I have been the worlds worst blogger this year. I've missed writing about so many memorable moments and milestones, it makes my heart hurt. But the birth of Miss Rosie is one event that cannot be forgotten.
So, while Maeve is watching a movie, Stella and Henry napping, and Rosie rests in my lap, I am mustering up my energy to write about Rosie's birth. Here it goes:
I had a pretty good day, as far as feeling pregnant goes. I napped, we took the kids to AWANAS and ate dinner at my parents house.
On the way home from my parents, I started feeling some sharp cramping which I completely thought was me having to use the bathroom.
I don't think I even mentioned it to Ryan until an hour or so later; "Hey, I feel like I need to go to the bathroom but I can't go at all. It's just super painful cramping." And then I'd throw in, "But it is NOT contractions. I know what contractions feel like. This is like cramps or something."
I texted a few mama friends and asked them what I could take for constipation and Ryan made a run to Publix. I downed a glass of prune juice (um.. gross) and took a shower.
A few hours later, the pains were no better and I still had not used the bathroom. I told Ryan I should probably call the doctor tomorrow (Monday) morning.
Eventually I fell asleep but was up off and on throughout the night (which is not unusual at all because of my very small pregnant bladder).
As soon as I woke up, I felt the cramping pain again. Ryan had left for work and I had kids jumping on me to make breakfast.
I felt blob-ish. It took all of me to make it around the kitchen, bending and reaching for things. I was starving so I made a giant bowl of cream of wheat and pounded that.
After breakfast, the kids were playing and I took to lying on the couch. I was waiting for 9:00 to roll around so I could call my OB.
I started Maeve on some homeschool work, and about that time, the pain went up a notch. I had to sit down, and couldn't really concentrate on what Maeve was doing. I called Ryan and told him to come home, that I didn't think it was labor because I wasn't getting timeable contractions, but that something was up and I was going to need to go into the doctor.
I called my doctor and described what I was feeling "crampy all the time, with an occasional Braxton hicks." She told me to come in and get checked.
I had had a doctors appointment the previous Friday and had absolutely no cervical change. So I wasn't expecting much when I went in.
Ryan and I dropped the kids off with my mom and then made our way up to my doctors office (which is right above L&D). I believe this was around 11 AM. I was fully expecting to get a prescription for antacids or something. I had already prepared my speech to my mom about how it was gas pains and yes, I should have known better by my 4th child. However, much to my delight and surprise, my midwife checked me and said "you're 3 cm! I think you're in early labor!" BEST NEWS EVER.
Elizabeth (my midwife) told me to go home, walk, eat a light lunch and come back around 1:30 to see if I had made any change.
Ryan and I were GIDDY. I got a smoothie, packed with protein, (assuming I was going to be having this baby in a few hours) and we went home to grab our stuff, straighten up the house, etc.
By this time, the constant cramping had turned into steady, tightening contractions, about 6 minutes apart.
I vacuumed every room, which definitely upped the intensity in the contractions, although they were still stuck around 6 minutes apart.
At 1:30, we made our way back to the hospital. I knew in the back of my head I hadn't made cervical change because the contractions hadn't picked up. Yeah, they were more intense while I was walking (or vacuuming) but they were still too far apart to be doing anything. And I was right- no cervical change. Boo. Or I should say very little change. I think I was more effaced or something... anyways, Elizabeth said, "You're having a baby tonight. It's just taking a little bit of time to get you there." Once again, we were sent home to wait until contractions were closer together, but she was confident she'd see us soon.
Around 4:30, they were 3-4 minutes apart and I was convinced I was going to have a baby on my bathroom floor. I called Elizabeth and she said to go right into L&D.
The nurses hooked me up, checked me, got fluids started, etc. Around 5 PM, I was a good 3- almost 4cm. (UGH!) But contractions were definitely 3 minutes apart and getting stronger. After (about) 2 hours of strong, close contractions they checked me again- STILL stalled at 3-4 cm. Elizabeth came in and broke my water, assured me this would get me going.
At 8 PM, I requested the blessed epidural. My epidural guy was awesome. He got it in and working within 10 minutes. He even stuck around to make sure it was numbing both sides equally (as I have a history of epis not working....).
Somewhere in the blur of commotion, my dear friend Misty showed up to take pictures. It was awesome to have her there, especially because my mom couldn't make it up until later.
After the epidural was in and working, I zonked out. I had been laboring since Sunday night and didn't realize how drop dead tired I was. Seriously- epidurals are the best.
I'm not sure about the time; I'm guessing midnight or so, Elizabeth checked me again. I was 6 cm. I said something like, "This is the never-ending labor!!!" I wasn't feeling pain at this point, just pressure but I was SO unbelievably tired. I told Ryan I didn't feel like doing this anymore... I wanted to sleep.
About 20 minutes later, I jolted awake and told Ryan "I feel pressure. Like I want to push." Elizabeth came in and checked me, and said "You are right there- about 9 cm. Baby is low. You're going to have her in a few minutes."
Everything remained super calm and dream like. The room stayed dark, just some overhead lamp things turned on, which made the room glow.
My mom and Misty were there, behind my head and Ryan was by my side.
My midwife and her assistant (who actually delivered Rosie) were by my feet, rubbing my legs, joking about Miley Cyrus or something. It was such a peaceful atmosphere.
I told Elizabeth I felt like I needed to push and she checked me again. I was 10 and baby was right there. She sat on the bed by my feet, and told me to push when I felt like it. I did- and she said, "Okay she's coming on the next push. Ready?"
As we waited for the next contraction, the room was completely quiet, except for the thump thump of Rosie's heartbeat on the monitor. Misty and my mom were holding my head, and my midwives were whispering, "You're doing so good. You're doing so good."
The next contraction came, and I pushed as hard as I could (and for what felt like a long time) but sure enough, out came Rosalie Harper at 12:59 AM, quiet and strong, completely melding with the atmosphere of the room. It was beautiful.
She was making the teeniest squeaking noises, blinking around and stretching her arms out. And I remember putting my hands on her, and thinking "she's like a doll!" This baby was so, so tiny.
Ryan cut the cord, and the nurses brought her over to be assessed.
She was perfect, just quiet. We were all transfixed on the baby warmer, watching her hands and legs shoot up under the glow of the lamp.
I did require some small stitches, but it was nothing compared to Maeve and Henry's births. And within a few minutes, I had Rosie back in my arms and ready to nurse. The room had emptied out, aside from my mom, Misty and Ryan. My midwives were packing up and getting ready to leave.
I was trying desperately to soak in the magical moments. By the 4th time giving birth, you know the "feels" are fleeting.
My midwife hugged baby and I, and said "Thank you for letting me be a part of your birth. It was beautiful." And I cried. Because hearing her say that was beautiful. (PS- midwives rock. Get yourself one)
Eventually it was just Rosie, Ryan and I in the room. Ryan had spread himself out on the couch (labor is hard work, yah?) and I held Rosie girl, counting her fingers and toes. I traced the outline of her ears, felt the knobbiness of her knees, and whispered silly things like, "We got this Rosie. It's going to be crazy at first, but we can do it."
The rest of my hospital stay was spent holding Rose as long as my eyeballs would stay open. I knew once we came home my hands would be full with the 3 older kiddos.
It's been 8 days since Rosie's quiet arrival and I'm cautiously waiting for the ball to drop. I am THE most pessimistic person you'll ever meet. I have it in my head that surely, adding a 4th baby to this crazy household cannot go this smoothly. But indeed, it has. Life has gone on. Homeschooling has resumed, cooking meals, driving kids to activities, its all flowed seamlessly. It's as if Rosie was meant to be here all along.
I am nursing which has been the most difficult multi-tasking thing so far. And this is simply because my kids are enthralled with how its done. As soon as Rose latches on, I'm getting poked and prodded. Ah, well... I'm getting a lesson in patience right? :)
The other tricky thing that I have not braved yet, is going to the store alone- or anywhere actually (aside from the doctors and my parents house). But I'm sure that will come as my confidence builds.
Post partum speaking, (we all know I have PPD and anxiety issues) I've felt pretty good. I have moments of the baby blues but its manageable. I also have great doctors who are on top of things; making sure my medications are at the right dosages, and that I'm comfortable with what I'm taking.
Rosalie Harper has wiggled her way into this family like butter. We're blessed beyond words.
And the big question... will there be baby #5??? (for some reason everyone feels compelled to ask that).
I'll leave you with what the labor and delivery staff said to me as I was being discharged, "See you next year, right?"
Haha- no, no. Not next year, or the year after. For now we're enjoying this family of six bliss and praising the Lord for the life He's given us.
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.
I don't think it can get much better than this.