Kira has arrived!! She was born on Oct. 13th at 11:59 pm. She weighed 7 lb, 1 oz and was 20" long. And absolutely beautiful!
At 39 weeks along according to my Oct. 17th due date, I was beginning to really anticipate birth. I was still feeling kinda distant from the reality of giving birth and having a newborn so soon but since I knew it was coming I embraced the anticipation and began looking for signs of impending labor. At my last OB appointment my midwife said that I was at 4cm and then on Wednesday I showed signs of losing my mucous plug and bloody show. Everyone I talked to said "It's going to be soon and it's going to happen fast." I was hoping they were correct but I was much more skeptical. On Thursday evening I began to have some mild contractions time-able between 5-10 minutes apart. Russ watched a movie while I slept next to him, hoping this would be it. I made it through the night with the contractions mostly gone by morning.
I had these same contractions on and off all day Friday. Friday afternoon they got a bit stronger and while on the phone with my mom we timed them at 5-6 minutes apart. My mom started getting super excited and was saying that this was it. I remembered the night before and wasn't about to call this the real deal yet. But Mom called my sister and soon Jill was calling me to ask if I wanted her & her husband to take the girls for the night. I warned her that I wasn't convinced yet that this was the time but figured that if it was it would be so much easier not having to worry about the kids in the middle of the night. So off the girls went to their Aunt & Uncle's house. The contractions held pretty steady but didn't get any stronger or any closer together. Knowing my regular ob/midwife was out of town for the entire weekend and not knowing if this was the real deal I went ahead and called the hospital at about 10 pm to get some advice. I found out the doctor on call was the doctor that my chiropractor had advised me to stay away from and so when this particular md told me to give it more time and try to get some sleep, I felt better about doing so. I slept and woke up the next morning in my own bed without the contractions ever getting any worse.
It was nice waking up to a quiet, child free home for a change. Although I felt kinda bad about my kids staying with my sister all night when I wasn't even in labor. Russ & I enjoyed a quiet morning. We slept in, ate some breakfast, and then headed to the mall to do some walking (since it was drizzly & cold outside) hoping to help labor along. After the mall, we ate lunch at an actual sit-down restaurant and simply enjoyed each other's company. :) We stopped in to check on the kids and decide what to do about them for the rest of the evening. They were glad to see us but in the end we decided that they may as well spend another night with Jill. We came home and I ate a piece of toast and the contractions started again. This time a little stronger.
Russ and I started watching a movie and the contractions were definitely getting more painful but weren't any closer together. They averaged between 5-10 minutes. Half way through the movie at about 8:30 pm I decided that I didn't want to wait anymore and let it get later & later. I decided to at least go to the birth center and see where I was with everything and go from there. I also knew that the on-call doctor was someone I felt better about seeing. Russ took a shower while I finished packing up. I called my mom & sister to let them know that we were heading to the hospital and out the door we went.
We got to the hospital sometime around 9 o'clock. One of the nurses, 'Michelle', (one of the best nurses I've ever had, btw.) got us settled in the room, asked all the usual questions and checked me. She said I was still around a 4, maybe a 5 and then she contacted the ob about what to do. She had me walk around the hospital for 45 minutes (until 10 pm) to see if the contractions got any stronger and if I dilated anymore. Russ & I walked the circle around the birth center so many times. It almost felt silly walking in circles for so long. I started singing paraphrases of the 'Soul Coughing' song. "They told me to walk around in circles, walk around in circles, walk around in circles." :)
At 10 pm, Michelle checked me again and then had another nurse check. They concluded that I was probably close to a 6 so I got to stay. They officially checked me in, got me an id bracelet, an IV, and set up the room for a delivery. The on-call doctor came by and introduced herself and checked me. Then, at my okay, she broke my water. I expected the contractions to immediately get worse but it actually seemed to take a bit before things got going again after that. But got going they did.
My contractions slowly began to get worse. I had Russ give me my Ipod so I could listen to some worship music to distract me during the strengthening contractions. This was pretty effective. One of the first few songs I listened to was "Be Still and Know" by Steven Curtis Chapman and that was exactly the kind of song I needed to calm my nerves and get my mind back in the right place. If I concentrated on the songs, I found the pain much more bearable. Michelle kept asking how I was doing and requested that I let her know if I felt any need to push. I went to the bathroom and we joked about me not having a toilet baby. I started feeling like I wanted to push and upon checking was told I was still only at an 8 and should resist any urge to push during the next few contractions. This happened again and then she suggested I lie on my side for a couple contractions and then she'd check again. After two painful contractions on my side I became insistant on pushing and almost started to freak out a little. I was ready and it was pushing time.
They got the bed "set-up" for pushing which was extremely uncomfortable for me but I was in no position to do much about anything. The doctor & several nurses were there and Russ was to my right and the pushing began. I pushed through one contraction when they took my Ipod away so that they wouldn't get it all gooey when they went to put the baby on my chest later. It was funny that I had been listening to music the whole time but didn't necessarily realize what a difference it made until they took it away and I could only hear the medical bustle of the room. Michelle was the only voice I remember hearing as she encouraged me & counted through the 10 pushes it took to bring my baby into the world. My experience in having children really helped me this time around I noticed because in those moments of pushing when I felt so much pain & felt like I just wanted to quit because I felt like I needed to breathe or take a break, I would remind myself that if I could just hold out a tiny bit longer then I may very well be finished and be done with all of it that much sooner. This was one of my last thoughts as I suffered through that 10th push that caused Kira to be born just seconds shy of midnight. It makes me laugh to think that if I had given into those desperate thoughts of needing to take a breather in the midst of pushing, perhaps my baby would have been born on the 14th instead of the 13th. :)
They did a very quick wipe down and put the baby on my chest for some skin-to-skin time. And then they waited a minute (per our request) before clamping the cord and having Russ cut it. I was still very uncomfortable. Delivering the placenta helped relieve some of the discomfort but even after that-- my back hurt, my legs hurt, my uterus and other parts hurt so it was hard to really concentrate on the beautiful little baby on my chest. The one thing I remember most about her was how purple her head and face were and how blue her fingers were. And I was amazed at how perfectly pretty her short dark hair was on her beautifully shaped head.
It was a new experience getting the skin-to-skin time. It was new procedure for our hospital that they began incorporating some time since I gave birth 3 years ago. They put her naked little body still with residual goo on my chest and just left us alone while they cleaned up the room. Russ called my mom and let her know that Kira had been born. I did my best to snuggle up with my naked little baby and soak in the reality of it all. Eventually she nursed for the first time and I was ready to give her over and get myself cleaned up and feeling better. (Mostly because I thought I was gonna pee myself if I didn't get up soon!) I don't know how long I held her but I loved how much more laid back the whole experience was. No rushing, no poking & prodding my baby until after I had had a chance to bond for awhile. Such a contrast to the way things happened with the others.
So it was at this time that they finally weighed & measured the baby while I got up went to the bathroom and took a partial shower. Russ stuck close to the baby while I was busy taking care of me. The NICU nurse came in and did a health assessment and declared Kira perfectly healthy. They got her all "checked in" and tagged. And then one of the student nurses came and gave her her first bath. In all of these things, Kira was never removed from the room. Her temp was a little low so they had her rest on the warmer for awhile before they would move us into our recovery room. While we waited to be moved I ate a Lara bar to help quench my extreme hunger from having skipped supper.
It was sometime around 2:30 am (I think) when we were moved into room 163 for the duration of our stay and said goodbye to our wonderful delivery nurse, Michelle. We spent an hour mooning over Kira before Russ decided to get some sleep. I stayed up a bit waiting for our new nurse to come in and take our 4 am vitals. Ended up only getting about 2 1/2 hours of sleep total that night.
When I woke up on Sunday morning and held my Kira, it was crazy for me to think about God's timing in bringing this sweet little girl into my life. October 14th, 2011 was the day that I found out that my other baby had no heartbeat and would inevitably be miscarried. And October 14th, 2012 was the day I first got to enjoy Kira. God is good and my baby is beautiful! :)