Friday, March 14, 2014

Tessa's Birth

Here is a watered-down version of Tessa’s birth story that I took from my journal.  I just left out a lot of the squeamish details.

I was sure the baby was coming on Thursday, the 13th.  After irregular contractions all morning, I knew that my doctor would tell me that I was in labor that afternoon at my 38 week appointment.  I cleaned the house, took care of the boys, and was all ready.  But then my doctor told me that the baby was still really high, I was “about the same” as the week before and that another week would be good for me.  I was so bummed.

Chad had the next day (Valentine’s Day) off.  We spent the morning walking around the dinosaur museum, then took the boys to have ice cream where we tried the waffle truck for the first time.  I had a few contractions during all this, but I told Chad, “Now I just get bugged, and not excited when I have a contraction since I know they’re not doing anything for me!” 

For dinner, we ate pizza and hot wings.  Chad cooked the wings a new way and they were so good that I ate more of them than I usually do.  My parents came to drop off some valentines for the boys.  We visited with them for a while and they left around 8 when we put the boys to bed.  Before we went to sleep, Chad and I made a list of everything to get done the next day—a bunch of errands and stuff around the house.  Plus I really didn’t want to miss buying Valentine’s candy on sale early the next morning!

We got in bed around 10:30 and I slept for about 45 minutes.  When I woke-up, I was having a contraction. About 10 minutes later, I had another, and about 10-15 minutes later, another.  Since it wasn’t regular, I still was just trying to fall asleep. 

  Around 12:30, I got up to go to the bathroom and realized that they were coming closer than 10 minutes so I downloaded an app on my kindle to time them.  Looking at the clock, I thought that if this labor was real, I was relieved that the baby wouldn’t have a Valentine’s Day birthday. 

I expected the transition from contractions being 10 minutes apart and not-too-painful to full on painful to be gradual and take a few hours, but it happened all at once.  Suddenly, they were 2-3 minutes apart and I was really hurting.  I woke Chad up at 12:47.  He took over timing for me and after 3 contractions, all 2 minutes apart with me in a lot of pain, we decided to go to the hospital. 

Chad would get dressed, get our bag, find me a robe, call my parents in between contractions, then come help me when I needed him. I asked him to bring me a drink of water which he grabbed from my nightstand, and then a can of sprite from the basement, which he never got to. I considered putting on make-up (I didn’t) and even asked Chad to put gel in his hair so he’d look nice for the pictures (he said no).

The last contraction we timed upstairs was at 1:09.  It had only been 20 minutes since I’d woken Chad up to tell him I thought I was in labor.  At that point, we started to head downstairs.  The trip downstairs was difficult as every few minutes I had to stop and lean on Chad during a contraction.  I remember thinking, “This hurts so bad—I want an epidural!” Quickly followed by, “I can’t be thinking that yet! My water hasn’t broken and I’m not even at the hospital.” 

By the time we got to the downstairs bathroom I was feeling a lot of pressure.  There was so much pressure that I reached down and could feel her crowning.  I told Chad, “The baby is coming!  Really—just feel!” and he reached down to feel.  He later said he knew it was close, but still wanted to try to get to the hospital. He kept saying to me over and over, “You’re doing so good—let’s get you to the hospital. You’re doing so good—let’s get you to the hospital."  At that point, Chad also ran back upstairs to grab a stack of clean towels, anticipating what was going to happen.

While walking in the garage, I had a contraction and yelled, “I’m going to have her right here on the garage floor!” but I was able to climb into the back of the van.

I was kneeling on the floor in the back of the van, leaning on the arm rests of the two chairs.  I was on the clean towels and under that was a blanket that we had in the car, and under that were our all-weather mats.  During the next contraction I thought to myself, “She is coming on the next one.”

We were two blocks from my house and as I’d thought, on the next contraction, she was born.  She slipped right out and I reached down and caught her.  I yelled to Chad, “Pull over—the baby is here.” And he said, “No—we’ve got to get you to the hospital.” To which I responded, “Chad! I have a baby in my hands...pull over!”  He pulled over and by the time he jumped out and opened the door, she was crying.  I sat back and put her on my chest and I asked Chad to help me get one of the clean towels to wrap around us. Chad said to me, “You need to suction her.” And I said, “What do you want me to suction her with?!”   He checked her out, made sure she was breathing and that her cord was OK and everything was all right, then we decided to go on to the hospital.

As soon as she was born, I felt great.  I kept telling Chad, “She has chubby cheeks! She’s just looking around!  She is so sweet! Where are we? What time was she born? (1:26)” and he was asking me, “Is she breathing? Is she OK?” then after awhile, “Did you double check that it’s a she?”

Chad turned the heat up really high so we were nice and warm.  We passed a cop at one point and Chad tried to flash him down, but then we saw he was from a different city. 

At one point, Chad called my parents (who were on their way to our house) to tell them our garage code.  When my mom asked, “How’s Michelle” Chad told her, “We have a baby in the car!” She didn’t believe us.

During the 25 min car ride, we just kept saying to each other, “I cannot believe this is happening!”  It felt like a dream.  I was talking to the baby, and she was just wide awake, looking around.  I also started feeding her.

I told Chad to hand me his phone so I could look up the number to the hospital.  He called them to let them know we were coming and could someone please meet us outside.  It was so quiet and calm in the car—me just sitting there holding our new baby.  We were warm and cozy, and we were just talking about how crazy it all was.  I told him, though, that I still wanted my sprite.

At the hospital, 2 ER doctors were waiting outside for us.  They didn’t realize I’d already had the baby and seemed unsure what to do next.  Suddenly a labor and delivery nurse jumped in the car.  She first looked at the baby (who was nursing) and said, “Oh good, she looks nice and pink. Good job, mom.”  Then she asked, “Was this supposed to be a home birth?”

The nurse told me to keep holding the baby and they wrapped us both in several heated blankets. As they pulled the gurney around for me to get on, I told them to wait while I put towels under me to not get blood on the floor of the car while I got out.  

The nurse who had taken charge said, “You two are really calm for just having had a baby in your car.”

While they wheeled me through the hospital, Chad parked the car.  As soon as we got to the room, the nurse clamped the cord and asked me if I wanted to cut it.  I replied, “No, I’ve had enough for tonight”

Meanwhile, they were almost finished looking over her.  The ER doctor had followed us up to the room to check her out announced she was 6lbs 15oz and about 19 inches long.  They gave her an APGAR score of 25 minutes after she was born.  After I held her for awhile I passed her off to Chad and got in a quick shower.  Around 4:00, I finally got back into bed while Chad made do with the pull-out fouton.

I never went to sleep that night.  I just laid there, holding my baby girl, amazed that she was here.  I know we were carefully watched over, bringing this new little girl safely to our family. The fact that everything went right says more about Heavenly Father's care for this little girl than about my ability to catch a baby in the backseat of our van.

FAQ—These are the questions we get the most.

Why didn’t you call a paramedic?

It never really crossed my mind.  Chad said he thought about it when it was becoming apparent we might not make it to the hospital, but he figured whatever they were going to do (drive me to the hospital) he could probably do.  He considered calling our neighbor who is a podiatrist as well.
Also, this labor was different than with Bryce.  With Bryce my water broke and then awhile later I pushed for probably 45 minutes to an hour before he was born so it was hard to tell really how close I was.  Of course, as Chad pointed out, we would have needed to live next door to the hospital to have made it for her birth!
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and if we had known this was going to happen, we would have had some sort of a plan (and a sprite on my nightstand!)

What were you wearing?

A robe and my nightshirt

Were you freaking out?

I didn’t really think to freak out.  During the next few days it really hit me, thinking of the thousands of things that could have gone wrong.  I’ve really tried to focus on being grateful that things went right. I also have to give props to Chad for staying calm the entire time and making all the decisions.  I am so glad he never asked me, "Well, what do you think we should do?"  
My doctor made a comment that night about Chad having a one-night medical school experience.  She didn’t know he’s had four years of it.
Maybe I had a premonition this would happen.  When I was talking to my friend the day after Tessa was born, she reminded me of a conversation we’d had that I had forgotten about.  When Chad and I were looking at houses in Saratoga Springs I’d told her one of the things I was most worried about buying a house there was not making it to the hospital when it was time to have my baby.
Also, I’ve watched a few episodes of “Call the Midwife” and that counts as preparation, right? (NOT!)

Do you have to pay for the delivery?

LOL, I don’t know.  I don’t think we will??? But we haven’t received any hospital or doctor bills yet.

And the #1 question (and what I asked Chad as soon as I saw him after he parked and joined me in the delivery room)...
How’s your car?

No harm done!  Luckily, we had the towels and blankets and under that, the all-weather mats.  Those did get some blood on them, but they were easily cleaned.   Nothing got on the upholstery or any of the seats.  There was one library book that was on the floor that fell casualty to the night, though.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Baby Tessa

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tessa's first two weeks

Tessa has had a busy few weeks.  Every morning she has to entertain her audience who gathers around wanting her to do something cute:

She is in charge of putting Bryce down for a nap, and often for waking him up as well:

She has to be constantly ready for the camera, knowing that at any time a photo might be snapped of her.  It takes a lot of effort to be this cute around the clock!

She is great at spreading herself out to all of her adoring fans:

She has to make her date with daddy every single night.  It's a good thing she's not high maintenance-- ice cream and snuggling for some tv are usually good for her.

And she already had her first play date with cousin Kambree, born just 3 days before her: