A Progressing Pregnancy: Journey into Becoming a Mom of 3!

Adventures of a mama who has miscarried…3 times. Why so many strips/tests? PROGRESSION! Why so many in one day? It’s all about the science behind it! Knowing when and what time your body double/triples in hCG. This is a sign of a progressing pregnancy. At the top we started on 7/28 and towards the bottom we landed at today 8/6 (which looks like a double/triple from last night because the line is much darker). The strip right above it was 12 hours ago. So while I was sleeping (or trying to with a sick 10-month-old), this baby was growing. Usually this is tracked by a blood test as well (which I’m also doing). I am scheduled tomorrow for my third re-check. But it’s much more mind easing when I can also track it at home. When Amazon sells packs of 50-100 pregnancy tests, do you ever wonder “why so many? Who will actually use all those?!” People like me. People who’ve experienced loss. People who can’t rest until they know baby is safe and thriving as he/she should. I’m not crazy, I’m just in tune! Besides, it saves me the $35 co-pay and the trip to the doctors all the while hauling my kids there. Peace of mind y’all. It puts my anxiety in check. That’s what this is about. You won’t understand, unless you’ve experienced loss yourself. I’m happy to share my journey into motherhood with y’all for the third time.

Let’s do this!

 

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God’s Plan

So Josie has been talking about a little brother a lot lately. Mainly telling Bobby that a little brother will complete our “family”. She says things like “Mama, Daddy, Josie, Baby and Brother.” Bobby was taken aback from that random out-of-nowhere statement, that he sent me the clip from our camera while I was at work. My heart sank…

Do children really know before we do? …God’s plan?

Or maybe too much TV time? Too many stories about little baby brothers?

I haven’t been feeling “me” lately. To say the least, I’ve been anything but normal. My anxiety seems heightened and my patience is absolutely non-existent. It’s been a rough few days. I usually blame (which is usually the case) the fact that Bobby leaving us again, as to why we are all a little crazy a few days after. But really…it was just me. I couldn’t even stand to hear Josie speak sometimes, which is awful to say. I’d lie in bed at night after I put her to sleep and think “Something isn’t right with me. This is NOT me. What is going on?” So that next morning I did it. With everything else pointing to it, I just had to…

Since 3 miscarriages and two daughters later, I am so in tune with my body, that I know it’s signs and symptoms (of pregnancy) so soon that I just know when to test. The most crazy part? It was still 7 more days until my “projected period” was supposed to start. Insane! This happened with Juliette, too. I ovulate way soon in my cycle, literally days after my last period. Being in tune with your body takes time and work, I’ll be honest. I haven’t always been that way. I knew I was craving nasty food. Pickles, ice cream and bacon. I bought a jar of green olives and pickles at the store. I found myself waking up to go to the bathroom at least 2-3x a night (I know it will get worse) when I usually maybe go once or not at all. I am tired. But I blamed that on working a ton and jumping right back into SAHM when Bobby left. After this positive test, the insomnia kicked in that night and the night sweats and vivid, crazy, crazy dreams. I feel like I haven’t had dreams that I can actually remember in months and months! So then it made sense. There’s a baby in there…growing.

…now what?

How am I feeling? Terrified.

As I FaceTimed Bobby (of course he wasn’t home for this, again, right?) to let him know, as I was bawling my eyes out in pure terror, he grinned a little and said “babe, wasn’t that the plan?” …but…but…but…Juliette took 19 MONTHS to create and 3 miscarriages! We’ve only been “not preventing it” for two months! TWO! I told myself we’d never “try” again but if it happened, then it’s God’s will and plan. I even made jokes that Bobby better get a mistress because I can’t do another pregnancy/child. Of course, a joke and he and I would laugh and he’d tell me not to talk badly about his mistress (lol!) But dang! Two months later? A 3-year-old and a 10-month-old? Oh dear Lord! When I told him to pick a dog or a baby, I guess God decided we were more fit to be parents. I can’t help but laugh, but Bobby mentioned he still wanted both. I just can’t. Not right now…

…so another baby it is.

As his grin went away and he told me everything will be okay, I somehow didn’t feel like that was the case. I knew with him being so far and unable to provide the instant comfort I needed, I had to contact some of my closest friends to get insight. I was told everything from “this is great, exciting news.” to “you were meant to be a mom, Stacy.” to “this is God’s plan.” to “everything will be alright.” One of my neighbors (and very good friend) came over that morning. She is an amazing person. Always, always, always there when I need her. And I needed her that morning. Even after I came back from my doctors appointment to get my blood HCG drawn, she came back over and spent most of the day with me. I had another friend even come over as she read my text (“I need to talk to you, can you come over for a minute?”). She literally just rolled out of bed and came over half asleep when she should have been home packing for her vacation she was planned to leave for in a few hours. Who does that? What an amazing person she is! I am grateful and beyond blessed to have these (and so many other) ladies in my life. They tolerate my “crazy”. They are so understanding and patient. To know I have that sort of love and friendship, is reassuring. I just hope to return the favor to them one day.

Anyway…

Should I be cliche and say “Party of 5!” or “our family is growing my two feet?” I honestly don’t even know what to say today (day after that test). I’m still shocked. And totally not looking forward to all these symptoms that come along with early, first trimester pregnancy. Mainly the nausea (but never vomiting), the fatigue and the insomnia.

So here’s the kicker…

WHAT?????

…Josie’s birthday! This will be Josie’s 4th birthday! Maybe she knew when she was speaking of a brother? They say kids know. I think it’s crazy and funny! I laugh until I cry. Because that’s all I can do at this point, right? How ironic is this?

Life is so unpredictable. Two days ago I FINALLY made it out to an exercise class since not working out BEFORE I was pregnant with Josie and I love, love, loved it! SO much so that I signed up right then and there. It’s 3 days a week for an hour. It kicked my butt! The next morning (the day of my positive test), I could barely walk. Every muscle in my body hurt and I loved it! And totally missed this feeling. Knowing my muscles were strengthening. So do I stop because of fear? Or do I keep going? Do I change my plan because this happened? I was pregnant when I worked out (the other day) and didn’t know yet, so should I continue? I finally felt like I was getting my life together with two kids. I finally kicked the PPD to the curb. I finally felt like I could leave the house with both kids in tow and meet other mom’s, go to playdates and go to the pool without the help of another adult. God keeps telling my subconscious mind that I’ll find a way to make this work, too. Even one of my very best friends said: “I love you and you’ll figure this out, as usual :)”…that was so meaningful to me. Especially coming from her! In addition, she reminded me: “You were meant to be a mom. All of your babies, however many, are extremely lucky to have you.”…as if I wasn’t emotional enough, but to hear (read) one of the BEST mother’s I know tell me THIS, it put me at ease. Maybe I am doing something right? God picked me to be a mother to these babies.

I was scared to announce it to everyone. And I wasn’t planning to. I’m scared of another miscarriage. But God kept telling me to write. Because that’s what I do. And share with everyone. That more than anything I NEED the support and encouragement right now. And that I should be boasting in joy rather than fear. Fear is evil. And results in nothing but negative outcomes. I won’t let fear rob me of this amazing blessing. This amazing joy. This amazing creation God blessed us with yet again. Even IF something happens…I’ll know how I felt this day. The panic, the fear, the what-ifs…then the happiness, excitement and joy. As with anything life changing I can quickly go from one feeling to the other without notice. So beware! But I wanted to share with you all. All my friends and family. I really don’t want to keep it a secret. I need all the love, hope and prayers I can get right now. So pick your jaw up off the ground (haha!!) and send me good vibes. WE’RE PREGNANT (again)!

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Welcome Home, Juliette

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September 21, 2016 3:10am – 6lbs., 6.5 oz., 19 inches long…

I don’t even know where to begin. As I sit here trying to find the words to say, all I can think about is how much I love her. How much I love Josie. How much I love my husband. How much I love our family…

…How grateful I am.

Her birth story is much simpler than Josie’s. Why? Well, because I got an epidural this time. And I’m not ashamed of that either. For some crazy reason, as a first time mom, (pregnant with Josie), I thought going all natural was the best way to go. Maybe it is for some women. But it wasn’t for me. And my long, drawn out labor with Josie, proved that either I get that epidural this time with Juliette, or I end up in a c-section. (You can read Josie’s birth story here.)

I refused to have a c-section. Considering it was the worst surgery I’ve ever seen in the history of my nursing school career. Kudos to those mommas who have. Wow, what a hard thing to go through and recover from.

I tried everything after I hit 38 weeks, 5 days to get Juliette to make her presence. But she didn’t budge. She was comfortable in there. I tried pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, bouncing on balance ball (which Josie loved, might I add), walking, going up and down our stairs, castor oil TWICE and sex. The one thing that my doctor kept telling me to do worked instantaneously. Sex. Lots and lots of sex. Three times a day sex. It’s sorta hard when your husband travels every two weeks to have sex when he’s not home, right? And hard when you’ve got this huge watermelon to finagle around. Within hours (that night) we were at the hospital and I was 4cm dilated. That’s some potent sperm, eh?

Flash back to the night before…

I would have sworn that on September 19th I was having legit contractions. We went to the ER, I was triaged and we waited an hour to see if there would be any “progression” (I was only 2cm). And nothing had changed since the OB appointment I had a week before that (before my doctor went on vacation). An hour later, there was no progression. I wasn’t surprised either. So we went home and went to bed. The next morning (September 20th), we had sex and afterwards, I ran some errands. While I was out I was having painful, intense contractions. So much so that they’d stop me in my tracks as I was walking. I remember in the parking lot I had to stop and take a breather. People looked at me like “oh Lord this woman is about to give birth right here.” Once that contraction stopped I start walking like nothing was going on. I didn’t want to draw a group of people desperate to catch this baby if she decided to come out.

I got home from my running around and started to pack up the bags. I already knew at this point that we were heading to the hospital. Mostly everything was already packed up but I knew I had to pack for Josie still. We’ve decided after months of trying to figure out what to do with her, that she was just going to go with us. It was easier that way. She’s so high maintenance with her food allergies and her schedule requirements. It’s almost more exhausting to teach someone how to care for her then to just do it ourselves, even in the event of going through labor.

Once I got to the hospital, they triaged me again and checked my cervix. I was 4cm! That is when they decided to admit me (I would have had to be 3cm to be admitted). I was surprised to know I progressed that fast and thought “wow, she’s coming tonight!”. Not so fast. Once I made it to the Labor and Delivery floor, the contractions stopped. I tried to relax. I pulled out my Essential Oil diffuser, I put oils on my wrists, feet and neck. I put on my diffuser necklace full of lavender (my favorite, by the way). I organized my bathroom stuff so when it was time to shower, I knew where everything was. I basically set up home.

Since my OBGYN was on vacation, there was another doctor on call. Someone I’ve never met. Although I was extremely frustrated that my doctor couldn’t be there, it really didn’t matter at that point. Especially considering the fact that the doctor comes in the room at the very last second, just to catch the baby and stitch you up. What really matters is the nurse taking care of you. She was young and she was fantastic. She was pregnant herself, with her first child. It was nice to chat with her. The care was fantastic.

About an hour after being upstairs the doctor wanted to start pitocin. I was all for it. I was ready for Juliette to come out and come home! I wanted to have her and be discharged ASAP! She started it low and I felt nothing, although my contractions started to pick back up. Again, that’s my high pain tolerance. I guess I was having a lot but couldn’t really feel them. She asked me if I wanted the epidural but I said “not yet”. She looked at me like I was crazy. She mentioned that she feared if I progressed too far and went into transition, it could be past the point of no return and I wouldn’t be able to get the epidural. So with that fear inside and the PTSD from Josie’s birth I quickly said “get that epidural going!”

He came in, kicked out Josie and my husband and all I can say is three words. It was awful! Probably almost as awful as childbirth. I won’t lie. Af first, he couldn’t find the right spot, there were several pokes, I felt a huge jolt down my left leg and into my shoulders and then another painful feeling into my right leg. It was a cold feeling and certainly didn’t feel right. Immediately after he “got it in”, I felt a rush of dizziness and sweating. My heart was racing! I felt like I was drugged (duh!). I kept saying “this isn’t right, this isn’t right. Why do I feel like this? I’m super dizzy and I feel like I’m going to throw up.” I didn’t do too much research on an epidural (aside from what I knew from nursing school), simply because I didn’t want to scare myself out of it. Because I knew the pains of natural labor were much worse then the “what if’s”. The likelihood of something terrible happening was slim. I needed to remind myself of that. But in that moment, little did I know, that the anesteologiest was giving me a loading dose of opioid medication. It’s what we call in the medical field, a larger than needed dose. It felt awful!

About 10-15 minutes after he left and I was “resting”, I started to shiver and shake uncontrollably. At this point, it was so frustrating because I was cold and I couldn’t even talk. I tried to call my mom but I looked pathetic. It was insane! My teeth were chattering and it was as if I was having a constant seizure. It was awful! I begged the nurse to turn off the epidural. I said forget it, “I’ll just have this baby all natural again.” Yes. It was THAT bad. So she decided to turn it off and within about 20 minutes, the shaking had stopped and I was still numb from the waist down. My legs felt like balloons. I couldn’t touch them with my hands without freaking out. If I wanted to move my legs, I needed someone to do it for me. I lost complete sensation.

I started to feel those hard, painful contractions but I fought through it. Maybe about 35-40 minutes after the epidural was off, I had one big contraction. I felt my water literally expand under pressure like a water balloon being squeezed in the palm of your hand. Then all of a sudden “pop!” My water broke! And at that point, within seconds the contractions were awful, awful painful. “Oh I remember this!” I said as I was quickly reminded of Josie’s birth. I told the nurse in a sarcastic but very honest way, “okay, turn back on that epidural!” So she did. I think I pressed the button twice, which gives you a burst of medication every 20 minutes. After that I felt like I had a good amount of medication in me. There was no crazy shaking or convulsing. The loading dose he gave me was out of me, thank God. I just know that he gave me way too much medication from the beginning. My body couldn’t handle it. It was just too much. And definitely not needed. I didn’t want to be drugged. I just wanted to have the “edge” off. But even so, I didn’t care if I felt contractions here or there. I just didn’t want the trauma to replay of Josie’s birth.

To my surprise the epidural was God sent. I literally felt absolutely nothing. Not a thing. Not even pressure. The nurse checked my cervix again within about 10-20 minutes after my water broke and I was 10cm and her head was right there. I was ready to start pushing. I felt her down there but it didn’t feel like the “pressure” they were telling me I would feel. I don’t know, maybe my idea of pressure and their idea of pressure was different. The nurse had me put one leg up in the stirrup and she held the other. At this point it was about 2:00-2:30am. Josie was still wide awake and my husband was exhausted! He was running after a toddler and had no sleep. He was ready to go home. I, on the other hand, was ready to push this baby out! Let’s do this!

After I had my leg in the stirrup, I gave several big pushes. I probably did about three pushes before her head was right there and visible to the outside world. How exciting! She told me to not push anymore but try to hold her there. And the nurse ran out to call the on-call doctor to let her know that one or two more pushes, and she’ll be out. So within 15 minutes the doctor showed up (discheveled and tired looking), ready to deliver this baby. She was very, very nice. A professional, and good at what she does, you could tell. I immediately felt the need to push and push and within about another three pushes, Juliette was out. I felt nothing. Not a thing. No pain, nothing. I was literally in shock. I kept looking over to my husband and saying “I feel nothing! This is completely different than Josie’s birth! This is amazing! No wonder so many people have so many kids! I could do this again.” He just gave me that blank stare.

I required a few stitches but the rip and tear was nothing like Josie’s. I had a second degree tear and I felt nothing as she stitched me up.

I spent the night with Juliette and Bobby and Josie headed home for the morning and went to bed. When they woke up, they came back to the hospital to hold Juliette and visit with us. We were all exhausted after Juliette came. It was a completely different experience when you bring another baby into the mix. Josie’s birth was so new. And Juliette was so expected. We knew what to do and I was so relaxed and content. I’ve been down this road before. I knew what I was doing and it was reassuring. I wanted my husband and two-year-old daughter to go home and get some rest. I assured them that that was okay.

Today, a month later, as I sit here and try to think of all the important and not so important details of her birth, I remind myself that time goes by so quickly. It’s incredibly scary. I will post about her one month update soon. I’m working on that too. It’s just so hard to keep up with a blog when I’ve got a nursing baby, plus a two-year-old to care for. And she’s a handful. So in the meantime, take a moment to read Josie’s birth and get a glimpse of how very different the two were and enjoy these beautiful photos of our precious Rainbow Baby we tried 17 long, hard and faithful months to conceive. She’s pretty amazing…

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