~ Meet Sarah
Sorry for the delay. It's been a bit of a roller coaster here with me having Bronchitis and both Hannah and Daniel being sick as well. But, without further ado, here is the birth story of our newest addition.
Early Sunday morning, May 16th, I started having contractions off and on around 2 am. They were very irregular, 8-10 minutes apart and not lasting very long but it was enough to keep me from sleeping. Around 4 am I decided to get into the shower. I knew my labor was starting and I wanted to get showered before going to the hospital. When I got in the shower my contractions were 5-8 minutes apart. When I got out of the shower at 4:15 they were about 3-5 minutes apart. I woke Sean up and told him to call his dad and step-mom to come watch the kids and to get showered. I was going to get dressed and call my obstetrician.
My OB called me back right away and told me to come into the hospital as soon as possible, third babies tend to come rather quickly. Sean's dad and step-mom got here around 4:30. I was trying to get dressed but the contractions were coming so quickly and lasting so long that I could barely recover between them. Then, at about 4:55, when I was finally dressed and ready to go, my water broke. I was leaning with my hands on the dresser breathing and rocking back and forth through a contraction and then I heard a tiny pop and felt fluid begin to trickle out. I grabbed a towel and shoved it down my pants and took a second one to protect the seat of the car. Then Sean and I left in a rush.
We made it to the hospital just after 5am. The whole place was deserted and Sean went to park the car while I walked to the Labor and Delivery floor. I was okay. I managed with several stops to breathe through contractions. By the time I made it to the L & D unit it was 5:15 and my contractions were less than a minute apart. I tried to check in but the contractions were coming so fast and they were so strong, it was all I could do to talk or think clearly enough to answer any questions and I was barely able to focus enough to sign the forms.
I was sent to triage to be evaluated and get into a gown. When I was checked at 5:30 I was only 6 cm dilated. I thought I would never make it to 10. So when the doctor asked if I wanted an epidural I said, "Yes!" The doctor did a quick check of the baby with contraction and heart rate monitors and I was taken to a room around 5:45.
When I got to the delivery room the contractions were a minute apart, at the most. They were very strong and I was losing control. I couldn't recover my composure between contractions and I was having trouble focusing enough to breathe through them. I was anxious and short tempered. I even swore. Not like swearing at Sean for "doing this to me" but I said something about the contractions being strong and not being sure if I could do this.
About 5 minutes after getting into the delivery room they started getting me ready for an epidural. I got an IV inserted and the anesthesiologist came in to get ready to do the epidural. At that point my contractions were 30 seconds to a minute apart. I was worried that I couldn't sit still long enough to get the epidural. So they waited until I just finished a contraction and then did an injection of a numbing medication in my back. It took a moment for it to take effect and then I had a couple more contractions and then they did the epidural. It was a little tough but I made it through with a much better attitude and ability to cope.
Once I had the epidural and got hooked up to the contraction and heart rate monitors it was about 6:15. My obstetrician came in, the same one who delivered Daniel, and checked me. She said I was almost at 10 cm and could push if I was ready. I wasn't feeling the pressure or urge to push yet so I told her I needed another few minutes. So the other doctors and nurses started getting the room ready while I waited to be ready to deliver the baby.
A few moments later I was ready to push. I pushed through one contraction and the doctors and nurses saw the head right away. The baby had a lot of dark hair. Then I started pushing with the second contraction. In the middle of pushing I kept thinking and feeling that I needed to stop pushing, that the pressure was too much and I just needed to stop and let it diminish for a while first. Then it dawned on me that the reason I was feeling SO much pressure was that the baby was right there, ready to come out. With Hannah I pushed for over an hour and Daniel I had to push for 20 minutes before they were right there, ready to come out. This little one was impatient and right there waiting for me to do my job. So I continued pushing and on the fourth contraction I pushed the baby out.
It took a minute for me to gather my wits because everything had happened so quickly. The doctor had the baby and was suctioning it and trying to get it to cry. She said, "Okay dad, is it a boy or a girl?" Sean was trying to get a look at the baby to announce the gender but the umbilical cord was in the way. Finally, he said, "It's a girl . . . a girl." I think he and I were both a bit surprised. We both expected the baby to be a boy. Then I started crying as the doctor handed my daughter to me.
The baby is perfect. She's a gorgeous and healthy girl. She weighed 8 lbs 9 ozs, the largest of my children and was 21 inches long. She was born at 6:23 am, just over an hour after we made it to the hospital. It took us several days but we finally decided to name her Sarah Katherine.
I only stayed one night in the hospital. Daniel has been sick with a respiratory virus and he had been banned from the hospital and the baby so I wanted to get home to him as soon as possible. The pediatrician and OB gave us the okay to go home early but we had to bring the baby in to the pediatrician's office the day after we left the hospital, to do a weight check.
So we went to see the pediatrician on Tuesday and Sarah had lost a LOT of weight, about a pound and a half, almost 10% of her birth weight. I had been nursing and when I got home I started pumping, trying to get my milk in. Sarah did a fantastic job nursing. She latched on so quickly and easily. I didn't have any difficulties or nipple soreness so I wanted to keep nursing. But because of the large weight loss the doctor wanted me to start supplementing with formula, 2 ozs at every feeding. I could still nurse before offering the bottle but she needed formula to put some weight on. And we were to go back to the doctor for regular weight checks. This was exactly what had happened with Hannah . . . large weight loss, pumping and supplementing with formula. In the end though, I wasn't able to keep up a supply and Hannah went to just formula after a couple of weeks.
Well, I didn't exactly follow the doctor's orders this time. I did supplement with formula for a few feedings until my milk came in. But the baby started having trouble latching as soon as she had her first bottle. I wasn't willing to give up on the breastfeeding and have to deal with the whole nipple confusion thing so I didn't supplement like I was told to. She only had 3 bottles in the course of two days. The rest of the time she was strictly breastfed. She had gained some weight . . . 2 ozs. when we went back to the doctor on Wednesday so we got a day off and came back on Friday. On Friday she had gained another 2 ozs. So she was gaining about an ounce a day with strictly breastfeeding. She still had to go in for weight checks every few days for the first two weeks of her life but it was worth it. I really feel that I made the right decision in pushing through with the nursing and only supplementing a few times. But had I not been through it before, with Hannah, I don't think I would have been comfortable with that decision.
I guess the transition to three kids has been pretty easy, except for the sick kids and baby losing weight. Sean has been very helpful and supportive. So have a lot of people at our church. For the first week after the baby was born Sean took care of the cooking, cleaning and Hannah and Daniel while I just tried to rest. The second week we were home Sean went back to work. He went in a little late every day so I could sleep in as much as possible. In the mornings he got the kids breakfast and took Hannah to preschool on his way to work. Thankfully, Hannah didn't have to miss any school at all because of the baby. We also had a lot of help from some of the ladies at our church. Several of them got together and made us dinner every night so that I didn't have to worry about that Sean's first week back at work. It REALLY was a big relief not to have to prepare a family meal after adjusting to dealing with all three kids all day.
Thank you for following my pregnancy journal and birth story. It's been a joy and a pleasure sharing my third, and final?, pregnancy with all of you. Thank you to Maribeth and StorkNet for giving me the opportunity to share my story.