Monday, January 28, 2013

Tennyson's first bath

thank heaven for mothers! my amazing mama flew out to baltimore 3 days after tennyson was born to help me learn my way around mothering. this was just 10 days after she and my little sister had left boston to see me in a christmas choir concert. what a trooper- boston twice within 2 weeks.

she made the 7 hour drive, which turned into a 10 hour drive with little tenny in the back seat, back to boston and i savored every day she was here. i couldn't have done it with out her. one of the first items on the agenda was a bath for mr. tenny man.

not sure why i'm making that face here 

He has no idea what's coming...

Do you think maybe that's how his legs were in the womb??

not so happy

Week's 20-36

The last time I documented a belly shot on here I was a mere 21 weeks along. So here is the last 15 weeks of my pregnancy belly shots for documentations sake.

 22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

28 weeks

29 weeks

32 weeks

33 weeks

34 weeks

35 weeks - 6 days before I delivered

I'm sad I wasn't able to get one final picture before the belly was gone but I guess there were a lot of things I will never know like:

- what was my final weight?
- am I GBS positive?
- was I dilated in the days leading up to delivery?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Christmas of all Christmas'- A Birth Story

where to begin? i've been sitting and staring at my computer screen for a few minutes now trying to decide how to write it all down. what i keep coming back to is that this christmas was the best christmas of my life in almost every way. the most memorable, magical, romantic, spiritual, eventful. i'll leave the actual christmas festivities for another post and for now tell the story of how our family of 2 became a family of 3, because that's the best part.

disclaimer: this is an extremely long post so read when you feel like sitting down with a good novel. it's my blog so whatever.

as beau and i were making plans for the holidays we decided that it would be best not to fly as i would be 35-ish weeks pregnant and would probably be uncomfortable flying for any period of time. so it was determined that we would make the 7 hour drive down to baltimore maryland to have christmas with beaus sister Jessica and her family of 7 as well as beaus other sister Claire and her family of 6 who were driving up from good ole georgia. i was so excited. we carefully deciphered our plan of attack on the corridor that is route 95 which connects D.C. to boston and goes directly through NYC. we had been warned with horror stories of holiday traffic and that was something we both just would not tolerate. dragging our tired buts out of bed at 530 AM we packed our snacks, loaded our bags and started the journey. little did we know the next time we step foot in our apartment, it would be with a car seat and baby boy.

hunt valley maryland welcomed us (after a pit stop at cinnabon) a little less that 7 hours later with beautiful rolling hills and amazing homes.

the sedgwick estate christmas morning

ok now lets fast foward to december 26th. the day after christmas is always a lazy one recovering from the food coma and excitement overload that inevitably washes over the house christmas morning. i started out the morning right with a zumba class taught by claire at the church cultural hall with some women from jessica's ward. claire is a fabulous instructor and in very high demand at all her local gyms back in GA. however i took it easy, i didn't do all the jumps and squats, drank plenty of water and only broke a minor sweat- nothing too crazy. after the class we walked outside to some serious snow pouring down, we were nervous about how we were going to get home in the car we were in which didn't have 4 wheel drive. jessica was a champ and luckily we made it with some help from dave (jessica's husband) on the hills in their neighborhood. 

i quickly changed out of my work out clothes when we got home and put on some warmer attire to go watch the ultimate sledding that was going on outside. jumps were made, ribs were broken (almost) and i was oh so close to peeing my pants from laughing so hard. i decided i had to take at least one run down the hill to get my fill of winter fun. we even have a video of it. throughout the day i felt just a little bit crampy but nothing  intense at all-not even strong enough to be compare dot period cramps. but looking back i did feel a bit different. i figured that it was my body changing and getting ready for labor as i was now only a month away form my due date (jan 24). up to that point i had never experienced braxton-hicks, had no complications or discomforts so i thought it was about time i started feeling some changes going on. i just KNEW that i was going to go way past my due date and i had fully prepared myself mentally for it. i was going to have a february baby for sure.

after taking a nap the adults got ready to go down to the washington d.c. temple. it is a little over an hour from the sedgwick home so when we got there it was dark and the grounds were lit up with beautiful christmas lights as well as the temple itself. it was a magical way to see the d.c. temple for the first time. we decided to do sealings rather than a session and had such a wonderful time being in the temple with family. it is always so much more special to be there with family. i paid close attention to all the names read hoping to be struck with inspiration for our little boy since we had tossed around ideas but weren't set on a name. the room we were in was steaming hot and i had to sit a chair apart from beau because i was just too hot. on top of that the sealer decided to use me the most out of the whole group which meant a lot of up and down and being on my knees. this did not help my elevated body temperature. oh the joys of having a built in furnace while pregnant. 

when we finished we went to the celestial room where we each sat as couples and whispered together, prayed together and reflected on eternal relationships. i specifically prayed that God would prepare me for this baby whenever he decided to come. it felt good to commune with God. and what better way to prepare for the crazy night ahead of me? little did i know.

after running into a few people we knew in the lobby of the temple (doesn't that always happen??) we loaded  the car and raced to cafe rio. i'm not going to lie...i had been looking forward to this all day. my entire pregnancy i have craved cafe rio and i couldn't wait. on the drive there i started asking my sister's in law about labor and contractions. i couldn't get this crampy feeling to go away and claire mentioned that she had thought she was in labor once but she was actually dehydrated and was given fluids and sent home. ok maybe that was happening to me since it was the holidays, i was away from home and didn't have my usual water bottle with me dinner i drank a lot of water but the cramps seemed to be getting worse but it was nothing i couldn't handle, definitely not labor, just worse. it was there at our table that i had to stop what i was doing for the first time and just sit and breathe which was a huge bummer since i didn't get to enjoy or even really finish eating my much anticipated cafe rio meal.

we left cafe rio around 930 PM. on the drive home i decided that i should start timing these cramps because they seemed to be coming in waves. probably braxton hicks but just in case i thought it was a good idea. so i pulled out my iphone and began silently timing each one. 5 minutes apart. consistently. though they still were not what i thought labor would feel like so this couldn't be it. 36 weeks? no way. people always say you will KNOW when you are in labor. this was not labor. i was quiet, breathed through each one and tried to relax and just couldn't wait to get home and lay down. when we pulled into the garage and i got out of the car, the gravitational pull of that baby on my cervix was felt immediately. the pain level shot up  but again it still did not feel like what labor should feel like. after laying down i called my midwife in boston and her immediate response was "you're probably in labuh" (she has a thick boston accent) " you should go to the hospital".  meanwhile upstairs the rest of our crew was calling around to people in their ward asking for advice on good hospitals to deliver at just in case. i hung up and told beau she was wrong and there was just no way that i was in labor. i didn't want to go to the hospital and have it be a false alarm and feel like an idiot. when he protested i told him i would get in the bath to see if that would make them go away .

luckily jessica and dave have a giant jacuzzi tub in their bathroom which is WAY nicer than we have in our teeny boston apartment so it was nice to labor in there for the 45 minutes that i did. not to mention that in boston the hot water runs out after about 1.5 seconds so having enough during labor at home was something i worried about. i got in the tub and beau timed them exactly. he looked so sweet and concerned leaning over the tub, still in his sunday clothes, working so hard to get exact times. so for those 45 min? 2.5 min apart. i still wasn't convinced. i guess you could say i was in denial, but i had just envisioned and prepared for a very long and very painful labor. as in 24 hours of horrible contractions to get to 1 cm dilated  but i finally agreed to go to the hospital.
(when i told my midwife this story she was hysterical and was shocked i didn't deliver right there in the tub- that would have been a story)

when i got out of the tub at 11:15 it hit me like a ton of bricks. once again the gravity was not so good for pain. i put on my sweatshirt and pajama pants and wanted to hurry to the car before another one hit. no such luck. i had to pause and lean against the wall during a contraction while claire commented behind me on how this was definitely labor. so we hopped back in the car and dave sped to the hospital.  even as i was having contractions i was scared for my life, he was driving so fast and crazy and i am grateful. but i guess i can't blame him, here i was in the seat next to him huffing and puffing and moaning (beau was embarrassed at how naughty it sounded, i told him to go through the pain of labor and then talk to me). on the way there dave also called the labor and delivery department and gave them report on who i was and my stats. he was a champ i'm still in awe of his composure and efficiency through it all. we screeched up to the hospital and i waited for a contraction to finish before getting into the wheel chair dave had run to get me.  he ran me into the front desk where they oh so painfully slow and methodically collected information about me, insurance, provider etc. it was then that beau called my mom to tell her i was in labor. beaus parents didn't find out till the next morning!! not to mention the lobby was full of people watching me struggle through rip roaring labor. i just kept asking if i could be taken back to a room.

after what felt like forever, they took me to the "triage room" where a nurse  had me change my clothes, asked me all the same questions as the receptionist at the front did and hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor. a million years later a nurse practitioner came in and asked me all those same questions again, got really annoyed because i disobeyed her by standing up through contractions rather then lay flat on my back so she could examine me. FINALLY she checked my cervix. this was the conclusive evidence i needed to convince me that i was truly in labor. she said i was at a 6-7. what??? we were in disbelief that i was really in labor and that we were having our baby that night.

i was then taken back to my delivery room where the bedside nurse hooked me all up, started antibiotics- (cause i hadn't been screened for group B strep yet) and AGAIN asked me all those same questions. at this point beau was answering for me.

side note: i had planned on delivering with a midwife at a birth center here in boston. it is connected to a hospital and is a converted old victorian house that has giant laboring rooms, big tubs and allows you a lot of autonomy in what you want to do. i had planned on a natural labor and hopefully water birth. maybe it's the marathon runner in me but seeing what my body is capable mentally and physically is something i find really fulfilling and rewarding. i'm still sad i didn't get to deliver at the birth center but hopefully next time.
 the birth center- looking at it from the hospital 

after this it was all a blur with beau at my side the whole time. i kept asking the nurse if she knew how far apart my contractions were and she said the monitor wasn't picking them up to which i responded "can i take this dang thing off then?" this was so different then what i had planned on and i didn't have any of my "tools" i had prepared with. when i asked the nurse to at least be able to labor in the shower she just looked at me funny and said no. so i labored standing up leaned over the side of my bed for a while with beau putting counter pressure on my lower back but i could feel my legs getting weak and  tired so i decided i would have to get in bed. i was scared of this because of how uncomfortable it had been before. but i remembered my sister talking about laboring naturally on her side and breathing into the mattress while holding on to the bedside rail. so i tried this and it felt much better. my mind was all over the place in between contractions, i was worried about getting in touch with our ward because i had been asked to play the organ that sunday, or that friends had planned me a baby shower in january and if i could still do it after having a baby, or that we only had our iphones to take pictures with cause we didn't have anything packed or ready for the hospital. i even felt myself dozing off from the fatigue at times which also shocked me. 

i wasn't sure if i would get an epidural at that point because everything was so crazy but beau was my calming voice. i had warned him that if in the moment i asked for one to not try and reason with me but to just distract me. well that time came. after taking it one contraction at a time breathing, moaning, trying to relax, i told beau i coudn't do it anymore. they had gotten so painful and although i was using all my mental energy to relax, it was proving harder then i ever thought it would be. beaus response was to just do one more contraction and then we would see how i felt after that. i then asked what time it was, 1:45 am. what?? why hadn't i  been checked again? i sent beau out to get someone to check me and luckily while he was gone i didn't have a contraction. i absolutely needed him there to do counter pressure and talk to me through each one.

a different nurse practitioner came in and checked my cervix. i was at a 10! my initial thought was "really?" and then "hallelujah" and then "how long have i been at a 10?" i had been having contractions where in the middle i felt  the sensation to push- almost like a dry heave where you convulse and you can't stop it. TMI? :) so when she told me she was going to break my water but not to push i just thought.." no way lady this baby is coming out". she got her hook and broke my water and immediately the room was bustling with nurses getting everything ready. the OB on call was paged-(i still don't know her name but i liked her) and they put my feet in the stirrups. i just started pushing. at first i tried not to hold my breath and just "breathe" the baby down and out of me but after multiple commands to hold my breathe and tuck my chin to my chest i figured i better do it.

as i pushed i looked up into beau's face and was trying to read what he was thinking but all i got was bewilderment. and to be honest i felt the same way too. i kept saying to myself.."is this really happening?? i can't believe it? i can't believe this is how my delivery has gone, i am so lucky" i felt the baby start to move down and even felt his shoulders as they moved through my pelvic bones. it was the weirdest pain sensation i've ever felt. i felt my hips move apart and for a minute wasn't sure if he would fit through. i even yelled in my moment of adrenaline "HE'S NOT GOING TO FIT!!" hah! a mere three pushes later at 2:04 am all 5 lb and 2oz of my baby was out of me and screaming. and the first thing out of my mouth then was .."he's so tiny!"

instead of putting him on my chest immediately the pediatric team had to look at him because he was a month early. i was ok with that at the time granted the circumstances but am looking forward to getting immediate contact  next time. i was so glad to hear him screaming at the top of his lungs. i had to remind beau to go over to the warmer to be with him and take pictures.

after a minute or two and a good inspection of my undercarriage by the OB they finally brought my sweet boy over to me. i was shaking from all of the adrenaline during delivery but could feel the mother bear instinct as i watched him from afar get poked and prodded by the nurses and doctors. i just wanted to scream "GIVE ME MY BABY!"  but i kept it cool and the one upside to having it delayed is that beau got to film it

so there you have it. long and detailed but it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. if you've had a terrible, horrible long labor, i would hate me too. talking to my midwife i asked her why it happened that way and she said some of us just get lucky sometimes.

please ignore my greasy hair. i had been using baby shampoo from the hospital to shower with for 2 days.

 i definitely feel blessed to have everything go smooth and to be able to accomplish my goal of doing it naturally. we didn't decide on a name till the day we left the hospital and i love it more every day.

for now we are still enamored with our little Tennyson Beau Jewkes and all the joy he has brought into our lives.

interesting side note: beaus sister emily had her scheduled c-section to deliver her triplets that same morning at 8 am. so there were 4 jewkes grand babies born on the same day. one planned the other a surprise.