Jun 13, 2009

Gracelyn's Birth Story

I have been wanting to sit down and write this out ever since Gracelyn was born and am finally finding a little bit of time to do so.

First let me start off by saying thank you so much for all your prayers, texts, emails, phone calls and congratulations on the birth of our sweet girl, Gracelyn Joy. We were so anxious for her to arrive and we love that we finally got to share her name with everyone and can stop calling her Bertha for good :)

Overall my experience was a better one than my labor and delivery with Ethan. I think the main reason is Jeanne, my midwife. It is completely different to have someone who really cares and is encouraging compared to the doctor I had with Ethan that was very impersonal and never rooted me on as I was trying to bring Ethan into this world. Jeanne was so wonderful and I will forsure use her again if we have a 3rd baby down the road.

On Monday the 8th I started to have contractions around 6pm...they were mild but staying consistent enough to where I felt the baby was going to be coming soon. I called Jeanne at 9:30pm to let her know what was going on. She encouraged me to try and get some rest and if the contractions got stronger and more painful and I couldn't sleep through them to call her back and come to the hospital. I slept for about 40 minutes and woke up around 1am because the contractions were becoming more painful and I couldn't sleep. I went online and was trying to pass the time as I really wasn't sure if it was time to ask my mom to come over and didn't want to wake her in the wee hours of the morning unless I had to. By 3:00 I called her and said, "I think it's time" and she headed over. Jeremy and I got our things together, both showered and headed to the hospital around 4:45. I got set up in a room (no I didn't get the big bed room as there were many of us girls in labor that night...but my friend Jenni got the room so I was happy to hear that:))

Jeanne checked me at 4:45am and I was dilated to 2, 60% effaced. Nothing much going on. Jeremy then decided to try and lay down for a bit as I was unable to lay in my bed due to having to walk through my contractions every time they came. I was having them every 5-7 minutes. At 10:40 am (7 hours later!) Jeanne came to check me again...I was now just a 3. Ugh! This labor was going to be longer than I thought. I was enduring the contractions as much as I could but they were getting to the point where I was wanting to get an epidural...they were painful and intense. I tried walking, using the birthing ball and also sat in the shower for a good 40 minutes. The shower seemed to help relax me a bit but after 40 minutes I was getting hot and needed to get out.

Jeanne encouraged me to try and hold off on the epidural and she would check me again in 2 hours and see where I was at. I said ok and she checked me again at 12:45. I forsure thought I was at least a 6 or 7 as it was a painful 2 hours. I was JUST a 4. My water still had not broken at this point either. When I heard I was just a 4 and I was already at the hospital for 9 hours in pain I knew I had to get an epidural. I just felt like I had hours left to go and that I physcially could not continue without pain medication...especially knowing the hardest and most painful part of it for me is pushing...the very end. I needed to relax and prepare myself for the worst part. I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with Ethan and it was horrid. That is the best word I know to describe the pain of pushing.

I got my epidural at 2pm and it was heavenly :) Within 20 minutes I couldn't feel my contractions and that made me very happy. Two hours later at 4pm I was lying there and suddenly felt a big kick from the baby and a huge release. I knew right away my water had broken. I paged the nurse and told her my water broke and she came quickly. Jeanne came in and checked me and I was dilated to 5. At least I was making progress right?

At 6:30 Jeanne decided to give me pitocin as things were just progressing slowly. Here we thought this baby would come in 7 hours....maybe half the time that it took with Ethan and it was going to be longer! (19 hours total) Jeanne even said to me at one point, "You are just a slow laborer..." and that is why I knew I had to get the epidural. So many women go fast the 2nd time around but my body just labors a long time and I just knew I couldn't go on hours and hours without pain medication. It's such hard work.

At 7:00 pm I asked for another boost of epidural as I was starting to feel my contractions. I was so happy I was able to get a strong dose as I knew things had to be progressing and getting closer to the end. At 7:15 I suddenly felt a lot of pain again but I could tell it was the pressure of feeling like you needed to push. I wasn't expecting it so quickly and Jeanne was around the hospital but doing something else so I told the nurse....something is going on, I'm having strong pain again and feel pressure down there...almost like I need to push. She checked me and I was a 7-8, things were suddenly progressing!

Jeremy had just left for a walk and I quickly texted him saying, "Come back!!" I could tell with the pain/pressure I was having that things were going to happen really soon and I needed him there. My wonderful nurse Marilyn (who I thank God for, she was there with me for it ALL) said she was off to find Jeanne and tell her that things were really moving fast. I was really suffering at that point and just wanted it to be over so badly and for the baby to be here.

By time Jeanne got there a few minutes later and checked me I was complete and ready to push. I only pushed maybe 10 minutes this time (Yea God!) and that was a whole lot better than 2 1/2 hours. I'll tell you what though...for me, pushing is the worst part...it is so painfully horrid that there are honestly no words to describe it to anyone. You think you're dying and you would prefer to die at that point rather than live. At least for me that is how painful it is. I honestly don't know how I made it 2 1/2 hours of pushing with Ethan.

At 7:52 pm our sweet baby GIRL (I made Jeremy check right away and he confirmed the gender) Gracelyn Joy was born. She was 7lbs 8oz (I was shocked, I thought she would be smaller but turns out she was 5 oz bigger than Ethan!) and 19.5 inches long. She has dark hair (another surprise, I thought it would be red) and dark blue eyes (for now, they will probably turn green) and she is just perfect. I started to cry after she was out...partly because she was out and that horrible pain was over and of course emotional that we just brought a baby girl into this world. It's such an incredible moment and Jer and I were both in tears. Oh I almost forgot...right when she came out she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck once and she was purple. That was really scary for Jeremy as that was the first thing he saw when she came out but the nurses quickly unraveled it and got her to cry and all was well.

Jeremy immediately started taking pictures of her while they were cleaning her up, checking her out, etc. and I had a couple blood clots again that Jeanne had to get out (did not hurt nearly as much as it did with Ethan) and thankfully my placenta came out within 5 or so minutes of delivering. Nothing like the 45 minutes it took with Ethan. I did have one first degree tear...nothing bad I guess but it took Jeanne a good 20-25 minutes to get me stitched up.

My friend Jen is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital and she only works 2 days a week and it was really cool that she happened to get there at 3pm that day...Marilyn stayed with me from beginning to end which I loved but Jen came in after Gracelyn was born and she did her bath, weight and length measurements, etc.

So, I suffered through contractions longer this time as I was trying to go without drugs as long as possible but other than that the pushing was way shorter and I felt a lot better after she was out then I did with Ethan. Jeanne was awesome and Marilyn too and I already have thank you cards and little gifts to send them both. They are both heroes in my book!

We are adjusting to life as a family of four and so far so good. Ethan had a hard time the first day it seemed but now he seems to be doing much better. He doesn't really bother her much and he just looks at her at times and then goes on playing. It has been so wonderful having Jeremy home to help with cleaning and cooking and giving Ethan the attention he needs. It's been hard for me as I haven't had much time with Ethan yet but I know this is just a season and I try and spend time with just him when Gracelyn is sleeping or content. Ethan and I went to Target last night to get some things so I am trying to make sure he gets mommy time as much as I can. I sure missed him while I was at the hospital and he seems like such a big kid to me now that Gracelyn joined the family. He was my little baby a few days ago but now he is so grown up to me.

One interesting thing is Ethan has been sucking his thumb. He sucked it for maybe a couple times when he was just born and that was it. We saw him sucking it when he was about 14 months (he'll be 16 months tomorrow) but it was only here and there and only if he was in the car or stroller. Well, since I left for the hospital he sucks on his thumb all day...and since we've been home that is what he is doing most of the day. It's so strange. I don't know if it's his way of adjusting and comforting himself throughout this process or what but that's the only thing that makes sense to us. It's nice that he can comfort himself and is more mellow when sucking his thumb now that we can't give him all our attention but it's just so interesting to me how he suddenly sucks his thumb all day...he even sucks on it at night now, just crazy!

People have been asking us what we plan on calling Gracelyn...we plan to call her Gracelyn for the most part (after all, this is her name:)) but we will call her Gracie for short. I am hoping people don't call her Grace as we would have named her Grace if that was the name we wanted.

Anyhow, we are doing well and I am just trying to get caught up on sleep as much as possible. Gracelyn was awake most of the night the first night we were home but last night she did so great...she slept between all of her feedings and that meant so did I! I slept almost 6 hours total throughout the night and I never got that with Ethan. She seems to be a pretty calm and good baby...really only cries when you change her diaper or when it's time to eat...otherwise she doesn't fuss much and is pretty happy.

I feel so blessed to have Ethan and Gracelyn as my kids. They are so precious and I look forward to watching them grow.

Thanks for reading the story about our sweet girl. We love you all very much.

Jeremy, Keri, Ethan & Gracelyn


Anonymous said...

Gracelyn is so beautiful!!
Saith Grandma Petke!! :)

Joy said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I know how hard it is to labor for that long without an epidural--I remember when I finally got mine, it was "heavenly" too :) I'm so happy to hear how well things are working out. I can't wait to meet both of your kids!

hehe, my "word verification" is "pregies"--sounds like a little kid saying, "preggo."