Sunday, March 6, 2016

Morgan Charlotte's Birth Story

I am thrilled to announce the birth of Morgan Charlotte Smith, born last Monday (2/29), making her officially a Leapling (leap year baby). 8 lbs, 10 oz and 21 inches long, born two days past her due date.

I wasn't going to post a birth story at first because birth is such a personal thing, and I wasn't in the mood to share. But then Timehop brought up something that I wrote in the past on this day and it made me realize how much I miss writing. And I want to remember this story even past this sleepless, foggy year(s) ahead of me. So here I am.

Last Sunday, I was convinced that perhaps I would be pregnant forever. No big signs were sending us running to the hospital, and lots of physical things pointed to perhaps my body completely falling apart into a pile of mush before that even happened. I was due last Saturday (the 27th), and I have never ever gone past my due date before. Granted, for Addison and Eli I was induced because of high blood pressure issues. Carter came right on 39 weeks (let's face it though, he's a pretty impatient dude so this kind of makes sense to me now). The funny thing is, even though I was busier than ever and functioning in a rather high stress environment (hello, kitchen remodel) for this pregnancy, my blood pressure was not an issue so induction was not discussed by my doctor.
Factoring into all of this was the fact that we were supposed to get huge snowstorms on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week. (spoiler alert: they never came). As my husband is self-employed...and works with snow removal...and his sub who he had been training for this all winter had just had something come up and could no longer sub for him if I went into labor during one of these storms...I started to panic more than a little.

So I changed my doctor appointment from Tuesday to Monday and went in to explain my stress to my doctor (who I love). Oh side note: Aaron will interject here to tell you how impatient I am. (sorry Carter, you come by this pretty honestly). But while impatience was involved in this decision, there were other factors that made me really feel the need to get labor started (to name a couple: failing a non stress test last week requiring some extra hospital monitoring...and having to start some new antibiotics that I really didn't feel comfortable taking while pregnant)

I went into my doctor appointment and she stripped my membranes to try to jump start labor on its own. I then explained the stress of my husband's work situation and the fear that I wouldn't have the support I needed for birth if I were to somehow go into labor on my own during the storms. She offered me the option of an elective induction. Since this was my fourth baby, I had been induced twice before, and I was well past my due date, she said she felt very comfortable offering this to me.

I jumped on this.

So while I waited for the call from the hospital saying they had a room ready for me, I headed home to make sure the kids were settled with Grandma and Aunt Kenly for the day- and that everything they needed was for sure packed in the bags I had prepared for them. I was glad to have this extra hour to make sure everything was fine on the home front before heading in to have the baby.

I got the call. Aaron came home, helped load up the kids for Grandma, and we raced into the hospital to claim our room. Excuse me- our luxury vacation suite on the Labor and Delivery floor.

When we got there, I started having some pretty interesting contractions that definitely were NOT Braxton Hicks. By the time I got all hooked up and all of the blood tests and all the pre-work was done, these contractions had intensified and were every 3 minutes apart. Interesting. (Point for membrane stripping.)

They asked me if I still wanted any Pitocin since it seemed that labor was starting on its own. I requested a "light drip" to keep things rolling forward...light on the ice...with a wedge of lemon on the side. (Can you tell I've done this a few times before?)

Having done an induced labor without an epidural (Addison's...31 hours), a completely natural birth with no inducing and no epi (Carter's...12 hours), and an induced labor with an epidural (Eli's...12 hours), I knew what my body needed to not only get through this labor, but to be in the best shape possible to bounce back and keep rolling with the craziness awaiting me at home.

We started with my "light pitocin drip", 2 hours later I asked to have my water broken (fun fact- it has never ever broken on its own...for 4 labors) An hour later, I requested my epidural (the resident had a hard time with my slightly crooked spine. Either that or he mistook me for a pin cushion without ears to hear such things as "Oops." "I lost it!" I can't get this at all." I'm sure he would be happy to know that his doll look-alike was recipient to my own needle/pin ceremony later that night.
(Kidding. Sort of.)

Things started at the hospital at 12:30 pm. by 5pm I was dilated to 5. I was feeling well enough to do some texting, amusing myself greatly with such jokes as: "Did you know that when you check into the hospital for your 4th baby, instead of the customary pillow chocolates, your pillow is lined with vasectomy brochures?"

Yes, I am hilarious. (Especially while on the juice.)

At 8:20 I told Aaron to get my doctor because I was ready to push. The doctor came and measured things up and said that I was only dilated to 8 1/2- she would be back in a half hour. I said No NOW. She remeasured 30 seconds later and said, "oh wow yes you are at 10 now".  3 pushes later and Morgan was born at 8:25 pm.
 So in love.
 She loves to cuddle. Seriously she melts me.
 This sleeper was Addison's very first outfit. I bought it the week that I found out that something was iffy with her ultrasound, and I put it on her when she was one week old in the NICU. It seemed fitting that this should be Morgan's first outfit too. (I had to take it down out of a frame on Addison's wall for Morgan to borrow it. Ha!)
 (Addison on the left. Morgan on the right.)
Speaking of the siblings, they are really enjoying their new baby. They need to be watched carefully around her...and there was a bit of disobedience/acting out to be sorted through with the initial transition, but they are doing really quite well and LOVE taking turns holding her. When they first came to the hospital Eli marched into the hospital room, lightly jabbed her arm with his finger, and asked, "What's that?" The rest is history. 
 After she turned 24 hours old, we headed home so that I could be there overnight with the other kids in case Aaron needed to head out to do snow. I was feeling fantastic, and completely ready to go back to our little nest. It didn't end up snowing so instead I've ended up with just a ton of support and help from this guy as he has been 100% there for us during this recovery and adjustment. So thankful for him!
Heading home.
 I left her tags on. You know. Because of the 1 week return policy rule as printed on our receipt. (-; (Why oh why is it so hard to cut these off and acknowledge that they are no longer "new"?)
Lots and lots of love.
 Addison takes her big sister duties taken VERY seriously. (I've been posting more about this on my IG feed. That and lots and lots of baby spam. #sorrynotsorry)

So many people have said to me, "This is your fourth baby! You must be a pro at it by now." And after staring blankly at them, I always want to say, "Yes, this is my fourth baby. I know just enough to know that I know nothing at all."

I know that the transition with a new baby will be brutal, but if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, it will get so much better. I know that the things that worked to get the last baby to sleep probably won't work for this baby. Same for eating. Same for milestone development tracking. I know that every baby is different and expectations based on the other kids or outside influences should just be tossed and every moment enjoyed for what it is. I know that it seems impossible right now to think of doing school drop offs and grocery store runs with a new baby added, but if I just keep going and doing that next right thing, I will figure it out. I know that I have a lot of fear and anxiety in parenting, but that ultimately I am not in control of my baby but I can trust the One who is. I know that Morgan is a complete gift, and not "just another baby". She is a uniquely designed, amazing little person, sent to complete our family.

I know just enough to know that I know nothing at all. But I know enough to be grateful for this opportunity to learn it all yet again. I have a feeling that Morgan Charlotte is going to be an awesome teacher.

It's only been a week since she was born, but already I can't imagine life without her. It's amazing the difference a week can make. #grateful
Big shout out to:
Papa, Grandma, and Aunt Kenly for keeping the kids during our day/night at the hospital!
The people from our church who have been brining us the most awesome, yummy meals ever
All of the people at Fletcher Allen who were completely awesome in helping her get here safely. Yes, even the anesthesiologist resident. It's hard to stay angry at someone who so liberally gives you the juice.

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