Monday, April 14, 2014

Iver's 'Birth' Day

It was a cold February morning.  February 7th, 2014 to be exact.  It was one of those freezing days that was deceiving because it was so sunny and bright but the high was only 6 degrees.

I awoke to some braxton hicks contractions.  This wasn't something abnormal for me this late in pregnancy so I did not think much of it.  I got up and went to the bathroom (as I had already done a couple of times prior that night).  A 'good night’s sleep' for me at this point was 2 hours of undisturbed sleep.  It was so hard for me to get comfortable and stay comfortable as simple things like rolling over were painful and hard at this point.

I was supposed to have been induced the day before, February 6th, but due to all of the emergency deliveries coming into the hospital that day they bumped my induction to the next day, Friday the 7th.  They were going to start doing their calls at 5:30am Friday morning to let me know what time I was to come in to get my induction started.  (I wrote all about why I was being induced in my previous post so feel free to go back and read that if you are not familiar with the back story.)

Back to the labor.......

After being awoken by the braxton hicks contractions I looked at the clock realized that it would only be 1.5 hours until I would likely get my induction call.  This made me feel nervous/anxious so it was hard to get back to sleep..... but somehow I managed drifting into sleep. 

I was woke by some much more intense contractions.  It was a type of pain that jolted me out of sleep.  I laid there restlessly in bed and moved around to try to get into a more comfortable position.  The doctor's told me that if my contractions were the 'real deal' there would not be anything I could do to get comfortable.

Well.....I could not seem to get comfortable.

Still I found it hard to convince myself this could actually be happening since I was supposed to be called in for induction the next hour.

After maybe 15 minutes of these contractions coming and going I decided to go to the bathroom again.  Just like with Thor's pregnancy, my contractions made me feel like I was going to get the diarrhea.   It felt similar to when you have the really bad stomach flu.  I also found it more comfortable to sit on the toilet while I worked through my contractions as  it relieved some of the pain and pressure I was feeling.

I knew it was time to wake Michael up.  He was calm and excited when I announced that I thought I was possibly in labor and I needed help timing the contractions because I didn't know if they were the real deal.  He took over the timer and we instantly noticed a 5 minute pattern.  

I started to get nervous as I knew what this pattern meant........this was not my first rodeo. 

I hopped into the shower to see if that would make me feel more comfortable.  The shower felt nice but it offered little relief for the pain of the contractions.  I hopped out of the shower and decided to dry my hair and put on a little make up on to distract myself. 

Because I was supposed to be induced that day, my sister Sheila had stayed the night at our house to watch Thor while we were in the hospital.  She was sleeping on the couch so I asked Michael to go get her to let her know we would likely be leaving for the hospital soon as long as things continued to progress.  She walked into our room where I was getting dressed.  I asked her to feel my belly as I went through a contraction to make sure she too thought it was the real deal (as if the contractions alone shouldn't have been obvious, I was still in shock this was happening).

Between the fact that my belly was rock hard and that I could not stand up straight through the contractions she confirmed she too believed that we should get going soon.

The doctors wanted my contractions to last for 1 hour at 5 minutes apart before coming in.  At this point, the contractions were closer to 3 minutes apart and we were quickly approaching that 1 hour mark. 

We were already packed so I just threw my last items in our bags and had my sister snap a quick picture.  I knew we needed to get on the road.

We were headed out the door to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.  I didn't even call them ahead of time.  We just left.

During our drive to the hospital the contractions were not letting up.  They continued to feel stronger.  I was very quiet and just breathed through them and mentioned to Michael that I wished that we had left earlier judging by the way I was feeling.  Because Thor's labor moved so fast, I found myself feeling a little nervous.

Michael kept asking me if I was ok as I am so quiet when I am in the roughest contractions. To keep my mind off things we just talked about how weird it was that today we would be welcoming another child into this world.  We also talked about how great it was that I went into labor on my own and would not need to be induced.   It was fun to dream about whether we would be bringing home a boy or a girl and how either would change the dynamics of our family.

I barely remember this, but I did call my mom during that drive as I wanted her to know what was going on.  I think she thought I was calling to let her know what time I would be induced that day.  She was surprised to know I went into labor on my own.  I think she quickly knew it was the real deal because I had a contraction while talking with her and told her I needed to get going as I couldn't talk anymore.

(Nothing like making your Mom excited/nervous in one single phone call.   I knew she wanted to jump on a magical ship and get to me immediately if only she could.  I could hear it in her voice when she said, 'I am praying for you Sis and I will be there as soon as possible' before I abruptly hung up to breathe through another contraction.....)  

When we got to the hospital the lights were down because it was so early in the morning and there was no one around...... only a security guard sitting at the desk in the main entrance.  I remember thinking, 'everything seems so peaceful right now'. I will never forget the security guard giving me a little smile and nod as I am sure it was very obvious I was heading labor and deliver floor because of the look on my face. It was almost as if he was saying 'good luck girl, you've got this' through his gesture.

I smiled back at him and gave him a nod and eagerly got into the elevator to head to the L&D floor. 

We arrived at the check in desk....whew relief to know we were there.

We had already pre-registered but unfortunately there were still additional details they needed from me to get me into the system.

I felt like the front desk lady was taking forever.

For some reason I was trying to act as normal as possible but I clearly recall one contraction happening as I was standing there answering her intense I grabbed the counter and bent over as I asked where the nearest restroom was.

At that point, I think she got the picture she needed to move a little faster and showed me to the nearest restroom.  Thankfully it was a unisex single stall bathroom so Michael came in and sat with me as I worked through the contractions. Again, I was most comfortable on the toilet because I felt I was going to get sick.  Sitting on the toilet continued to assist me with the pain and pressure that I was feeling.

After making it through that round of contractions in the restroom I returned to the front desk and there waiting for me was a labor and delivery nurse to take me to my room.

Whewww, I couldn't have been happier to see her.

My nurse’s name was Sheila.  She was great.  She helped me to the bathroom and into a gown.  She had to check me into the computer in the delivery room as well and this took a few more minutes.

I warned her that my labor with my first child went fast and reminded her I really wanted an epidural......


 After Sheila got my info into the system, she did my first cervical check to see where I was at.  She was surprised to find out that I was already at 8cms.

When she told me this I started to panic inside.

I explained that I was supposed to be induced that day because the baby had a head that was measuring 'off the charts' according to our late term ultrasounds.  I again re-emphasized my desire for the epidural.  My desire for the epidural wasn't so much about fear of the contractions because I had already been managing that pain well but I did not want to feel the baby come out.

She explained that she was not sure we had time but she would do everything she could. 

First thing they needed was to send a blood sample to the lab to ensure my blood was clotting the correct way.   Thankfully, everything came back looking great so I was cleared to have the epidural.

I had my epidural.   It was so smooth I didn't feel much of anything.  I was at 9cm's at this point.  My water had not broken so Dr Mandsager wanted to wait to see if it would break on its own before he intervened. 

Dr Mandsager came in and checked me again and I was still at 9cm's and my water bag had not broken but it was bulging so he decided to break it.  He told me to let him know if I felt extreme pressure and the desire to push as that would be our signal to start the pushing process. Once he broke my water I was almost instantly at 10cms. 

My epidural took everywhere except on the left side of my abdomen which oddly enough was the exact same thing that happened in Thor's pregnancy.  I could feel contractions on that side but I wasn't feeling the need to push that he asked me to warn him about. Because I was still feeling contractions I could also tell they were getting stronger and I could still feel pain.

I rested as much as I could after the epidural took over.

My nurse Sheila checked me again and assured me she was certain I was going to be able to deliver this baby vaginally as the baby’s head had dropped into proper position in my pelvis.  I was really relived and happy to hear this news because they warned me ahead of time that if the baby's head was as big as it was measuring in the ultrasounds, it was possible I would end up in C-section.

Even though I knew that a C-section was a possibility, I was determined to try a vaginal delivery first as I had such an awesome experience delivering Thor.

Sheila then told me to go ahead and push the next time I felt a contraction.  During the next contraction I pushed as hard and as best as I could.  I decided to use the same technique I used when delivering Thor.  I pushed for 10 seconds, then took a deep breath and did that 2 more times during each contraction.

I like patterns so this simple technique was a great fit for me.  It gave me something to focus on and helped me feel effective and that I was making the most of each contraction.

Much to my surprise after completing that first cycle of pushes she yelled, 'Stop Stop'! 

I looked up at her and was confused and alarmed and said, 'Is something wrong'??  She had a little smirk on her face and said, 'hunny this baby is going to come and it’s going to come fast so I need to go get the Doctor right now'.

I immediately started to tear up.  Not because I was scared, but more because I was completely overwhelmed and thankful with how smooth things were going.

Within seconds people started to flood into the room.  There were a lot more people in the room this time than with Thor's delivery since I was with the high risk group.  There was also a student.  The student stood on my left side with my nurse Sheila and Michael on my right.  Doctor Mandsager came into the room and was putting his scrubs on as he came in. 

At this point all doctors and nurses were in place.  Dr Mandsager said that I could push at my next contraction.   I had one come on almost immediately so I started to push, again with everything that I had to give.  The student holding my left leg and Michael holding my right.  I pushed though about 2 cycles of the pushing technique that I explained above....

Literally one minute later they asked me to open my eyes and watch as I delivered a beautiful baby.

I remember Dr Mandsager announcing, 'It's a Boy'!

This moment is the whole reason why Michael and I do not find out the sex of our kids.  It is insanely invigorating to get to find out the sex of your child the exact moment you lay eyes on them for the first time.  It is like the coolest surprise ever.  We were thrilled realizing we would have 2 sons and imagining immediately what a blessing they would be to one another.   

They suctioned him out and immediately I heard the beautiful sound of the newborn cry that every parent longs to hear after delivery.

After Michael cut the cord they laid him on my chest.  Because everything was going so fast I remember trying so hard to 'be in the moment' and take everything in so I would not forget what it was like.

The first thing I remember noticing was Iver's distinct nose.  It was round with the same 'triangle shaped' nostrils that Thor had.  It was also slightly smashed due to the delivery.  I also remember thinking he seemed really long as his skinny arms and legs flailed around as he cried. I thought he was beautiful.

The nurses took him over to a table to take his vitals and weigh him.   I had 2nd degree tearing which was much better than with Thor.  Dr Mandsager was taking care of that and I was trying not to think about it so I focused on what was going on on the other side of the room with the baby and watched Michael beam over him with the nurses who kept talking about how long he seemed.

One of the nurses went over to the white board across the room and wrote 9lbs 11oz which was shocking to me.  I would have never thought that big of a child would come out so easily.  I remember asking her....'is that how much he weighs???? are you kidding me???'

Interestingly enough his head was smaller than Thor's but he was about 1.5lbs larger than what the ultrasound was estimating him at before delivery.  Basically the info from the ultrasound was backwards from what we were planning on.

What's in the Name?
Iver was Michael's great-grandfathers name.  We picked the middle name Daniel after my dad and my brother Tyler whose middle name is also Daniel.  

When we were contemplating boy names, we initially found it hard to come up with something that went with Thor.  We picked Thor's name because of its Norwegian/Scandinavian origin.  Michael is 100% Norwegian so we felt it was fitting.  We also liked that Thor was simple to pronounce yet masculine and unique. 

I had loved Michael's great grandfather's name the first time I heard it years ago when we first started dating.  I had forgotten about the name and when I remembered it I immediately looked it up and found it too had Norwegian/Scandinavian roots.  Because of this, Michael and I had pretty much settled on that being our boy name from that point onward.  We love the name Iver because it too is simple but unique.  We also love its tie to our family heritage. 

It was perfect choice.  Naming a person is such a big deal!

I was handed back my beautiful boy all swaddled up.  There were no recovery rooms available at that point because they were so busy the days prior so we had to hang out in the delivery room until discharges started happening mid-day.  It ended up being a really nice quiet time for Michael and I to sit and take in our new baby and talk through the whirlwind morning.  We also called all of our close family and friends so share our exciting news. 

In conclusion I want to thank everyone for praying us through this pregnancy.  What a blessing it was.  We are so thankful for the amazing medical staff that God allowed us to be introduced to.  I am also so thankful for modern medicine for helping someone like myself who has pregnancy issues have a much smoother pregnancy through procedures medical professionals can do today....specifically the cerclage.

Our lives today:
-Currently I have 2.5 weeks of maternity leave left and time is going too fast.  I am already sad thinking of being back to work.

-Each day is still different although we all seem to be falling into a better routine.  Iver is 9 weeks old and this past week he is starting to wake just once per night between 8pm and 6am.  We are hoping this trend continues.  

- Daily we work towards finding our new balance of being a family of 4, parenting 2 children instead of 1, keeping our marriage the top priority and God the center of everything we do.

-One of our favorite things to do is to watch the boys take interest in each other.  Thor likes to kiss Iver and talk to him in the mornings when he wakes up and Iver enjoys watching Thor play and gives him a lot of smiles which Thor loves.  We are looking forward to continuing to watch the bond between them form.

I plan to write about my transition into being a mother of 2 as soon as I find the time.  Thanks so much for reading!