really low." She explained the decels we thought we were seeing were actually just a sign that Macey's head was engaged and getting squished a bit with each contraction. She said she'd been watching the monitors from the nurse's desk and knew I was getting close. Answered prayer! The nurse said Dr. Ray would be in to check me in 20-30 minutes.

My cousin Holly showed up right around noon. I don't remember all the details at this point, but things were starting to really pick up and Holly was having to talk me through the contractions. I could feel intense pressure and started to even feel pain again in my lower abdomen (on both sides, this time). All I could do during contractions was close my eyes, breathe, and ride the wave. Holly told me to call the nurse again, so I did. I just couldn't wait for Dr. Ray. The nurse came in and I explained the pain aspect, so she called the anesthesiologist to possibly do a re-dose. I was really worried that I'd feel pain elsewhere during the actual delivery, so the plan was for them to come give me a little boost before pushing. 

But before that could happen, Dr. Ray came in the room quickly and said she'd check me and that if I was complete, we could make those hot spots of pain go away by pushing instead of getting more medicine! So, she checked me and - voila! - I was complete and ready to push! I kept saying, "I told y'all!"!!! Even with a heavy dose of epidural, I was really aware of everything that was happening - just like with Maleah's labor. It was awesome!

It's go time!!! 

They got the bed and room ready very quickly because I was actually having to hold off on pushing. (Don't worry, there are PLENTY of pictures of me not looking quite as chipper as the photo above!!!) I remember them telling me I could "bear down, but don't actually push" while they rapidly prepped. Ummmmm.... that's not entirely possible.... :) 

Within a few minutes, I was pushing with the nurse. Pushing was different this time - with Maleah, I was literally cracking jokes in between pushes. With Macey, I could barely keep my eyes open in between! I pushed through two contractions and was then ready for Dr. Ray. She was rushing to get her gloves on and get seated for the next contraction and they were saying, "Try not to push!". I did not like them saying to wait! This baby needed to come out! But Dr. Ray - in the midst of racing to put on her gown and gloves - said to go ahead, so I started pushing again with her. I pushed through one more contraction and Macey was born! She came out perfectly (unlike her sister whose little head was sideways!) at 12:47 p.m. and with pink skin like a little piggy! (She got a 10 on her Apgar!)

They immediately placed her on my chest to do skin-to-skin and then they left her on me for over an hourI was so amazed that they let me hold her for so long. That was not the case with Maleah - we did skin-to-skin briefly, then they took her to the warmer for assessment and brought her back all bundled. I truly think that time with Macey made a huge difference as far as nursing goes. Anyway, I felt bad that no one was getting to hold her - we let everyone come in to get a glance at her. But, I knew she was right where she needed to be! After about 45 minutes, the nurse weighed and measured her - she was 6lbs15oz and 19.5 inches - and then gave her back for me to start trying to nurse. She latched on easily and spent another 30 minutes just enjoying herself! Haha! 

Daddy finally got his hands on his new baby girl!

Once they took Macey to the nursery, they noticed her temp wasn't stablizing. She had to stay under the warmer for a couple of hours until she could warm up. That part was pretty frustrating because I knew if they'd just bring her to me, she would warm up! Everyone kept an eye on her from the nursery window... including Big Sister!

Finally, Macey got to come back to the room! Maleah got to hold and love on "her baby" and all was well! This go 'round at the hospital was much calmer than with Maleah. We were actually able to get some decent rest and Macey stayed with us all day long both days we were there. We sent her to the nursery at night just to get a little sleep in between feedings, but other than that, they only took her twice during the day. It was great!

And when she was just over 48 hours old, we dressed her up like a doll baby and took her home!

So far, things are going as well as expected! We're exhausted and trying to adjust to having two kiddos to care for. But we are loving it! So far, Macey is a really chill baby - I hope that lasts! She pretty much eats, gets her diaper changed, and goes back to sleep! We have to go get her bilirubin checked again tomorrow (it was borderline on Friday), but all signs point to her being a really healthy baby. And Maleah is adjusting as well as she can - it's a lot to take in for her, but she's doing a great job as big sis so far!

We can't wait to see how this precious girl grows. We love her so much already! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Macey: 38 weeks

This will probably be my last post before Macey arrives! I honestly can't even get my brain to function anymore, so... I doubt I'll be in any shape to write for a little while. But here's the 38 week update for little Macey girl!

Heart Rate: 140-something. Healthy and strong!

Stats: For a few weeks, I didn't gain any weight. My appetite here at the end has been rather finicky so I wasn't surprised that my weight gain slowed. All in all, I've now gained 25 pounds! Macey seems to be growing right on track - ever since we had a little stall in growth, my doctor hasn't told me my fundal height at my appointments. I assume that means I'm measuring a tad behind and that she doesn't want me to worry! At our 35 week ultrasound, they estimated that Macey weighed 5 pounds 3 ounces. So she's growing just fine!

Symptoms: I actually feel pretty decent for being this pregnant! I think I've just finally adjusted to all of the weird pregnancy symptoms and, if nothing else, I know the end is near! I'm very grateful to be really healthy, not have swollen feet and - don't be jealous - no stretch marks! So I guess I'm just so happy about the problems I'm not having to really dwell on the things that aren't so lovely!

Appetite: My appetite is so-so. If I am able to eat whatever it is I'm really craving, I can pack away some food! Today I ate a huge chicken gyro and a big bowl of rice for lunch! YUM YUM! But you know what REALLY tastes good ALL THE TIME? PELLET ICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 Movement: Macey has been quite wiggly the past few days! She has kept me up the past couple of nights as she stretches. Usually her feet are WAY over to my right side. But last night she had her feet right up against my rib cage! Not cool, little one! 

Sleeping: One day I'm going to sleep on my stomach again and it's going to be GREAT!!! The past several nights, I have been taking Tylenol PM to help me sleep. It's not that I just can't sleep, but my hips are so sore that I can only lay on my side for so long. And rolling over is an acrobatic act, so I have to wake up in order to move to my other side. So, there's lots of tossing and turning in the night. The Tylenol PM helps me stay drowsy enough that, even though I am waking up 5, 6, 7 times a night, I can go back to sleep very quickly. I also wake up to eat around 2/3 and I stay up for maybe 30 minutes to an hour before being able to go back to sleep. I've actually gotten used to this routine, so I am really interested to see how much of a sleep hangover I'll have in the far far far far far away future when I can actually get a full night's rest!

Looking Forward To: HAVING THIS BABY!!! It's SO close! I just cannot wait for her to be here!!! I have packed her bag and am so eager to see her in all of her precious little clothes. Maleah's ready (claiming "Macey's ready to come out!" almost every day), Blake is giddy with excitement, and I'm just hoping I can get all the laundry done before she's born!

Loving: These last days of pregnancy. This will most likely be my last pregnancy, so the end is a little bittersweet. This pregnancy has been much more physically demanding than my first and I'll be the first to admit that I have done a lot of griping! But, it is honestly the sweetest experience. I love having my girl with me all day - even when her little feet are tapping on my ribs. The idea of having two kids is just completely surreal to me. You only have one mom, one dad, one husband... but... I get to have two kids! That's amazing! I am so grateful to have been able to carry two beautiful girls and to see them grow!