Monday, June 8, 2015

Annalee's Birth {Part 1}


The story has to start nine months ago, when I first found out I was pregnant with Annalee.  It was a Saturday, and we'd spent the morning at the beach.  On the way over there, Jayna was telling me about a dream that I had had a little girl.  I suddenly had a little head rush because... I was late.  Not late late, but late enough to think, Maybe?

After the beach, we got frozen yogurt, and I told Matt I needed dry shampoo and moisturizer so I could go grab a pregnancy test alone, and I managed to keep everything a secret, even when I took the test and knew it was positive.  I didn't tell anyone for 24 whole hours.  If you know me, you know silence doesn't come easily.  As one friend says, I'm a "verbal processor."  I wanted to take time to give thanks and pray.  I did verbally process, but only between me and God.

One of my regrets with past pregnancies was the amount of time I spent worrying rather than just enjoying it.  Especially when I was pregnant with Wyatt.  We had sold a house and moved across the country, and Matt was back on "sea duty" meaning he had to leave a lot, including a three-month trip shortly after the birth, and my dad who had come to help out, had a heart attack.  It had been stressful, but it had also been wonderful, and I'd spent too much time worrying.

You see, I'm great at worrying.  I would be a world-record-holding gold medalist if it were an Olympic sport.  So there were many nights when my heart pounded and fear gripped me, not just about my pregnancy but also the four other kids to worry about.  In fact, I woke up before Matt's alarm just a few weeks ago (and let me tell you, that alarm is set for early!) to worry about one of my kids, then as he groggily came to, I generously unloaded all that worry onto him.  I know, I'm a model wife.

But this time, I knew I didn't want to do that... if at all possible.  When fear gripped me, I tried -- really hard -- to remember scriptures like, "Cast ALL your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7) and "Do not be anxious about ANYTHING  but in everything with prayer and petition, present your request to God" (Phil. 4:6). (emphasis mine because I'm usually going, Okay God, You take care of this while I just worry about that one little thing, thanks.)

As the birth approached, I felt like more and more was out there to make me worry.  What if I went into labor during rush hour and had to give birth on the shoulder of the H1?  I'd agreed to Jayna and Lilly being in a dance recital on the weekend of my due date (I know!  Brilliant!) -- if I were in labor, who would get them there?  What if I hadn't finished homeschool for the year?  What if someone was sick with that bug that's going around?  What if Matt was at work and I couldn't get ahold of him?  

Then there were fears about the actual birth.  Somehow, I'm now over 35.  Plenty of scariness there.  Also, Wyatt was 9 lb's 5 oz's and a week early.  What if this baby was even bigger?  I remembered the sickening fear I felt watching his heart rate plummet on the monitor when I was pushing, the oxygen mask on my face, and the doctor saying in a terrifyingly calm voice, "You need to push harder."  Like I wasn't already doing my best!  I even had a nightmare where I was trying to push the baby out and nothing was happening.

At my midwife appointment the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend, I was told I was 3 cms dilated and 50% effaced, which I considered good if not all that significant, just because it was that much dilating and effacing I wouldn't have to do in labor.  (These are words that still make Matt squirm, by the way.)
So... the slice of banana
I was also told that, for the first time ever, I was GBS positive.  I was disappointed because I knew it meant I had to get an actual IV instead of just a hep lock.  But then the midwife said, "You have to get it four hours before you give birth if at all possible.  Otherwise you have to stay in the hospital for 48 hours.  So come in when your contractions are no less than five minutes apart."  Okaaayyyy... like that was even possible.  My contractions were usually two minutes apart before I realized I was in labor, and Lilly and Wyatt had both been born in two hours or less from when I arrived at the hospital.

So now I had something else to worry about.  (Especially when I got home and read about how much more likely a sepsis infection is if you don't get the antibiotics in time.)  Then the midwife remembered I'm over 35.  She said if I wanted, I could come into my next appointment "ready to go" because they could induce labor at 39 weeks for that reason alone (even though she rolled her eyes at 35+ being "old").  Well, the family was super excited about this news.  I, on the other hand, was on the fence.  None of my other babies had been induced.  I didn't want to just hit the "eject" button.  But then again...

So the weekend came, and Monday morning we received an e-mail saying Jayna had officially finished her last course (she does online school because I can't teach things like Pre-calculus and Chemistry, thank you very much).  I breathed a huge sigh of relief because that meant we were all done with homeschool for the year.  WHEW!  We decided to celebrate with a drive to the North Shore.  

I'd been having tons of contractions.  I didn't know if I should call them "real" or "Braxton-Hicks" because they were kind of long and pretty painful, but not particularly regular.  So I decided to not say anything but got into the car to do one of my favorite drives on the island.  But we didn't get far before I started to question the wisdom of our plan.  I was having to breathe through some of them.  Finally, when we were almost to Waialua, I had one that was bad enough for me to say, "Okay, I don't know about this," with apparently just the right amount of pain or panic in my voice for Matt to make a very hasty U-turn and head home.  Wyatt started wailing about the North Shore and shave ice, and I felt bad but texted my friend who was lined up to take care of the kids and she was available.  But then I got home, used the bathroom... and the contractions disappeared.  Nice.  My friend and I went to the pool with all our kids, so at least Wyatt forgot about shave ice.

The next day, I had a non-stress test (my third, thanks to being over 35) and AFI.  Matt decided to load all the kids into the car so that we could go somewhere afterward.  Usually I read during the test, but Tuesday, I just lay there and rested.  I had had more irregular but crampy contractions, plus a few other "signs", and I had a feeling labor was close.  But I wasn't sure how close... Afterward, Jayna and I walked around the (giant) hospital waiting for Matt to pick us up and snapped a picture and I announced to social media that I was still, as of that moment, pregnant.


We drove to the windward side of the island to get fro-yo from our favorite place -- incidentally the same place we had gotten it the day I found out I was pregnant.  Yes, I was having contractions, but I'd be darned if I was going to say something and spoil the day again.  I had the contraction app open on my phone, and I was trying -- as discreetly as possible -- to time them without anyone noticing.  Matt noticed, though.

"You're having contractions, aren't you?"

"Yeah, but... I don't know."

"I can tell because you breathe different when you're having them.  Is that your timer?" I nodded meekly.  "How far apart are they?"

"I don't know... maybe eight minutes."

"Eight?  And you're supposed to go in at five? Kids?" he announced, "We're only getting frozen yogurt, and then we're going home.  It's raining anyway."

Matt pointed out the hospital that several friends had their babies at as we drove into Kailua, and asked if I thought he should stop and I said no, we weren't at that point yet.  We got our treat and sat there chatting for a few minutes.  Finally I asked if I could use the bathroom.  I had to get a key from the proprietor and go outside and down a couple shops, and when I got there, it was occupied.  There was an older gentleman doing some maintenance on the shop next door, and he struck up a conversation with me.  "Not much longer, yeah?" he asked.  Same as the proprietor had said when he handed me the key.

"I'm due Saturday," I said smiling.

"Saturday?!  Wow!"  Suddenly he banged on the bathroom door.  "Hey!" he yelled, "there's a pregnant woman out here!  Hurry up!"

I was... well, kind of mortified.  "Nononono!!  It's okay!  I can wait!" I insisted, even though yes, it took everything in me not to do the Pee Pee Dance.  Especially when a contraction hit.

"It's just my wife," he explained, because obviously that made it okay.  She was used to not listening, apparently, because she still took her sweet time.  So we chatted.  I found out that the shop he was working on was his brother's, he was going to visit his sister after he was done there, and so on.  FINALLY, his wife came out of the bathroom.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said when she saw me and my gargantuan belly.

"It's okay, really."

"I told you to hurry up!" her husband said.

"Almost time, yeah?"  she said.  I wanted to say, You have no idea.  But I gave my standard answer, Due Saturday.  "Are you having twins?" No (...but why do you ask???).  "Is this your first?"  No, my fifth.  "Your fifth?!"  Yes, we like kids.  We like the craziness.  By this point, I was actually standing in the bathroom beside the toilet, a smile plastered on my face as I wondered if and when I would actually get to use it because this woman -- a total stranger -- was still in the bathroom with me!   I was contemplating just getting down to business; meanwhile, Matt was texting me because I'd been gone so long: "Are you okay???  I'm sending Jayna!!!"

Anyway.  I'll spare you any more of the details, but I did get to use the bathroom, and we headed home.  The contractions were definitely not disappearing this time, but getting closer.  By the time we got home, they were mostly 6-7 minutes apart.  I sat on the couch watching some National Geographic show for a while.  Much more regular contractions, no more than 6 minutes apart.  I went upstairs to do my hair, because goodness knows, having curled hair is so important when you're giving birth.

Okay, five minutes apart.  I texted my friend to tell her that I was dropping off two more kids to go with her six.  Jayna and Skyler were both headed to the hospital with Matt and I.

It was go time.

{Part 2 here...}

3 comments:

  1. onlinetherapyandcoachingJune 9, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    Exciting! And congratulations, by the way! I can't wait to read part 2.

    Bethany
    http://onlinetherapyandcoaching.org

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  2. Thanks so much! I'm working on it Part 2 still! I thought I'd have it done right away, but it's taking a little longer. :-/ hopefully by the end of today!

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  3. Finally got the second part up! Waaay later than planned, but such is my life right now. ;-)

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